More guessing games. What we’re looking for here is the year, though extra points are available for:
a) The author
b) X and Y
c) The County
All three were England players, X and the narrator occasionals, Y a regular. X and Y were both senior County professionals. As a guide, the average salary for a County cricketer is now somewhere between £40,000 and £100,000 a year and the minimum England central contract is worth – at a conservative estimate – well over £200,000 p.a..
“Making ends meet is a constant worry for most cricketers, particularly those with a family and a mortgage. Only two —–shire players are paid more than £10,000 a year – and I am not one of them. The club’s argument is that you are being paid for six months’ work, so you have another six months to double your pay. It’s a great theory … In reality players end up doing all kinds of dead end jobs to see them through the winter, assuming they can get a job at all. X has worked in a quarry in the past, but last winter he was on the dole. So was Y. I spent one winter driving a lorry … and almost killed myself when the steering failed on a steep bend. The only way to get the old thing up to 40 miles an hour was to stand up with all your weight on the accelerator. After a bit you get tired so you swapped feet. Another year I knocked windows together for a local manufacturing company. It was so boring.
Financially, the only place to be is in the England squad. Test players earn nearly £2,000 a match and around £15,000 for a tour. It’s a different league.”
I would dearly love to be able to provide the answers upside down at the bottom of this piece, but that doesn’t seem to be possible, so I shall append them shortly.
(Answers now provided below, courtesy of Brian Carpenter.)