Lang Lang cricketers meet a Lord

Lord Ian Botham (centre) met with Lang Lang Cricket Club president Matthew Waixel and District wicketkeeper Jeshan Pius at Caldermeade Farm last week. 374492 Picture: SUPPLIED

By Marcus Uhe

As a sizeable producer of dairy products, the Caldermeade Farm and Cafe is no stranger to Beef.

But a Lord? Until last week, that was uncharted territory.

The two worlds collided on Wednesday 15 November when one of the greatest cricketers to have played the game in Lord Ian ‘Beefy’ Botham visited the precinct for a meet and greet and guest-speaker night.

The English all-rounder was at one stage Test cricket’s all time leading wicket taker, when he surpassed Australian quick Dennis Lillee in 1986, and is credited with single-handedly winning the 1981 Ashes series, finishing second and third for runs scored and wickets taken, respectively.

The Lord Botham OBE was interviewed by fellow former English cricketer John Emburey and then answered questions from the audience.

The Farm and Cafe’s Events team said Lord Botham ranks in the top 10 for high-profile guests to have visited the premises, alongside famous chef’s, TV personalities, bands, other sports stars and even current Chinese President Xi Jinping, when he was vice president in 2010.

“We work closely with a fantastic talent agency who organises quite a few gigs for him when he visits Australia, the agency reached out to us to see if we were interested and of course we jumped straight onto it!,” the Events team said.

“As gold sponsors of the Lang Lang Cricket Club we thought it would be a brilliant idea to bring such a special guest to the community.”

Some staff members, particularly those of English descent, were starstruck by The Lord Botham OBE presence, but the man himself was said to be kind and down to earth, even going out of his way for a patron who had to forfeit his ticket due to poor health.

“We had a ticket holder request a refund a few days before the event.

“Unfortunately he was having his first dose of chemotherapy the day before the show and wished he could go, but knew that 24 hours after his first dose he wouldn’t be well enough and was shattered to not be able to make it.

“(We) reached out to The Lord Botham OBE and asked if it would be possible to sign a ball, or hat, or something small as a nice gesture for the gentleman that couldn’t make it due to his health and of course he was more than happy to help.

“He went above and beyond by signing a cricket bat and making a personal video message for him.

“Not only was the gentleman and his wife grateful and humbled by the gesture, but so was his direct and extended family as well.

“It doesn’t take much to make a big difference to someone’s life and this small kind-hearted gesture made him smile during an absolutely awful time in his life.”

Two attendees from Lang Lang Cricket Club, were President Matthew Waixel and the Tigers’ first-choice wicketkeeper Jeshan Pius.

“We’re sponsored by Caldermeade Farm and when we found out about it, we thought that we better head along and give some representation,” Waixel said.

“He spoke to myself and Jeshan and spent a bit of time with us afterwards, he was very giving and a really lovely guy.

“We were all very starstruck, we went back to thank the owners of Caldermeade Farm afterwards for sponsoring us and allowing us to come along, and they said, ‘Do you want to meet him?’ and we said ‘absolutely’.

“It was a fantastic night.”