Andy Atkinson

Wayne gets the bird

Big fast bowler v seagull

Andy Atkinson

Text size: A | A
Illustration: Wayne Daniel
Related Links
Players/Officials: Wayne Daniel

I was the chief groundsman at Lord's in the late 1970s. Once, on the eve of a county game I was looking on as Wayne Daniel, who was one of the overseas pros for Middlesex, did his laps around the ground. He seemed to be increasing his pace and was sprinting along when he reached the old grandstand at the far end.

I remembered having taken a walk around the ground a few days before and seeing a seagull's nest on the top tier of the grandstand. A few eggs had hatched and the mother was protecting her chicks carefully. Daniel probably scared her when he got close.

Before he knew it, a horde of seagulls was attacking him. He changed course and began running towards the centre of the pitch. Finally, unable to keep pace, he decided to go down and, like a footballer celebrating a goal, swooped down to the ground.

I look at the pitch and there's this big, mean fast bowler, totally terrified, lying on the ground for nearly five minutes - quite a sight.

Andy Atkinson has been a groundsman since 1973

Tell us what you think. Send us your feedback

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

. Your ESPN name '' will be used to display your comments. Please click here to edit this.
Email this page to a friend Email Feedback Feedback Print Print
More in Once Upon an Anecdote
RSS FeedAll
  • What do Marsh and Rahul have in common?
    Numbers Game: There is no doubting their batting talent, but both have been plagued by inconsistency in their Test careers so far
  • Why we need needle
    Scott Oliver: We all enjoy watching a little pettiness, bad blood and low-grade squabbling between players, let's admit it
  • Why the wrong technique is sometimes right
    Pete Langman: Orthodoxy is all well and good, but sometimes you need to dump it in the interests of the spirit of play
  • Fickle finger of Tim Paine's fate
    Daniel Brettig: Multiple surgeries and a loss of form and confidence pushed him into the shadows, but he will return for Tasmania this week
  • 'I don't talk nonsense'
    Polite Enquiries: Mohammad Hafeez tries to make sense of his nickname, and reveals the one thing he would like to get better at
  • ESPN
  • ESPNF1
  • Scrum
  • Soccernet