Where Were You When Graham Dilley Lived?
WAS it was always blonde bombshell Graham’s Dilley destiny to be the answer to a pub quiz question? The England cricketer was also playing when Ian Botham and Bob Willis inspired England to that great fightback against the Australians at Headingley in 1981. Dilley is the pub quiz subject: he died on the same day as Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple; he played in 41 Tests winning – come one – how many? Yep: two.
But his career was touched by magick.
At that great match when sport hit the heights of human emotion and endeavour, Dilley, responding to Botham’s call to “give it some humpty” hit 56 in an act of desperate defiance. What followed is legend. There is no need to relate the events of that summer’s day. If you don’t know you won’t be reading this. But those who do remember were all there.
Forgive me a small personal indulgence. I listened to the match on a radio on Bournemouth beach with my father. His was the only radio there. As the day went on, and England edged closer to defying odds of 500-1 against them winning, a crowd gathered around us. A big crowd.
It was the moment when I realised the power of sport, its ability to bind strangers and thrill.