Thursday, August 04, 2011

Rothley: The Knights Templar and Mike Gatting

Visiting Gaddesby last year I mentioned the unsubstantiated theory that the Knights Templar from Rothley were responsible for the extraordinary south aisle at St Luke's.

Today I was at Rothley Court Hotel, which includes a chapel erected by the Templars when King Henry lll granted them the Manor and Soke of Rothley in 1231. You can see the chapel foreground of the photograph with the main hotel range further from the camera.

As I also mentioned in that Gaddesby post, the hotel has another claim to fame. It was here in 1988 that Mike Gatting lost the England captaincy because he had a late-night drink in his room with Louise Shipman, a barmaid, during the Trent Bridge test against the West Indies.

Cricinfo reminds us of the wider context. Gatting had alarmed the authorities, first by his on-field row with the Pakistani umpire Shakoor Rana the previous winter and then by publishing his controversial autobiography Leading from the Front. From then on, those authorities were keen to get rid of him.

The story continues on Cricinfo:
Common sense suggested that West Indies would have given the selectors an excuse to sack Gatting sometime during that summer anyway - the draw at Nottingham was never going to be more than an brief interruption to their winning run. His record was poor enough - the two wins in Australia were the only ones in his 23 Tests as captain - and his form with the bat was also on the slide, his average a modest 25.80 since his spat with Shakoor. But common sense at and English cricket have never gone hand-in-hand.

Gatting gave his side of events to the selectors, who were acting on behalf of the TCCB. He admitted taking Shipman into his room but denied anything untoward had happened. Three days after the incident, the TCCB summarily dismissed him.

And then Peter May, the embattled chairman of selectors, offered the media an explanation which left him and his board ridiculed. We don't think he slept with the barmaid, was the gist of May's explanation, but he shouldn't have invited her to his room. Gatting had effectively been sacked for having a late-night drink with a female.
But then Peter May's tenure as chairman of selectors was not a success. You can see why. He once replied to a journalist's suggestion that people thought he was out of touch with "Really? I haven't heard that."

1 comment:

Hywel said...

The announcement that Peter May had resigned as chairman of selectors was greeted with a round of applause when it was announced over the test match tannoy IIRC.