Consett Cricket Club - Mike's Previous Muses (2019 onwards)

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

August 2020

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

    

  Well, cricket at last! Friendlies and the beginning of a constricted League programme have meant that every Club player who was available to play has played at least one match. Several regulars, however, have been unavailable for a variety of reasons. Although this situation is disappointing for selectors and other players alike, it has given some younger and inexperienced players the opportunity to stake their claims for future selection consideration.

 

  Coronavirus precautions have meant, along with many other changes to the norm, the mandatory sanitizing of players’ hands every few overs. This frequent hiatus in proceedings has been readily adopted by the players and does not take too much time. However, I do not understand why the batsmen participate in the ritual when they do not handle the perceived purveyor of the virus i.e. the ball. Moreover, I am puzzled as to the reason why the umpires [who do handle the ball] do not adjourn to the sanitizing area themselves. I must observe the next match more closely to see if they have their personal supply of sanitizer secreted in a pocket.   

 

  The England v West Indies Tests have been enjoyable. Strange [without crowds] but nevertheless enjoyable. Some good batting, bowling and fielding; all played at a high level of intensity. Just what Test Cricket is all about. I do have a great deal of sympathy towards the West Indian wicket-keeper, Shane Dowrich, who has endured a torrid time behind the stumps. Keeping to the quickies with their excessive speed and unreliable accuracy added to the late swing of the ball encountered in English conditions have proved a bridge too far for him. His misery was capped during the final Test when he failed to take a rising screamer from the wild ‘Angel’ Gabriel. The missile was deflected by his gloves and hit him slap in the middle of his face. As he was escorted from the field by medical staff the umpires had the unsavory task of wiping his blood off the ball. Tough game cricket.

 

 Occasionally I have been asked who was the fastest bowler I ever kept to. The answer is not one you might expect or even a name that you may have heard  before. The answer is Eric Routledge. Eric had left the Club before I joined its ranks in 1970 and emigrated to southern Africa. He came back to Consett in the mid-70s and played his first game for the Club at Annfield Plain. Whether or not Eric’s cricket gear was still in Africa or had been abandoned years before I do not know. I do know that he arrived at Enterprise Park that afternoon carrying his brand new gear in a Newcastle sports outfitter’s bags. He had bought it all that morning. We fielded first and the ball was given by captain Tommy Nichol to Eric for him to open the bowling. I had never met Eric before, let alone seen him bowl. I stood back to his first ball; and even further back to his second! Thankfully he was fairly accurate which meant that I was not called upon to make fruitless dives down the leg-side. However, I remember taking one ball which was so fast that the pace of it knocked me backwards. In addition I learnt why wicket-keepers long ago stuffed raw steaks into the palms of their gloves. Even wearing my wet chamois inners under my gloves my hands were stinging. Eric’s return to the Club did not last too much longer. How grateful my hands were.

                

Take care. 

 

August’s Cricket Quiz

The following anagrams are of formerTest cricketers together with clues to their names:-

  1. WEAVE THUGS(Aussie captain)
  2. BAND RANDOM(Aussie captain)
  3. VULGARIANS ASK( Indian captain)
  4. PANACHE PILL(Aussie captain)
  5. BRANDY STORE(West Indian bowler)
  6. ORALLY WRITHING (England captain)

Answers will appear in the next edition.

Answers to July’s  Cricket Quiz

Overseas stars:- name the county/counties these overseas stars played for:

  1. Richie RichardsonYorkshire
  2. Bishan BediNorthamptonshire
  3. Desmond HaynesMiddlesex
  4. Allan DonaldWarwickshire
  5. Colin CroftLancashire
  6. Inzaman ul-HaqYorkshire

 

  It’s time for a few quotations. As in last month’s edition, the following relate to Bowling.

 

‘None of us likes fast bowling, but some of us don’t let on.’

 Maurice Leyland, Yorkshire and England batsman.   

 

‘When tha’s laikin’ wi Fred, tha’s not laikin’ wi’ a soft ball, tha’ knows.’

Fred Trueman in ‘Fast Fury’.

(For the benefit of non-Tykes ‘laikin’ means playing. Editor.)

 

‘I know I’m a ruthless bastard and I always have a go. But I wouldn’t put a ball like that on anybody. It slipped. It honestly slipped.’

