England's brassed off Ashes cricketers blow their trumpets

British cricket fan Billy Cooper can be heard during games playing his trumpet. Christopher Pike / The National
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England’s cricketers are going into bat for one of their principal cheerleaders, after it emerged “Billy the Trumpet” is to be banned from playing in the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge.

Kevin Pietersen described the decision a “DISGRACE”, after Matt Prior had made it clear he and his teammates all want to hear trumpeter Billy Cooper – a mainstay of England’s support as part of the “Barmy Army” – to be allowed to play in Nottingham when play begins on Wednesday. His bursts of tune have accompanied England all over the world in recent years.

Cooper had on Friday confirmed he will be unable to lend his musical support in the first Test.

“Just to clarify that @TrentBridge have said I can’t play at the 1st test. Disappointed. Gutted,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan was soon tweeting on the matter – and Prior too made the feelings of himself and his teammates known. He retweeted: “We just want to get behind @Swannyg66 @MattPrior13 @JimmyAnderson9 & the boys #LetBillyBlowhisTrumpet” we want him.”

On Saturday, Pietersen followed suit, adding: “Absolute DISGRACE that Trent Bridge have stopped our very vocal ‘12th man’ @billbarmytrump from playing at 1st Ashes Test!”

A Nottinghamshire spokesman said there is no prospect of the county altering their long-standing policy.

“It is not personal against him or his trumpet,” he said. “It is just a long-standing policy position. There is no chance of a change of mind.”

– Press Association