Superman, everyone: Cricket greats honor their friend Roy

Cricket greats, friends remember their favorite Symonds stories

Those close to him think that if he had a choice, Andrew Symonds would probably skip all this nonsense and go fishing.

Later, he would feel the urge to join the meeting, not wanting to miss the opportunity to share a few beers and stories with old friends – no less – in his hometown. Maybe he even settled in ’til stumps, raised eyebrows, and ironically questioning his allies as they dared to aim in the small hours, “What, aren’t you having fun?”

But all this – the outpouring of emotions, tears and honors – maybe it was better to skip. Such things seemed a little uncertain to Symonds during his playing career, and it remained so until the very end.

And today, on a perfect autumn day with blue skies in Townsville, when the cricket world has turned its attention to one man, like who from our sport has descended to the Riverway Stadium at several beautiful monuments, both private and public, it’s not hard to imagine as exactly where he was – in some remote uncharted fishing spot where the barra had been biting since dawn.

“The amount of fishing trips I’ve postponed because we’ve all been too busy,” recalled his close friend Matthew Mott, “would like to go back and do it with him again. We’ll miss him.” many.”

Andrew Symonds’ wife Laura and their daughter Chloe at a public memorial service // Getty

Mott no doubt spoke for dozens of Symonds’ friends. It was half past one when they began to rush in, a list of cricket celebrities coming out of the bus first: Ponting, Gilchrist, Border, Healy, Lehmann, Watson, Harris, and Hogg among them.

Brett Lee arrived a few minutes later, and then, as he wandered around the neighboring foot oval and began another half hour, Glenn McGrath, Mitchell Johnson, Mark Waugh, Brad Haddin, Jason Gillespie, Stuart MacGill, Joe Dawes, Michael Kasprowicz, and Wade arrived. Seccombe. The last to arrive at the cricket queen was the prince himself, Brian Charles Lara, while Queensland Rugby League legends Darren Lockyer and Gorden Tallis also passed through the entrance to Riverbank, a place Symonds had so proudly seen opened in his backyard. a decade earlier.

Gilchrist later recounted how Symonds’ mother Barb did not leave “a dry eye in the house” when she gave a private audience to stories from Andrew’s childhood, offering a view of a man with whom they had not been previously initiated.

“Faithful, Unbelievable”: Gilchrist, Mott pays tribute to Symonds

Jimmy Maher, who, like Mott, has loved Symonds since they met as a teenager at a school carnival, directly addressed the children of his dear old friend, Chloe and Billy, in what Gilchrist described as “one of the most beautiful glories you have ever they could imagine ”, which gives an exclamation point on the magnitude of this loss.

“He looked the children in the eye and passed on the news of what Roy thought he wanted him to say,” Gilchrist said. “It was really touching, really touching.”

Matthew Hayden could not be present, but his wife Kelly and daughter Gracie represented their family, and Hayden himself sent a song via video, which he wrote and played for his colleague Queenslander, a man with whom he shared success on the pitch and off-pitch misfortune. which are both firmly rooted in Australian legend.

Ian Healy, Adam Gilchrist, Darren Lehmann and Ricky Ponting share stories about their friend Roy // Clancy Sinnamon-cricket.com.au
Ian Healy, Adam Gilchrist, Darren Lehmann and Ricky Ponting share stories about their friend Roy // Clancy Sinnamon-cricket.com.au

As the private ceremony drew to a close and the guests retreated to the stands to wake up, the queue waiting for public honor was already beginning to crawl around the perimeter of the venue. Over the next few hours, most slowly and then more steadily, most from around the city and some from as far away as Brisbane and beyond.

“He was obviously a great friend of mine, but I think everyone felt like he knew Simma,” Mott said. “I think that’s why there are so many outbursts (emotions) in public.”

So they came to honor their friend Roy, the superman, and everyone at the same time. This English cricket pioneer brought up in Queensland. A man everyone wanted a piece of, but who instead enjoyed solitude and close company. Husband and father, son and brother. And a teammate, of course, and there were a number of men — Ponting, Gilchrist, Lehmann, and Healy — who brought a little lightness to the meeting as they jumped to the podium and shared their memories with the world of the man they generally considered their own. first selected on either side.

The honors ended with a brilliantly crafted piece by the renowned poet Rupert McCall, who also liked Symonds himself, who, McCall revealed, occasionally called the lyricists late at night to ask him and his friends for a few beers.

Ty ripper Roy: A poetic tribute to Rupert McCall of Symonds

Mott travels to England next week to embark on a new coaching adventure that he knows Symonds would offer him ribs and encouragement to the same extent. He takes part of Symonds with him, both professionally and personally.

“It’s a prototype for the modern player, where you have to release them and let them play,” Mott told criket.com.au this week. “They will make some mistakes, but they will also win matches for you.

“So when I think about coaching, I think about how I would train Simma a lot … he didn’t put too many barriers around him and didn’t tie too many shackles to him. I think that’s really the legacy he left me.”

The man they called Roy: Andrew Symonds about his life and career

“But also the feeling that when it’s time to work hard, you work damn hard. And when it’s time to relax and spend time with family and friends, you have to do the same.”

Which his loved ones did in his honor. Healy, who was a senior teammate of Symonds in the Bulls and who professionally hosted this public honor, offered the idea at the outset, which was true.

“None of us are sure if Roy would like it or not,” he mused. “He didn’t evaluate the pomp or the ceremony.”

Maybe, after all that’s been said and done, he would make an exception today.

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