Michael Vaughan has staked his claim for a Ringer of the Year award after turning out in disguise for a village second XI once labeled as the worst cricket team in England.
The former England captain spent five hours with make-up artists, who transformed him into the lank-haired, tattooed and pot-bellied Gary Watson, before turning out for Goldsborough 2nd XI in a midweek game against local rivals Dishforth.
The last time the two sides met was in 2006 when all 11 Goldsborough batsmen recorded ducks as they were dismissed for just five runs in the Nidderdale and District league – none of the runs scored off the bat.
In the long-awaited rematch, Goldsborough lost the toss and conceded 105 for 6 in their 16 overs. The team then collapsed to 18 for 3, at which point Gary Watson strolled to the crease, shirt untucked and sporting the kind of belly only seen in village cricket. The elegance of his strokeplay, however, suggested that Goldsborough’s new number five had honed his batting at a rather higher level.
Dishforth captain Steve Wilson said: “Our lads were all in total shock when they found out who they had been playing with. We thought ‘This bloke can play’ but had no idea he was a legend.”
After a suspiciously world-class 28, Gary Watson was caught behind leaving Goldsborough with 58 more runs to secure victory. The run-chase came down to the final over with Goldsborough eventually sealing a tight victory with a six.
After peeling off the prosthetics, Vaughan, who was playing his first game since retiring in 2009, said: “Batting in the suit was pretty tough as I was sweating so much in the prosthetic mask. The pillow stuffed down my shirt to give me a beer belly made it hard to run. I was worried I might get run out.”