Well, unless anyone has convinced him to stay on until March, for one last stand, today marked the end of one of the most legendary careers in Irish cricket. Yes, today was the last day that David Trent Johnston (better known simply as Trent, or even TJ) played international cricket for Ireland, bring to an end an illustrious career, both in standard white, and of course the famous green clothing.
As I said, thanks for the memories, there are so many.
Its funny though, before March 2007, if someone had pointed him out to me, or even more amazingly, introduced him to me, I would have asked who? Because, lets face it, like so many Irish cricket fans, they only really came flashing into the headlights of fame back then, in the West Indies.
But it wasnt the famous game against Pakistan when I saw him play, I had seen him a few days before, when Ireland had the temerity to force a tie with Zimbabwe. Yes, a few of that team, including Trent, had ‘interesting’ Irish accents, it must be said. In his case, hardly surprising, seeing he was born in New South Wales, Australia.
Even after that, I wasnt holding any major expectations, even on St Patrick’s Day, when Ireland played their next match, that now famous one against Pakistan. And guess who hit the winning runs, the captain that day, Trent Johnston. Despite going on to lose to the hosts, the 2 previous results ensured that Ireland moved on to the next stage, and that next win over a test nation, over Bangladesh.
Legend has it, that only one of the squad had bought enough clothing and things for the extended stay, no prizes for working out who! True or not, I have no idea, but I could believe it.
From there on in, a casual fan of Irish cricket (like many thousands of others) became a much keener fan. In a sense, sadly, when Ireland played cricket in the English domestic limited overs tournament, they rarely did well. But for a good reason, at least half the full strength side (even back then) were playing in the same tournament for their counties. But Trent led the team to a few memorable victories, all the same.
Since then, he’s led the country on a few occasions, though the main role passed on to William Porterfield, in good time, a fine leader himself. And more recently, Kevin O’Brien has taken over from him, when the county players arent around.
Strictly, I havent been introduced directly to Trent, but I’ve sat (or stood) next to him at Belfast a few times. The most recent being this years trip to Belfast, for the Australia A game, when he was literally stood about 2 yards from me, if not less. But no, I’m not a big one for just talking to people I really dont know, so just sat and looked. It probably would have been fine, but…I know… In fact, the main reason I went to Belfast this year was to see Trent play one last time, and I’m glad I did it.
In the recent qualifiers for next years T20 World Cup, Trent played outstandingly, with the bat, as much as the ball, and Ireland comfortably won the competition. Today marked the end of the last stand, the Inter Continental Cup Final (the multi day tournament for non test playing nations) when Ireland again beat Afghanistan. The only sad point, Trent suffered an Achilles injury yesterday, and spent today in the commentary box, not on the field. I’m sure thats not how he wanted it to end, but sadly the body said otherwise.
The nice touch, the trophy presentation afterwards. Normally the captain would go up and collect it, but on this occasion, oh no. Up went Trent Johnston to collect it, quite a fitting moment, handled wonderfully by William Porterfield.
So as I said at the start, Trent, thanks for so many wonderful memories, we will all miss you so much.
The video, something far older than both of us
PS and apology. Mr P, I know you prefer to be called Will, or Porty, but please allow for the fact I’m writing this for people who wouldnt know who I was talking about otherwise.
At the close of the cricketing year, I would also like to thank Roy Torrens, Robin Walsh, Barry Chambers and Ian Callender for their wonderful hospitality earlier this year in Belfast. I would also mention the man from Cricinfo, but I cant remember his name, so this is as good as it gets.