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Fighting Back

Fighting Back

Paul Edwards salutes Gary Keedy's return and laments Stephen Moore's misfortune

Bravery comes in many forms. I have always admired the courage of guards on the Parbold Flyer who inspect passengers'  tickets and then have the cheery gall to wish them a pleasant journey. I also fear that this particular triumph of hope over expectation will not end well. Murder on the Orient Express will be nothing compared to Homicide at Hoscar.

On an incalculably more serious note, one entry in the scorebook from the second day's play at the Rose Bowl should be a source of pleasure to everybody who admires a professional cricketer's valour in fighting back after suffering a serious injury: J H K Adams c Sutton b Keedy 48. The dismissal of Hampshire opener was the slow left-armer's first championship wicket of the season.

Keedy was out of action for exactly three months after breaking his collarbone in the pre-season game against Durham at Old Trafford. After an operation and weeks of treatment, he eventually made his comeback in the 50-over contest against West Indies A; the current game is his first LV= Division One match of the season.

So one imagines that Keedy will be well-placed to give Stephen Moore plenty of advice and encouragement as the opening batsman begins his own recovery from a dislocated shoulder. Truth be told, Friday morning's news that the former Worcestershire opener would be out of action for the rest of the season came as little surprise to those of us who witnessed his horrific accident at Chelmsford.

Watching the replay of Moore's agonising dive against Essex brought back memories of the player's mood when he had courteously answered questions after the t20 game against Yorkshire at Old Trafford only 18 days previously. Glistening with the success often worn by sportsmen who have played near the peak of their ability, he spoke happily of his thunderous 32-ball 59 and how it had contributed to his team's victory. I toyed with the idea that it would be pleasant if he could repeat, or even exceed, that performance on Finals Day.

That won't happen now. Instead, Moore must look to tread a similar path to that of Keedy and many other sportsmen.

"It's a load of bad luck what's happened and all we can do as a club and individuals is wish him well," said the Lancashire spinner. "Obviously it's a slightly different injury to me because he dislocated his shoulder and I broke my collarbone, but the road back to full fitness can't be rushed and unfortunately he's going to be out for the rest of the season.

"But he's a determined bloke, he's a fighter and he'll be striving to get back," added Keedy, who was first on the scene after Moore's accident. "I spoke to him immediately as he did it and I recognised he was in serious pain. I spoke to him the next morning and obviously he was in a bit of discomfort. I just feel for the guy.

"When I broke my collarbone, I spoke to people who'd been out with long term injuries about how to deal with it and what was coming up and what I was going to have to do to get back. Stephen's a strong character and he loves playing cricket and he'll be focused in doing what I've done really. He'll go about his business and hopefully he'll be ready to go next year."

Elsewhere at the Rose Bowl, there was a wonderful reminder of Hampshire's cricketing heritage on the top deck of the pavilion where the annual players' reunion was taking place. They had no objection to a Lancashire-based journalist infiltrating their gathering and it was therefore possible to listen to rich stories about games at Dean Park Bournemouth, the United Services Ground, Portsmouth and May's Bounty, Basingstoke. Men like Peter Sainsbury, Bob Cottam and Leo Harrison, their faces tanned with the sport of many summers, were clearly enjoying themselves hugely.

But amid their enjoyment and their deep loyalty to Hampshire, they would all have raised a large glass to salute the return of Gary Keedy. And they would have raised an even larger one to wish Stephen Moore all the best. So should we all.

Day 1 at the Rose Bowl


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