January 31, 2010

England cricket

Onions' legendary bat to be auctioned

Liam Brickhill


Graham Onions: "Those in the Armed Forces continue to put themselves in the line of fire and it is important their sacrifices are not forgotten or ignored.” © Mail on Sunday
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Graham Onions’ nickname was changed from ‘Bunny’ to ‘Legend’ after his heroic batting efforts on England’s recent tour of South Africa, and now the 2lb 7oz Woodworm bat that he used to defy South Africa, twice, is going to be auctioned to raise money for the soldiers’ Help For Heroes.

“I’ll miss that bat,” Onions told The Mail on Sunday. “It was the best bat I’ve ever used… an absolute beauty. Probably wasted on me, if truth be told. But I’m very pleased to put it up for auction for Help For Heroes.”

It is the only bat Onions has used in his short Test career, but has already seen some serious combat. He used it to make a career-best 17 not out on his Ashes debut at Lord’s last summer, and this winter it withstood Makhaya Ntini, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn and went through a Test series against South Africa unbeaten, with scores of 4*, 1*,2*, 4* and 0*.

“There is no doubt that bat has special powers,” said Onions. “I remember when I first collected it, when the chap from Woodworm came to Lord’s and handed over the best three blades I’ve ever seen. They were all great, but this one felt perfect in my hands. It was probably a bit like young Arthur pulling the sword form the stone. Now, after passing this one on, I’m hoping they’ll bring out a new one called Legend.

“As for the charity, growing up in the North East we have a strong local connection with the army garrison at Catterick and I know guys I was at school with who’ve seen active service. Those in the Armed Forces continue to put themselves in the line of fire and it is important their sacrifices are not forgotten or ignored.”

Place your bid for Onions' special piece of willow at the Mail on Sunday's website before the evening of February 5, and raise money for Help for Heroes.

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Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

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