Cricket fan from South Shields declares he's sorry over doubts Ben Stokes could pull off Ashes miracle
A South Tyneside cricket fanatic has issued a public apology via the Gazette to his friend after declaring that England would lose their Ashes test match against Australia at Headingley.
Mike Newton, who works at Horsley Hill pharmacists, was watching his team facing almost certain defeat in the third Ashes test.
Things had gone from bad to worse, England were all out for just 67 in their first innings and in their second they needed to score a highly implausible 73 with one wicket remaining.
At this point England and Durham fan Mike, 38, gave up and said so to his friend Aman Hussain, 32. But Aman’s belief in England was unshakeable.
Mike said: “I said to Aman ‘They can’t do it. There’s more chance of me becoming Pope. If they pull this off I’ll make a public apology to you in the Shields Gazette.’"
At this point, England’s Ben Stokes went on to produce one of the greatest innings in the history of the game. His 135 not out steered his team to a seemingly impossible victory; and one of sport's least likely comebacks. Mike had been caught out.
Mike continued: “Aman said he would hold me to it. It was only when Ben Stokes hit the winning runs that I actually believed it.
“This is one time I don’t mind admitting to being wrong. In fact it’s about the only time. I’m still not entirely convinced that it happened.”
Although Mike is pleased to be wrong, he is also glad that he chose his words carefully.
He added: “The forfeit for something like this usually involves Fenwick’s window.”
Aman lives in Boldon and is also a pharmacist. The pair have been friends since studying pharmacy together at the University of Sunderland.
He said: “Mike’s been as good as his word. But I always believed in England. In these times of uncertainty and adversity, it’s good to have something to believe in and not just in sport.
Mike’s apology is as follows: “Michael Newton, local pharmacist and IT lead at Horsley Hill pharmacy would like to apologise to Aman Hussain for not believing in England cricket.”