The couple Ben Stokes ‘saved’ in a street fight in 2018 are calling for the cricketer to be knighted following his incredible Ashes innings.
Millions of people across the country were glued to televisions and radios, eagerly following an innings that started as improbable, before becoming the inexplicable.
Two of those watching were Kai Barry and William O’Connor. The couple claim Stokes defended them during a late-night brawl in Bristol last year and now they want the all-rounder to be made a knight of the realm after his recent heroics.
Stokes ended up in court for his part in the incident but was eventually cleared of all charges. Barry and O’Connor stated throughout that they had been the victim of homophobic abuse and that Stokes had stepped in to defend them.
Barry told The Sun: “There’s no question he should get a knighthood. He saved us, now he’s saved the Ashes. Ben risked his career for us. He’s my hero. He’s showed immense strength of character.”
Even Prime Minister Boris Johnson weighed in. He said: “It was one of the most extraordinary innings I’ve ever seen. I think I’ve already promised that Ben Stokes should get a Dukedom so I can’t go any higher than that.
“Clearly it’s not a matter for me but for some honours committee. I’m sure they’ll take the appropriate decision.”
It comes after Stokes rescued England from almost certain defeat with an unbeaten 135 on Sunday.
Australia were well on their way to winning the Test match, taking a 2-0 lead in the series and retaining the Ashes. After a promising innings in the field, England had been skittled out for just 67, Joe Denly top-scoring with 12.
It was the lowest score England has posted in the Ashes in over 70 years. By the time Australia had completed their second innings, England were set the improbable target of 359.
When Stokes came to the crease on Saturday evening it was all about survival. He scored just two runs from 50 deliveries; exactly what was needed at the time.
Sunday began in a similar vein. He dug in and scored three runs of 73, only increasing it slightly afterwards to 51 off 152 balls. As his teammates played various cameos alongside him, he took centre stage, going on to produce arguably the greatest innings of all time, certainly for an Englishman.
His 135 not out means that the Test series remains alive and England still have a chance to win the Ashes this summer.
After the win Stokes told the BBC: "Your family go through everything with you, good and bad, so it is great to be able to celebrate with them at times like this,"
"I didn't actually see Clare until late in the evening and I still had my training gear on and my England cap.
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