THE clouds cleared and the crowds appeared as more than 1,000 supporters turned out for Ritchie Humphreys’ celebrity Twenty20 cricket match.
Early-morning rain had threatened to put the dampeners on the latest event in the Hartlepool United legend’s testimonial celebrations.
But as the sun broke through the punters poured in at the Park Drive home of Hartlepool Cricket Club.
They were there to enjoy the limited-overs face off between Ricthie’s Royals, including current Pools stars such as Tony Sweeney, Adam Boyd and Sam Collins, and the Victoria Park Victors, who boasted among its number former favourites like Peter Beardsley, Marco Gabbiadini and Tommy Miller.
In a fiercely-fought affair it was the younger set of players won through, but only thanks to a last-over boundary from goalkeeping coach Gary Walsh.
And Humphreys was bowled over by the support from the people of the town.
“It’s an absolutely amazing turnout,” he told the Mail.
“Obviously we were always dependent on the weather and thankfully the sun came out.
“But it’s been a tremendous occasion and I can’t thank the fans enough for turning out.
“This whole testimonial year has just been so special to me.
“Days like this are brilliant because it means the families can all come together, enjoy the sun, enjoy the cricket and have a few drinks as well.
“I really am amazed and humbled at the amount of people who have come down and I hope they enjoyed it.”
And the evening ended with ex-England and Newcastle United ace Beardsley taking the mic in the cricket club as he regaled tales from his playing days to a sell-out crowd.
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