Thursday, August 19, 2010

What a swine

Revenge is sweet for Geraint Jones, the former England wicketkeeper who played his part in England regaining the Ashes for the first time in 20 years in 2005 (who can forget that crucial catch at Edgbaston or his partnership with Andrew Flintoff at Trent Bridge?).

Jones lost his place in the England team a year later and now plods along as a county cricketer for Kent but instead of becoming a bore (or even a boor), like so many ex-international sportsmen, Jones has turned his attention to boars instead on his farm near Sandwich.

For the past three winters, Jones has raised pigs from autumn weaners to porkers fit for the slaughterhouse in the spring. He also tends a flock of sheep throughout the year.

We chatted about his hobby last night for an upcoming Times series on sportsmen and their secret passions. Jones sees himself as cricket's answer to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, although without the interest in offal, and I asked him whether he can bring himself to give a name to his pigs.

"Oh yes," he said. "My wife decided to name them after people who have taken my place in the England team. Chris Read and Matt Prior were the first to go to the abbatoir."

Well it beats just bitching about them in an autobiography. Presumably, as my friend Will punningly pointed out, Phil Mustard, who came after Read, also went down well. Eaten with relish, no doubt.

1 comment:

Peter McGuinness said...

Hello Paddy. Hello all. Geraint has quite a pure English bloodline for one of your cricketers. As an Australo/Welsh New Guinean, perhaps he developed his affinity for wild bore in the West Papuan Highlands? Though it's more likely he became comfortable with swine during his dealings with ECB selectors. As always Patrick, you enlighten we less connected folk no end. At last we may conclude with confidence, that - as a wicketkeeper - Geraint makes a terrific pig-farmer. Thank you.