Dennis Lillee after a beamer to Bob Willis, England’s no. 11 in Sydney, MCC in Australia, 1974/5.

 

‘I don’t really like the new Dennis Lillee. There’s no substitute for bowling fast and being able to make the good players jump.’

Dennis Lillee in ‘My Life in Cricket’, 1982, after his back injury had forced him to substitute skill for speed.

 

‘I don’t want any bloody sympathy, do you understand that? It has happened. People who say, ‘I know how you feel’ are just talking bullshit. They don’t know, not at all. What I can’t forget is that the ball was a deliberate short one. Not deliberately at his head, but still deliberate.’

Peter Lever, England fast bowler, after felling New Zealand’s last man, Ewen Chatfield, in the Auckland Test, 1975. Chatfield was hit on the temple and his heart stopped for several seconds.

 

 

‘You look a sight worse than I do.’

Ewen Chatfield when Lever visited him in hospital, 1975.

 

‘Just remember one thing son, you’ve already been killed once on a cricket field..’

Ian Botham’s warning to Ewen Chatfield after the New Zealand seamer had run out Derek Randall, while backing up, Christchurch Test, 1977/78.

 

Mike Rogers  

 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

July 2020

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

    

  We are now beginning our fifth month of restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. I hope that you are still coping with the changes to your life that there have been. Things that we once took for granted are now getting to be remote memories. Shopping now has to be planned carefully, masks at the ready. Dining out and drinks at the pub (or Cricket Club) are not on the agenda. For many families technology in the form of video chats has become a boon. I have no idea how many families or individuals have kept in touch with others this way but it must run into millions. One group who met in this way for the first time was the Club’s Management Committee who zoomed twice last month. I have to report that all went very well. Ideas were shared and decisions made in good time. Not the same as face to face meetings but a good substitute.

 

  As an avid listener to ‘Test Match Special’ I was dismayed to learn that Sir Geoff Boycott would no longer be part of the TMS team. I appreciate that he is not everyone’s cup of tea but I enjoy Boycott’s comments which benefit from his long life in cricket and his pedigree as a player of the game. Critics may complain of his habitual use of ‘stick of rhubarb’, ‘in my mum’s pinny’,‘corridor of uncertainty’ etc. but when it comes to reading a game of cricket, in my opinion, he takes some beating. Whatever the reason for his departure from TMS (and rumours abound), I shall miss him. Moreover, Jonathan Agnew will be akin to Wise without Morecambe.   

 

  Perhaps we should not give up hope of playing/watching cricket this season at Blackfyne. The League Secretary has e-mailed questionnaires to clubs regarding their readiness to play. Thanks to the hard work of the few (voluntary groundsmen) the ground is looking a picture and advance notice of 10 days or so would be all that was required to start a match. If any cricket takes place and in which format it will be played only time will tell; but keep the faith.     

 

Take care.             

 

July’s  Cricket Quiz

Overseas stars:- name the county/counties these overseas stars played for:

  1. Richie Richardson
  2. Bishan Bedi
  3. Desmond Haynes
  4. Allan Donald
  5. Colin Croft
  6. Inzaman ul-Haq

Answers will appear in the next edition.

 

Answers to June’s Cricket Quiz 

Football and Cricket

[a] England Test cricketer and coach Mickey Stewart played for which London football club?  Charlton Athletic

[b] Which Worcestershire captain witnessed the tragic fire at Bradford City in 1985 which claimed the lives of 56 fans because he was playing for their opponents Lincoln City?  Phil Neale

[c] Which cricketer’s last game of football was the 1950 FA Cup Final?      Denis Compton

[d] Which footballing brothers played together for Lancashire’s Under 14 team?

Gary & Phil Neville

[e] Which West Indian great is reported to have played a World Cup qualifier for Antigua in 1974?   Sir Viv Richards

[f] Which former England fast bowler became manager of Ashington FC in 2014?   Steve Harmison

 

  It’s time for a few quotations. Last month’s quotations revolved around Batting. This month is the turn of Bowling.

 

‘They said to me at The Oval, come and see our new bowling machine. Bowling machine? I said. I used to be the bowling machine.’

 Alec Bedser, former England bowler,1989.   

 

‘I used to get bored with batting. All I ever wanted to do was bowl. I had one shot – the slog – and if I hit it, the ball went a long way and the crowd and I were happy. If I missed it, well I was that much closer to bowling.’

