Allan Lamb

Allan is now a TV analyst, runs a sport travel business and is a very keen shot and fisherman. 

For a reminder of his talent with a cricket bat check out

Do you get your kit ready the night before? 

I try to get organised the night before, but if the shoot is close by then I will get up a little earlier in the morning.

Do you have a lucky garment or accessory? 

For years I had a lucky flat cap, it was a tartan-type tweed. I always wore it, for both shooting and fishing, but sadly I lost it and it has never really been replaced.

Which shoot - do you have your own, belong a syndicate or take days?

I largely shoot with friends, and am fortunate in that I get some generous invitations. I used to belong to a syndicate but with my travelling it was too much of a commitment.

Shooting you particularly remember: 

I have only shot grouse twice, but I will never forget the first time in Northumberland. The loader was telling me to shoot when the birds were miles away. At the end of the drive I never shot a thing - I was in awe. But then I did as I was told after that. I must have done OK as it was a 40 brace day and our bag was 100 brace! If I had to choose between a day's salmon fishing and day's grouse shooting I would definitely have to think twice. Grouse are exceptional. But I have also had fantastic days on high partridge at Ashcombe and Prescombe in Wiltshire - I had never seen such high birds, they were 
like starlings!

As a famous personality, do you find people regard you differently in the shooting field? 

Not at all. But then I mostly shoot 
with friends.

When and how did you take 
up shooting? 

When I came to England to play cricket professionally, my car sponsors were Hartwells, who generously took me on a day's pheasant shooting at Blenhiem. I really didn't know the form and turned up in my jeans and boots, as I would have back in South Africa. Thankfully the man from Hartwells got me sorted with all the right gear, but I'll never forget the first drive. I was in the middle of the line, and a single pheasant flew straight towards me. Everyone was watching. Bang, bang! Nothing - not a feather. It was so embarrassing - like dropping an easy slip catch at Lords in front of 29,000 people. I've done that too! I struggled. I then bought myself  a Webley & Scott side-by-side but still didn't do that well. Northants CCC former chairman, president and patron the late Lynn Wilson was very good to me, and said I needed an over-under. So I got a Browning B2G 30” which I still shoot today. In hindsight, I should have bought a pair. Through a combination of the new gun, charity clay shoots, and with help from loaders my shooting got better. But I remain best when I shoot instinctively - I don't like to see the birds in the air for a long time.

Is your father a shooting man? 

Yes - plains game, guinea fowl, francolin, duck. This was also pretty much what I was brought up on. My grandfather was Irish and went out to Africa to start a building businesss. My father was a pilot.

Do many pro cricketers shoot? 

There were quite a few when I was playing, including Ian Botham, David Gower and Les Taylor. But I would guess not so many now. The game has changed. Bumble (David Lloyd) was a keen fly fisherman, and I remember when he was an umpire urging him to call off a game in poor light, telling him I had three tickets for a local trout fishery. The game was duly abandoned for the day. There were questions asked later when the sun came out!

Where do you like fishing most? 

I love any fly fishing and live near Pitsford Reservoir. But salmon or sea trout on the fly takes some beating - on the Spey if I get the chance. I am involved in a sports travel business, and through that we offer some fantastic sea fishing in Dubai and Oman. I have caught giant trevally up to 52kg, along with yellow fin tuna and sailfish. Marlin too. And it is so 
lightly fished.

Your favourite gun? 

The Browning which I bought over 20 years ago. Though I still use the Webley from time 
to time.

Are you tense on the first drive of 
the day? 

I used to be, particularly when I was a guest and didn't know most of the team. Now if I miss a bird it doesn't really matter. I am shooting for fun - it's not a competition.

Does a mid-morning drink help or hinder? 

I'm not sure but I certainly enjoy elevenses, it's all part of the day.

Do you prefer to eat at lunchtime or shoot through with a meal at the end of the day? 

I enjoy lunch at lunchtime. Again it's another key part of the day. Though I do understand that in mid-winter days are short and then it's perhaps better to eat at the end of the day.

Honestly - do you always clean your 
gun afterwards? 

Absolutely - even if I am late home.

Do you have regular shooting pals? 

Over the years I have had some great shooting with the Wilson family. As mentioned, Lynn, who had a large house-building business was very generous to me. He had a shoot not far from my home, which his sons Giles and 
Nick have developed brilliantly. They are 
super people and great fun to shoot with. 
I also shoot in the Cotswolds with Tony Gallagher, Lee Richards and Tom Astor, all good friends.

What, if anything, disappoints you on a shooting day? 

People who take themselves too seriously, and don't know how to enjoy themselves.

What makes a good day? 

A combination of ingredients - the shooting, the people, the setting, the food. For everyone to remember it's fun and while we all like plenty of shooting, in reality the bag size is irrelevant.

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