Irish cricket and the sequinned star
It's probably Irish cricket's greatest contribution to sports trivia questions - name the three men who played in both of Ireland's first two competitive wins over English counties. Kyle McCallan they always say, as he was first capped in 1928, wasn't he? With a bit of mulling they remember the legendary Peter Gillespie. The third man is always trickier, as they found in Vienna, but without a eureka moment the quiz master always has to give the answer: Mark Ramprakash.
Yes, Ramps was the only common denominator in those hapless Middlesex (1997) and Surrey (2004) sides that fell to Ireland in the Benson & Hedges Cup and C&G Trophy. Now, as he rides off into the sequinned sunset, he surely ranks those two games high in his list of career failures.
Although never a player to love, he was one of the most exciting of his generation and I vividly recall his century in the West Indies in 1998, not least because as he waved his bat I was rocking three-week old Billy to sleep in a darkened room with just Test Match Special for company.
Another grim moment for Ramprakash came in Dublin too, back in the summer of 1992 - and it wasn't just that he was dismissed twice for a single figure score by the great Paul McCrum. He had played a handful of times for England by then, but hadn't cemented his place.
Middlesex were over to play Ireland in one of those fairly pointless two-day games over a weekend in Malahide.
The glorious stadium that it surely will be was more modest then, and a scattering of picnic tables sat in the area outside the pavilion door.
That sunny morning, about half an hour before play, they were mostly occupied by locals recovering from the first night hospitality with a coffee and the Sunday Tribune. One of the tables was graced by Mike Gatting, John Emburey and other senior players busy solving the problems of English cricket.
Our slumber was disturbed by the tring-tring of the telephone just inside the pavilion door, eventually answered by a Malahide youth.
"Telephone call for a Mister Ramper-kash," he bellowed. "A Mister Stewart on the line".
I watched as Gatting and Emburey exchanged grimaces. In those days test teams were announced religiously at Sunday lunchtime, and a call at that hour from England manager Micky Stewart always bore good or bad news. As Ramprakash had made a duck against Pakistan in the previous test, it wasn't likely to be a positive message.
"Yes, Mr Stewart," he muttered, a phrase he repeated three or four times before hanging up. And then, bizarrely, he went to the outside corner of the pavilion and stood, shoulder resting against the drainpipe, for more than an hour. He was no more than ten feet from his teammates but never exchanged a word or a glance.
I soon tired of this display, and wandered off to watch the cricket from another angle. I looked over at one stage from my seat by the wall and he was still standing in the same spot, arms folded, alone in his thoughts.
He might still be there.