‘Bomber Wells’, Gloucestershire and Nottinghamshire spinner,in ‘The Spinner’s Turn’, 1989.

(I had the pleasure of watching ‘Bomber’ playing for Notts against Yorkshire at Bradford Park Avenue in the 1960s. At that time he insisted that he was the worst batsman in County Cricket. Going in to bat, obviously at number 11, Bomber quickly proved that as a batsman he was a good bowler. He survived his first 3 balls facing Fred Trueman by ‘backing away’ and attempting his one and only stroke. Of course he failed to connect with any of them. Bomber was clean bowled by the fourth ball which was an off-break delivered by Trueman. When his wicket was broken the hapless batsman was once again on his way back to the square leg umpire. Another duck to add to his long list. Editor.)

 

‘The thicker you are, the better your chances of becoming a quick bowler.’

Stewart Storey, Surrey coach, in ‘From the Nursery End’, 1985.

 

 

‘Sorry, skipper, a leopard can’t change his stripes.’

Lennie Pascoe, Australian fast bowler, apologizing to Ian Chappell for bowling bouncers in bad light and causing a suspension of play.

 

‘I used to give every new batsman four balls. One was a bouncer to check his courage, the second a fizzer to check his eyesight, third was a slow’un

to try out his reflexes and the fourth a bender to see if he was a good cricketer. And if he took a single off each of the four balls, I knew I was in trouble.’

Harold Larwood speaking in 1972.

 

 ‘I hope you can hold a  f****** blade, pal.’

Dennis Lillee, struck on the hand by Jeff Thomson, his future fast-bowling partner, during their first meeting, NSW v Western Australia, 1972/3 season.

 

‘Wouldn’t it be better if I got in the fridge?’

Qasim Omar, Pakistan batsman, receiving ice-pack treatment for bruises caused by Australian fast bowlers, Perth Test, 1983.

Younger readers may not know that Qasim played for both Sacriston and Annfield Plain in the Tyneside Senior League.

 

‘The first time two batsmen have ever crossed in the toilet.’

Tony Lewis, facing the pace of West Indian quick Wes Hall for the first time, Glamorgan v West Indies, 1963.

 

‘I don’t know why they bother to put the stumps out. None of these buggers are trying to hit them.’

Graeme Fowler, suffering at the hands of the West Indian fast bowlers, Oval Test, 1985.

 

 

 

Mike Rogers  

 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

June 2020.

 

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

    

  Sad to report [but perhaps a blessing for the reader?] that this edition is once again short. The restrictions upon play necessitated by the coronavirus have robbed the writer of Club content. As a long-retired player I am frustrated by the absence of cricket to watch. The situation must be more than frustrating for the players. Indoor nets have come and gone; now just a memory. Outdoor practice is not practically possible given the restrictions applied to it. Our brand new outdoor nets remain unused. The latest news regarding the start of domestic cricket is equally bleak. It may start in August!! Just to really put a downer on it all we have had the best Spring weather in years!

 

  On the plus side, if there is one, the Club should not take much time to be up and running as soon as the green light is given. The field itself is looking a picture thanks to the hard work put in by our voluntary ground-staff. The Club’s Management Committee has kept in touch via e-maul, phone calls and text messages. It will even hold a Zoom meeting early this month. No doubt its members are hastily arranging a display of books situated behind them for when they are on screen to show how studious they really are. No? I agree, they are not that shallow.

 

  Income has dwindled due mainly to the enforced closure of the Bar. In efforts to raise funds Club Treasurer Colin has involved the Club in a donation website [Spacehive] and Club Chairman Alan is in the process of resurrecting the 100 Club via bank transfers and cheques. By so doing they are following in the footsteps of the Club’s ancestors, the Eltringhams, Percy Freeman, John Best et al, in showing their initiative during critical times. [If the names of those Club officers of the past defeat you, fish out your copy of ‘The Blackfyne Story’.] Another fundraising venture has been in operation during the past few weeks. ‘Street food’ has been on sale at the ground on Friday evenings. An approach from a lady well versed in organizing such things was well received by the Committee. The major selling point was, of course, that the Club would get a small percentage of the takings. To date it has worked well. Perhaps a pizza van on the ground may become a regular match day sight even when things ‘get back to normal’?

 

Take care.             

