With regard to Boycott's perceived aversion to extremely fast bowlers, such as the WI quartet of Roberts, Holding, Croft and Garner of the eighties, reminded me of a little conversation I had with him in a CCC match at Chesterfield (beautiful ground). In the mid eighties Michael Holding was bowling to Geoffrey on a very lively wicket and hit him on the forearm from one which reared. Can't remember whether he was trying to hook but do remember that he was right behind it as, indeed, he had been for every ball. I don't recall his backing away from any ball.
He had to retire and went for an x-ray of his suspected broken arm.
Subsequently, he returned, with his arm in a sling, accompanied by a friend who had driven him to the hospital and back.Geoffrey's friend happened to be my Tennis doubles partner so, I was able to have a chat with the two of them. The friend happened to say that it makes you wonder if it was worth Geoffrey carrying on with his career. The look he got from Geoffrey, accompanied by, "Are you mad?" and ,"This is part of the game and, yes, as a batsman facing bowling like this, you have to expect some injuries, and apprehension is to be expected but not fear."
Boycott , also, faced Holding, (or was it Marshall?) , in a test where he was beaten 6 times out of six but never backed away once- maybe swayed expertly out of the way- but never in retreat.This over is almost shown as often as the Atherton versus Alan Donald one.
I suspect the stories of conveniently missing this match , or that, and 'Abbeydale Back' are made up to have a friendly jibe at Boycott's expense.
Is there any statistical evidence to prove this or any first hand evidence? Not saying there isn't and if there is it would be interesting. I watched most matches at Abbeydale (and a lot at Bramall Lane before that) and cannot recall any game where Geoffrey was expected to play and then went down with some injury or other.As I said, probably, all adds to the legend.