Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Donald Dewar - in tribute to a great sportsman

Fantasy Bob watched last night's TV documentary about legendary opening bat and skipper Donald Dewar with some interest.  He was resigned to the fact that there was no reference to cricket   It is of course to be expected that BBC Scotland will wholly disregard the possibility that cricket is of interest to anyone in Scotland.  But he was a bit disappointed that the programme failed to make at least a passing reference to his own important influence on Mr Dewar's approach to the game.

Keen readers of these pages will need no reminding how Fantasy Bob previously recalled that he once coached the late First Minister.  Indeed Fantasy Bob can, with complete justification, modestly claim to have told Mr Dewar all he knew about cricket.

Mr Dewar had wide ranging interests in history, art and literature, so it was a surprise to FB when he first met the First Minister that he confessed to little understanding of our noble game.  Fantasy Bob had to take him from first principles and he soon developed an appropriate interest and enthusiasm.  He was delighted to discover that FB actually played the game and was even more amused when FB described his bowling as military medium.  For Mr Dewar, any game which could devise such a term was a game worthy of his interest.  Indeed, Military Medium became Mr Dewar's nickname for FB.

Under FB's coaching, Mr Dewar also observed the progress of the 1999 World Cup and shared FB's disappointment that Scotland failed to progress beyond the group stages.  He was however transfixed by the dramatic finish of the semi-final between Australia and S Africa where Australia tied the game in the last over following a panic-ridden piece of running by Alan Donald.  He professed great admiration for the toughness of mind of Steve Waugh whose innings did much to win the game for his side.  Mr Dewar remarked to FB that Waugh was just the kind of chap that you need in a Cabinet.

Interestingly between 1966 and 1970 Mr Dewar served as MP for Aberdeen South, the constituency where Fantasy Bob spent his early years.  He was unseated in the 1970 election by Iain Sproat who was the author of a number of books on cricket including the Cricketer's Who's Who.  Clearly Mr Dewar's then low understanding of the game was of critical importance to the electorate and he might have benefitted from FB's insights at a considerably earlier stage in his career.

As many others have remarked he was a great man taken untimely from us and who left a big space at the top of the batting order.

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