 

June’s  Cricket Quiz

Football and Cricket

[a] England Test cricketer and coach Mickey Stewart played for which London football club?

[b] Which Worcestershire captain witnessed the tragic fire at Bradford City in 1985 which claimed the lives of 56 fans because he was playing for their opponents Lincoln City?

[c] Which cricketer’s last game of football was the 1950 FA Cup Final?

[d] Which footballing brothers played together for Lancashire’s Under 14 team?

[e] Which West Indian great is reported to have played a World Cup qualifier for Antigua in 1974?

[f] Which former England fast bowler became manager of Ashington FC in 2014?

Answers will appear in the next edition.

 

Answers to May’s Cricket Quiz 

Cricket obituaries:-

[a] About which TMS colleague did Jonathan Agnew say, ‘Considering the years he worked as editor of ‘The Cricketer’ magazine, and as correspondent for the BBC twice, the ‘Daily Telegraph’ and ‘The Times’, and 40 years commentating on ‘Test Match Special’ and the many books he wrote, it is doubtful that anyone has contributed more in a lifetime to the overall coverage of cricket …….’? Christopher Martin-Jenkins

[b] Who, said the ‘Guardian’ in 2001, was ‘the greatest cricketer of the 20th century and the greatest batsman who ever lived’?

Sir Donald Bradman

[c] About which fast bowler did Mike Selvey write in 1999, ‘but for the sheer academia of his work, the thought he put into his performance and the skill with which he put thought into practice, no one has surpassed him’? Malcolm Marshall

[d] Who on his death in 2002 was described as certainly the most glamorous and arguably the most gifted of England’s young cricketers? Ben Hollioake

[e] Upon whose death in 2015 was it said, ‘A part of cricket died today’? Richie Benaud

[f] On the death of which fellow Yorkshireman in 2006 did Brian Close say in tribute, ‘I captained many cricketers but none finer’? Fred Trueman

 

  It’s time for a few quotations. Back to one of the basics skills of the game of cricket – Batting.

‘Tha knows one thing I learned about cricket: tha can’t put in what God left out. Tha sees two kinds of cricketers, them that uses a bat as if they are shovelling muck and them that plays proper, and like as not God showed both of ‘em how to play.’

England and Yorkshire all-rounder Wilfred Rhodes in Michael Parkinson’s ‘Cricket Mad’, 1969.

[Wilfred Rhodes was a superb spinner and batsman during the early decades of the 20th Century. He had the then unique distinction of being selected for England to bat at number 11 and then again as an opener. In his later years Wilfred lost his sight but still attended matches at Headingley accompanied by his daughter. Like many blind people he could identify a good stroke by the sound of the ball on the bat. Editor.]   

 

‘Look at Border. He’s scored 10,000 Test runs and he’s only got three shots – the cut, the cover drive and the pull.’

Jack Birkenshaw, Leicestershire manager, admiring the approach of Allan Border, Australian captain and batsman, 1994.

 

‘All I have to do is bowl loopy-doopies to them and they commit suicide.’

Phil Tufnell on West Indies batsmen, 1994.

 

‘There’s nothing we can teach this lad.’

George Hirst, Yorkshire coach, on Len Hutton’s first appearance at county nets, 1930.

 

‘The best technique in the world is no good if you’re backing away to square leg.’

Geoff Boycott, coaching England’s batsmen on attributes they would need in the West Indies, 1989.

 

 ‘It’s hard work making batting look effortless.’

David Gower, England batsman, 1989.

 

‘Well played Dickie lad, but get thee bloody ‘ead down – tha’s in’t second team next week.’

Brian Sellers, Yorkshire’s chairman of selectors, after Dickie Bird’s career-best 181 versus Glamorgan at Bradford Park Avenue. Ken Taylor, an England opener, was available again, so Bird lost his place, 1959.

 

‘No good hitting me there mate, nothing to damage.’

Derek Randall, hit on the head by a ball bowled by Dennis Lillee in the Centenary Test, Melbourne, 1977.

 

 

 

Mike Rogers 

 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

May 2020.

 

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

 

   As I begin this edition the date is April 28th, the weather is ideal for the game of cricket but the prospects of playing or watching the game remain as bleak as they did on April 1st. The Covid-19 virus has left the Club in limbo; no meetings, no nets, no matches and with regard to this edition:- no news about the Club or its members to impart. Therefore this edition promises to be the shortest edition in all the years of ‘Mike’s Muses’. So every cloud has a silver lining eh?

