PIERS MORGAN: DELICIOUSLY INDISCREET
THURSDAY, JULY 13
‘Fancy playing in a charity cricket match for my England Legends XI against my local club?’ Freddie Flintoff asked me recently.
I rocked up at Alderley Edge Cricket Club in Cheshire today to find Flintoff, Michael Vaughan, Steve Harmison, Simon Jones, Geraint Jones, Alex Tudor, Adam Hollioake, Dominic Cork, Monty Panesar and Glen Chapple.
I was the ONLY non-England Legend. The opposition, current Cheshire League champions, fielded an Australian professional fast bowler named Hamish. ‘He’s very quick,’ warned one local. ‘He’s no Brett Lee,’ I replied. ‘I wouldn’t tell him that…’ the local chuckled.
Hamish arrived, so I told him: ‘You’re no Brett Lee…’ He smirked, worryingly. We fielded first and Alderley Edge scored 170. Then it was our turn to bat. Flintoff confidently strode out with 50 to win. ‘I’ve got this,’ he roared. He was bowled first ball. I was next in, so passed him as he sheepishly slunk back to the pavilion. ‘Relax skip, I’VE got this,’ I laughed. Hamish was brought on immediately, pawed the turf like an enraged Pamplona bull let loose to spear foolish tourists, and bowled me a vicious bouncer that sent me diving for cover.
‘Oh dear,’ chortled the commentator, former England star and Sky presenter Paul Allott. ‘This is like that Brett Lee fiasco all over again!’
Next ball, Hamish overpitched and I smashed him for four.
The 2,000-strong crowd erupted, as he sank to his knees in horror.
I tapped him on the backside with my bat. ‘Like I said mate, you’re no Brett Lee.’
He bowled the next ball even faster and I crashed him over his head for another four. Humiliated, Hamish was taken off. ‘Know the worst thing about this?’ I chortled, as he sloped away. ‘What?’ he muttered. ‘5.9 million people are going to read about it on Twitter.’
I was out soon after but returned to a hero’s welcome from my startled team-mates.
‘I take it all back,’ admitted Allott. ‘I was wrong about your cricket skills Morgan, and I apologise.’
Freddie was less generous: ‘If there’s one thing worse than getting a golden duck in front of your home crowd, it’s watching Piers bloody Morgan then smash it around the park. Proper shots too!’
Talking of proper shots, England star Jimmy Anderson’s wife Daniella celebrated my innings by ordering numerous trays of lethal tequila slammers with cinnamon and sliced orange.
After the fifth one, she informed me: ‘My friend Kerry has always wanted to punch you in the face.’
Kerry admitted this was true but clarified: ‘You don’t seem quite so terrible in the flesh.’
‘I’m more popular than you think,’ I observed.
A steward approached. ‘Piers, some fans want a selfie. Do you mind?’
‘Of course!’ I said, winking smugly at Daniella and Kerry and walking over to two big, burly heavily intoxicated men.
They put me between them, then clamped my arms so I couldn’t move and filmed themselves shouting at me: ‘Piers Morgan is a complete c***!’
On a more positive note, the day raised thousands for Prostate Cancer UK and the club’s junior cricket academy.
MONDAY, JULY 17
Doctor Who is to be played for the first time by a woman.
I’m horrified at this massive insult to the non-binary, gender-neutral community and can only hope it is rectified by making all the Daleks gender-fluid, so they identify as male or female in different episodes depending on their exterminating mood.
MONDAY, JULY 24
The Guardian has published a behindthe-scenes feature on Good Morning Britain, in which the writer tries to work out which famous couple most remind her of Susanna Reid and me.
‘Editor Neil Thompson tells me the cohosts’ relationship is similar to Jack and Vera Duckworth [the Coronation Street couple who tolerated each other grudgingly],’ she opines, ‘as opposed to Don and Betty Draper [the Mad Men couple who detest each other]: “They love each other, but they also drive each other crazy.” In my mind, the relationship it most mirrors is that of Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone in the film Anchorman, where a competent, intelligent woman battles to maintain her professionalism when faced with the incessant witterings of a man entirely lacking in self-awareness.’
FYI: Ron Burgundy ends up marrying Veronica after she confesses: ‘Oh Ron, there are literally thousands of other men that I should be with instead, but I am 72 per cent sure that I love you.’
I mentioned this to Susanna, who pondered for a few seconds then replied: ‘0.72 per cent.’
SATURDAY, JULY 29
Dinner in Beverly Hills with ‘Saint’ Gary Lineker, whose politically correct halo has taken a bit of a battering since the BBC salary scandal revealed he earns 1,000 times as much as Clare Balding’s dog, or something.
I think Lineker’s worth every penny. He’s one of the best live broadcasters in the country and anyway, how do you evaluate the football punditry expertise of a man who was one of England’s greatest ever strikers?
I hear people say anyone could host Match Of The Day, but could they do it from the perspective of someone who won the Golden Boot at a World Cup?
Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean I’m not thoroughly enjoying his current squirming.
‘Hi mate,’ I said when we met tonight. ‘Would you mind sitting with your back to the restaurant?’ Gary looked puzzled. ‘Why?’ ‘Because we have arrived at a unique situation in our relationship where it is now more brand-damaging for me to be seen out with you than the other way round.’