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Frank Higginbotham's 100th Test

Lots of milestones at Lord's. Spare a thought for this little-known one

Alex Bowden

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A boy eats a burger
Mr Higginbotham had the presence of mind to take a photograph when a young Harry Potter partook of his offerings during a game one time © Getty Images
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I seem to be hearing a lot about landmarks this week. It's the 2000th Test match and Tendulkar could hit his 100th international hundred. Then, this morning, I find out that it's Duncan Fletcher's 100th Test match as a coach. Well, what about me? It's a big match for me too.

Is Frank Higginbotham's 100th Test match as a bacon butty and hot beverage vendor not worthy of celebration? For 20 years I've been up and down the motorways of this fair isle, driving to almost all of England's Test venues with my catering trailer so that cricket fans may nourish themselves on cured pork and white bread sold at slightly inflated prices.

I've seen some things in my time, I can tell you. I was there at Old Trafford for Tendulkar's first Test hundred and I've seen them all since then - curry vans, jerk chicken stands, nacho wagons - they've all come and gone. But I'm still standing.

I've had a few of the big names in, as well. I remember Michael Vaughan buying a styrofoam cup of tea off me a couple of years back, up at Chester-le-Street. He's a laugh, is Michael. He took a sip and then spat it out. He said: "This tea's disgusting. What have you done to it?" I couldn't help but laugh. He didn't fool me, even when he followed it up with: "I mean it. This is undrinkable. It tastes like there's a dead mouse in your urn or summat." Word must have got out about that, because it's been kind of a running joke since then. Loads of people have said similar things. Great sense of humour, Michael. Great sense of humour.

It's not all about chatting with the stars, though. I well remember day three of the 2005 Old Trafford Ashes Test. That was a real highlight. It was absolutely lashing it down, but everyone had turned up anyway. A full house with nothing to do but sink a few beers and then buy sausage-and-egg sandwiches to soak it all up. I did a roaring trade that day. The players came out late afternoon, which was perfect timing. It gave me 45 minutes or so to dash down to the cash-and-carry to stock up in time for the next wave of inclement weather. That was when I made one of my highest Test scores. I won't tell you how many sales it was, in case the tax man's reading.

For the real high watermark, I can't look much further than Alec Stewart's 100th Test. That was a day when so many elements came together perfectly. While he was out on the pitch, scoring 105 against the Windies, I was absolutely coining it in. My supplier had run out of my usual bacon - which is about 40% water - and had given me this fantastic dry cured stuff for the same price. Quite by chance, I also had some cracking barms at that time, so I added the word "deluxe" to the menu and an extra quid to the price and the rest is history. You want to talk landmarks? I'll do well to top that day.

RSS FeedAlex Bowden blogs at King Cricket. All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?

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Posted by Dummy4 on (July 24, 2011, 18:09 GMT)

KC, is that you? Really? What was that all about?

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