 

    Given the fact that the damned coronavirus has currently taken the lives of almost 30,000 UK residents, speculation as to the when, how or if the 2020 cricket season will commence is a minor consideration. However, for many thousands [millions?] of people of all ages throughout the world the prospect of being able to eventually play or watch cricket has become more than just an ambition. It is the hope of some form of normality returning to their lives. As you will know, the 1st Class game may recommence in July ‘behind closed doors’. What of the recreational game? I have no idea. Our League Executive must follow the guidance of the ECB. The League Exec. often faces criticism, rightly or wrongly. Sometimes, however, the loudest critical voices come from those players and club officials who ‘would not know where to start’. Empty barrels make the most noise and all that. The decision regarding the start or not of this season is a case in point. The League Exec. has, at some time, to make that decision. I know that its members do want to have the League up and running but their hands are tied until the go ahead is given by the Government, the ECB et al. It is a huge responsibility and one which I suggest none of us would relish having to take. Only time will tell if we are to have a 2020 season at all.

 

  It would be remiss of me not to mention the excellent work which has been done on members’ behalf by two long-serving Committee men. I write of Colin McPherson and David Wilkinson. As Club Treasurer Colin has been very active in trimming costs [yes, there are costs even if there is no cricket] and obtaining grants available to clubs such as ours to help us weather the storm of drastically reduced income. David was quick off the mark to liaise with the brewery in order to minimise the possible dire consequences of the Bar closure. Thank you both.

 

  Stay safe. Hopefully there will be better news next month ?????

 

May’s  Cricket Quiz

Cricket obituaries:-

[a] About which TMS colleague did Jonathan Agnew say, ‘Considering the years he worked as editor of ‘The Cricketer’ magazine, and as correspondent for the BBC twice, the ‘Daily Telegraph’ and ‘The Times’, and 40 years commentating on ‘Test Match Special’ and the many books he wrote, it is doubtful that anyone has contributed more in a lifetime to the overall coverage of cricket …….’?

[b] Who, said the ‘Guardian’ in 2001, was ‘the greatest cricketer of the 20th century and the greatest batsman who ever lived’?

[c] About which fast bowler did Mike Selvey write in 1999, ‘but for the sheer academia of his work, the thought he put into his performance and the skill with which he put thought into practice, no one has surpassed him’?

[d] Who on his death in 2002 was described as certainly the most glamorous and arguably the most gifted of England’s young cricketers?

[e] Upon whose death in 2015 was it said, ‘A part of cricket died today’?

[f] On the death of which fellow Yorkshireman in 2006 did Brian Close say in tribute, ‘I captained many cricketers but none finer’?

Answers will appear in the next edition.

 

Answers to April’s Cricket Quiz 

Many England cricketers were born elsewhere. In which country were the following born?

[a] Geraint Jones  Papua New Guinea

[b] Derek Pringle  Kenya

[c] Boyd Rankin  Northern Ireland

[d] Dermot Reeve   Hong Kong

[e] Eoin Morgan   Ireland

[f] Kevin Pietersen    South Africa

 

  It’s time for a few quotations and also the time to rectify an omission. During the past decade of ‘Muses’ numerous quotations have appeared at the end of each edition. Quotations made by or about a number of cricketers, cricket administrators, watchers of and commentators on the great game etc.. One man, however, has barely got a mention. I offer the following, all of which relate to that man…… Don Bradman.

 

‘It is strange, but I think true, that all the time, day and night, somewhere in the world somebody is talking about Bradman.’

Jack Ingham.

 

‘Tell me Mr Ferguson, do you use an adding machine when The Don comes out to bat?’

King George VI’s enquiry of the Australian scorer during the 1948 tour of England.

 

‘Mandela’s first words to me were, “ Fraser, can you please tell me, is Donald Bradman still alive?” ’

Malcolm Fraser, Australian Prime Minister.

 

‘To bat with him was an exercise in embarrassing futility.’

Don Bradman, as seen by his Australian batting partner, Jack Fingleton.

 

‘Bradman is living witness to the very important truth that men are not equal.’

‘Christian Renewal’ magazine.

 

 ‘Pin him down! Of course not! I bowled every ball to get the little devil out.’

