The Manic Street Preachers famously mentioned Matthew Maynard in one of their songs at a time when one of Glamorgan cricket’s great entertainers was being scandalously overlooked by the England selectors.
“Have you heard of Matthew Maynard?” Nicky Wire wrote.
“He’s my favourite cricketer.
“I would rather watch him play than pick up my guitar, than play with my guitar.”
The track Mr Carbohydrate didn’t help Maynard much.
It was England’s loss.
Some would say the idea of sporting heaven would be to time-travel back to St Helen’s in Swansea in the early 1990s and watch Viv Richards and Maynard batting together. The sun would be out, the cider would be cold and the sea would shimmer in the distance. Runs would also flow — of course they would.
But Maynard found it hard to win favour with those who picked the England Test team.
He won just four caps in all, the last in 1994. Anyone who watched him savaging a bowling attack — and this is a man who brought up his maiden century in first-class cricket with three consecutive sixes — would still be appalled at the injustice of it all.
Whatever, such occurrences are not wildly uncommon in sport.
Which brings us to Dan Evans.
The Ospreys full-back has never had anyone mention him in a song, but, like Maynard, he has spent an inordinate amount of time in the international cold. His admirers at the Liberty Stadium would doubtless feel the selection gods haven’t exactly been fair to him.
Despite his consistent excellence at regional level, it is exactly 10 years since he last played for Wales.
On June 6, 2009, he figured against the US Eagles in Chicago. Wales won 48-15, Jonathan Davies came up with a super performance and one Sam Warburton announced himself on the Test stage with 15 tackles and not a single miss.
If Evans didn’t exactly send the whole of Windy City into raptures, he performed perfectly competently in his second Test appearance before being replaced on 61 minutes by Jonathan Spratt.
Since then, nothing.
Well, actually, he did have a conversation with Rob Howley at the end of the 2017-18 campaign.
But it didn’t come to anything.
“There was a discussion with Rob,” Evans later reported. “But, I’ll just leave it there, I think.
“I will keep working as hard as I can. Hopefully I will get the recognition one day. If not then I am just happy playing for the Ospreys and keeping my performances as good as they can be.”
He hasn’t always been so philosophical.
At one point in 2017, after a blistering spell that saw him bank two Champions Cup tries against Clermont Auvergne and then post a touchdown double against champions Saracens, he responded to his omission from a national squad by using social media to express bafflement at his rejection.
He tweeted a picture of a man scratching his head in front of an impossibly perplexing mathematical problem.
Above the image, the former Scarlets and Dragons star tweeted: “Trying to figure s**t out”.
He is still grappling with the same problem.
Ospreys supporters recently voted him their player of the season, with the former schoolboy hurdles champion having completed another impressive campaign, his form hitting a peak during April when he bagged an extraordinary eight tries in three games.
It really wouldn’t have mattered if he’d bagged 28 tries in those three games, been compared with Serge Blanco and had two million people marching on his behalf on the streets of Swansea.
The current selectors are just not into him and it seems nothing will change their minds.
It’s the way it goes.
Coaches have their own preferences and thoughts about what it takes to play Test rugby, and, in fairness, Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny are exactly not bad options to have at full-back.
But there have been points when neither has been around — during the 2017 Lions tour, for instance — and Evans still didn’t get a look-in.
Heck, Wales even named a 32-year-old based in England in their squad rather than pick the ultra-consistent Ospreys No. 15.
The assumption had been that in the event of a flick-of-a-coin call between a Wales-based player and one from over the Severn Bridge, the chap playing for a Welsh region would be rewarded.
We thought wrong.
Phil Dollman got the vote, and even when he had to withdraw through injury, Evans still didn’t receive a summons.
It’s a weird one, all right.
During the Ospreys v Scarlets Champions Cup qualification playoff match recently, the cameras panned to the Wales selectors watching from the stands.
Before their very eyes, Evans was delivering on the pitch, setting up a try for Olly Cracknell by running through the Scarlets defence after latching on to a loose kick from Ioan Nicholas. Was this writer alone in being prepared to offer a penny for their thoughts at that point?
Whatever, it matters little.
“Is it a bit of a joke that I haven’t been selected over the past five seasons?” wondered Evans in a press conference ahead of this term’s Six Nations.
“Maybe it is, but it’s not my selection to make.
“At the end of the day, I’m happy where I’m playing, and I’m happy providing for my Ospreys team.
“What makes me happy is playing rugby.”
He has added: “You never give up. It is what it is.”
It’s a credit to him that he has stayed in form despite all the knockbacks.
Maybe he’ll allow himself a toast tonight to a decade of sustained quality.
Then again, maybe not.
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