I saw on the photo quiz that there was mention of James Carse - which got me reminiscing. As a young lad I had watched Carse as a young tearaway playing in the Currie Cup. I guess he must have been about 19 or 20 - wild, and fast, not much control but definitely a handful. Anyway - years later, I was playing a bit of cricket for OH and we had a game against Alex. I got to the game early and there was hardly anyone about. So, I'm hanging around and along comes this feller, wearing an old T shirt, faded boxer shorts and slops, nothing else. He looked 40ish, weatherbeaten and tough, lean and mean, not a bit of fat on him. He strolls over to me and introduces himself as James, asks for a smoke and we get chatting - he tells me that he bumped into Dave Lake(the OH skipper for the day) at the pub last night and got invited to play. I was surprised but said nothing, had no clue who he was and just went along with it. Eventually the rest of the team pitched up and a few of the blokes managed to chip in some whites and a spare pair of boots and James was able to kit up. Only then was I told that this was James Carse, a bloke who once played for Rhodesia. I was amazed - had forgotten all about him and out of the blue here he was. Anyway, we were put in to bat on a very lively pitch - Eddo Brandes was in his prime and he tore into us. Ball was moving all over the place and Eddo got stuck in. we had a couple of decent batters in the OH side, Alistair Campbell, Steve Penney, Stu Carlisle - but we were wrecked by Eddo and rolled out for about 120. Time for Alex to bat and they were feeling pretty confident - Dave Lake chucks the ball to Carse and tells him to let it rip.
Now this is a guy who's been out of first class cricket for at least 15 years, not playing at all, just "wire wiring about". So Carse, marks out a short run up of about 15 paces and then proceeds to terrorise the poor Alex blokes. He had that unique whip in his wrist - Richard Snell also had it, a sudden crack of the wrist and the ball would really fly. Because it had so much wrist action it would move late in the air and fizz off the pitch. Really lively. Cant remember exactly but he must have taken 5 or 6 wickets in no time all. What stands out in my mind was the effort ball he produced when Eddo came in to bat - the off stump cartwheeled several times and Carse let out a quiet expletive just to remind everybody who was the boss. Did I say he wast fast? Well it was bloody fast, and nasty too. glad I was playing with him that day.
Had a good natter to him in the pub afterwards. Really funny guy - told a good story about how Kepler Wessels had him kicked out of the EP team when he was found smoking a joint in the change rooms. He knocked around all over the place and never really settled down. Pity, because he was something special - a guy who at 40 something, still could out bowl Eddo Brandes. He peaked at the wrong time, when neither Zimbabwe or South Africa could offer him an international stage that could have really challenged him.