Maurice Tate, England bowler, on the futility of bowling to contain Don Bradman.

 

‘The bowler who is confronted by Bradman and doesn’t think doesn’t bowl for long.’

Harold Larwood, England fast bowler in the ‘Bodyline’ series.

 

‘My feet feel tired when I think of him.’

Joe Hardstaff, England batsman, on fielding with Don Bradman at the wicket.

 

‘They said that I was a killer with the ball without taking into account that Bradman with the bat was the greatest killer of all.’

Harold Larwood, reflecting upon ‘Bodyline’.

 

Mike Rogers 

 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

April 2020.

 

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

 

   Regular readers of these epistles will know that I am usually full of the joys of Spring [yes, even I succumb to them on occasion] when I write the April edition. The clocks have changed to bring lighter evenings, the long close-season is nearing its end and the new season is only days away. Great expectations and all that. Not so this time around. Unlike the lady on Stockton High Street [ interviewed on BBC ‘Look North’] ,we all know only too well that the coronavirus pandemic is making dramatic changes to all of our lives and will continue to do so for some time to come. Self-isolation is the new norm. Being flippant for a moment, as a dyed in the wool Leeds United man living among Magpies and Mackems I am used to isolation. Back to reality, it is an extremely serious situation for us all. It will end but there will be tragic consequences along the way. In the great scheme of things our own Club concerns are minor in comparison with the rising death toll and the expected long-term economic implications of the virus. However, those concerns at Club level have to be managed. Indoor pre-season training has stopped, the Bar is closed until further notice and we have no idea if or when the new season will begin. The closure of the Bar has obviously dried up the Club’s major source of income. Thankfully we have an excellent Club Treasurer in Colin McPherson who is exploring various avenues in an attempt to reduce the Club’s on-going costs. Hopefully May’s edition of ‘Muses’ will begin on a lighter note than this one; but don’t count on it.

 

  With regard to the beleaguered First Class game there is talk currently of County Matches and even Test Matches being played behind closed doors. England versus West Indies without spectators! Already the decision has been made to cancel the first seven rounds of the County Championship. The T20 tournament and The Hundred are to take priority. As a lover of the 4-Day game I am tempted to berate those decisions, remembering as I do, that the former 3-Day version of County Championship matches was lengthened by a day with the intention of helping county cricketers prepare to step up to the 5-Day format of Tests. At the time of that change Test Cricket was considered to be the pinnacle of the game. For me it still is. However, these are challenging times. No matter what I or other traditionalists think, the First Class game needs money and lots of it. The short formats bring in the crowds and attract TV monies. The County Championship does not. Frankly it boils down to this sobering fact of life: without the shortened format County Clubs could not exist and the longer formats would vanish.

 

  On a brighter note I was pleased to learn that Janet Bairstow has been elected as Vice-President of Yorkshire CCC. Older readers will remember that Janet is the widow of the superb Yorkshire and England wicket-keeper/batsman David. Younger readers may know that she is the mother of Yorkshire and England wicket-keeper/batsman Jonny. David took his own life at the age of 46, eight years after playing his last match for Yorkshire having played for the White Rose county for twenty years. Apparently he had serious disagreements with the Yorkshire management after his playing days. Therefore I find it reassuring that the present day Tykes’ Committee has seen fit to mark Janet’s contribution to the Club [she has worked as a cricket administrator at Headingley for many years] by electing her to the position of Vice-President; a post she shares with the  Yorkshire stalwart, seam-bowler Mike Cowan. Mike Cowan played for Yorkshire from 1953 to 1962. On his day he was an excellent opening bowler who frequently shared the opening attack with another useful chap, Fred Trueman. Now aged 86 Mike has had to wait a long time for this honour. I know what some readers are wondering, yes I am old enough to have watched him play at Headingley.        

 

  Readers of a certain age will remember with affection former Shotley Bridge CC cricketer Neville Telford whose death at the age of 82 was announced in March. My memories of Neville stem from meetings with him on the cricket field as opponents. Some readers, however, will have had much closer contact with Neville when he taught them at the then Blackfyne Grammar School. Over the years Neville’s name would come into the conversation in the Club Bar, usually over a pint, when the discussion got around to our schooldays. Having spent mine in the West Riding, I could not relate to Neville as a teacher. However, fellow Club members who had been taught by Neville spoke of him in both respectful and affectionate terms. His only ‘failing’ it seemed was his tendency to direct promising young cricketers down to the Spa Grounds and not to Blackfyne. In Neville’s position as a Shotley member we would all have done the same; wouldn’t we?

