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I’m sad to hear that Peter O’Toole has died.

I met him once a long time ago while I was in my second year at Uni, and was playing cricket for the University of North London team.

We had a regular Friday net at Lords’ indoor school and I was bowling my usual ugly leg-spin when I noticed someone famous in the net to our left. It was O’Toole, his son Lorcan, and the young man’s school friends. The actor had just been successful in a custody battle for the boy, and neither I or the rest of our team would have paid him much notice until he came into our net and very politely asked us to stop playing for a minute.

We acquiesced and he borrowed a bat and ball and got his party to stand back in his net. He whacked the ball against the net, making it bulge back into his net by a foot or two.

“There,” he said, “That’s why you don’t stand right against the net!”

And with that he returned to his party, and I returned to my forlorn attempts to perfect my “Wrong ‘un.”

He never did return to that net and we’d booked it for I think, 12 weeks. He was a perfect gentleman and I did allow myself a little knowing smile when I saw him in the film, “Venus,” a few years ago. He really was playing against type, judging by the chap I encountered in the early 90’s.

Rest In Peace Peter.