 

  Back to the coronavirus pandemic. 24-hour news broadcasting keeps us all informed of its consequences. It is essential that we, the public, receive the information. However, am I the only one who is irritated by the incessant use of these two phrases [new to the lexicon] by the experts and non-experts alike:- “ramping up” and “give a shout to”? Are “increasing” and “congratulate” not adequate? Yes, I know, I am just a grumpy old man.         

            

 

April’s  Cricket Quiz

Many England cricketers were born elsewhere. In which country were the following born?

[a] Geraint Jones

[b] Derek Pringle

[c] Boyd Rankin

[d] Dermot Reeve

[e] Eoin Morgan

[f] Kevin Pietersen

Answers will appear in the next edition.

 

Answers to March’s Cricket Quiz 

[a] What was the name of the ground in Hull where Yorkshire played between 1899 to 1974? The Circle, Anlaby Road

[b] True or false? Ben Stokes is related to the famous psychic Doris Stokes.  False

[c] How many feet does the Lords’ slope drop?  8

[d] What was the name of the ground in Southampton where Hampshire played for 105 years? The County Ground

[e] What are the colours of the MCC?   Red and Gold.

[f] Name the stadium which was home to Darlington FC between 1883 and 2003 and also hosted Durham CCC where it was the scene of the county’s first ever County Championship victory in 1992.  Feethams

 

  It’s time for a few quotations. The quotations which appeared in last month’s edition related to the media. Surprise, surprise; so do the following:-

 

‘You write anything bad about me and I’ll come and whack you. It is time someone was sorted out. I’ll start with you. I’ll be checking this out. Be careful.’

Viv Richards to Daily Express columnist James Lawton in the Antigua press box, 1990. Richards missed the start of play to berate Lawson, who recalled the conversation in those words.

 

‘I knew I could never be a ‘real’ newspaper journalist – it was such a difficult job to be hail-fellow-well-met-what’s-yours-old-boy in private life and the next day have to scalpel-slash a reputation in public print.’

Frank Keating in ‘Another Bloody Day in Paradise’, 1981.

 

 

 

 

 

‘They smile and then they stab – and they think the next time they come along for a comment you are going to forget the wounding things they write and obligingly talk to them.’

Geoffrey Boycott, on press behaviour after he was sacked as Yorkshire captain in ‘Put to the Test’, 1979.

 

‘So much of modern sport is spiteful that there is little room for the wry, reflective smile: aggression is the thing, on and off the field, as players glare and gesticulate and the media make mountains from molehills to satisfy producers and editors alike.’

Mark Nicholas, Hampshire captain, 1994.

 

‘When you have to spend the tour in your hotel room so you’re not stitched up, there’s something wrong.’

Ian Botham, England tour of the West Indies, 1986.

 

 ‘I am not talking to anyone in the British media – they are all pricks.’

Allan Border, Australian captain, to Meridian TV’s Geoff Clark, before the tourists’ match against Sussex at Hove, 1993.

 

‘Newspapers are only good enough for wrapping up fish and chips. They are the pits.’

Martin Crowe, New Zealand batsman in ‘The Cricketer’, 1993.

 

‘Why should I buy cricket? Nobody watches it.’

Greg Dyke, chairman of ITV Network Sports Committee, 1988.

 

Mike Rogers 

 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

March 2020.

 

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

 

     No, it’s not a mirage. The long-running saga of the outdoor nets is finally over. They are in situ beside the pavilion. The work was carried out last month by the contractors. However, credit for their installation must go to the Management Committee in general, to the generosity of our sponsors and, in particular to two members of the Committee, Stuart Graham and John Chapman who dealt directly with the contractors. The all-weather nets will be a real boon for the Club. I look forward to seeing them in frequent operation. Monday evening outdoor net practice was, in my playing days, a must. However, there was one significant exception to the number of senior players who practised regularly. I write, of course, of Colin Leedham. Some readers will remember Colin as one of the best opening bowlers in the League. He was not a ‘quickie’, more ‘military medium’ but his mixture of seam and swing ensured that he took a bagful of wickets at a miserly cost season after season in the 1970s. I cannot remember Colin making an appearance at Indoor Nets. He did, however, make an annual appearance at Outdoor Nets. Notice the ‘an’. Colin was wont to turn up at the final session before the season’s start. He never bothered with a track-suit, nothing fancy about Colin. He merely took off his jacket, changed from shoes to cricket boots and made his way to the net. There he bowled half a dozen or so balls, all of them ‘on the spot’, before telling the rest of us that he would see us again on the Saturday. Back in the dressing room he changed his footwear and drove home. Colin was such a natural bowler that we all knew that he would be at his best come Saturday; and he always was. At one time in the 1970s 1st Team opening batsman and Club legend Bert Steward led the practice. He made sure that all participants, and there were many, were engaged thoroughly during the session; either batting, bowling or fielding, often doing all three. I remember telling him on a couple of occasions that I could only stay for an hour due to family commitments. Bert replied that that was OK with him but that I would be pleased to leave after the hour was up. He was true to his word. Having batted and undergone wicket-keeping practice [charging backwards and forwards at a rate of knots to take balls thrown by fielders at a set of stumps] I almost crawled back to the dressing room.  

 

  As I write [in the last week of February] heavy overnight snow has caused havoc in the county and further afield. School and road closures abound. Certainly not cricketing weather. This weather has caused me to look back to the 1960s when I was a mere youth. Some readers may remember that I played junior cricket for Horsforth Hall Park CC, a club in the Airedale & Wharfedale League. Horsforth, now a suburb of Leeds, was then a village in its own right; indeed locals claimed it to be the largest village in England. Although that little titbit of information has nothing to do with the story which follows it may explain why some away fixtures were, for me, voyages of discovery. Lifts by car to the away grounds were scarce i.e. non-existent. We juniors travelled by service bus to clubs such as Rawdon [Brian Close territory], Yeadon, Guiseley [home of Harry Ramsdens], Menston [Yorkshire & England fast bowler Bill Bowes’ home club] and Otley where there were three clubs. The trip to Ilkley entailed a journey by train. A big change to travel arrangement for junior cricket nowadays? We loved it.

 

  The Club’s 1st and 2nd Teams had much longer journeys to make. Occasionally my mate John and I were called up to play for the 2nd Team in league matches. John as a batsman, yours truly as a wicket-keeper. It was always a thrill to play in men’s cricket, a real eye-opener. One of the first 2nd Team matches I took part in was at Skipton. It was a Whit Monday league match. Lifts in cars were, of course, available; no need for buses or trains. We fielded first. I was nonplussed when, after the fall of a couple of Skipton wickets, the incoming batsman made his ungainly way to the wicket wearing only one pad. Standing beside me were two Hall Park veterans who never batted an eyelid at the batsman’s appearance. Having taken guard the batsman faced his first ball and was struck on the unguarded leg. The ball bounced away and the batsman merely walked down the wicket, did ‘a spot of gardening’ and resumed his stance. Our bowler, who safe to say was not of Wes Hall’s pace, still bowled at a fair lick. Yet the batsman had not shown any signs of discomfort; not even rubbing his leg. What was going on? Noticing my obvious puzzlement 1st Slip told me that the leg without the pad was false. The Skipton innings progressed but quick singles were not on the agenda. Unfortunately play was halted when a shower of hail sent the teams scampering back to the sanctuary of the pavilion. In due course the shower of hail turned to snow and the match was abandoned. This decision, of course, meant more time spent in the Bar. John and I had to settle for soft drinks.

 

  That day at Skipton was an education for the pair of us. We appreciated that cricket was a game for everyone, even for players with only one leg. Furthermore, that underpants were available in colours other than white. Eh????? While changing we noticed that one of our team wore blue and white striped boxer shorts. John and I were flabbergasted. We, like the other nine players, were wearing white Y-fronts. Who was this man? To add to our concerns we noticed that, when back in civvies, he was sporting a pink waistcoat/cardigan. PINK!!! Please remember that this was way back in the 1960s. A time when my father warned me to keep away from men who wore suede shoes or who drank lager. Over the course of matches in the 2nd Team we came to realise that our concerns were unfounded and that Trevor [for that was the man’s name] was very much of the heterosexual persuasion. He was just ahead of his time and we were the ones behind the times.    

            

March’s  Cricket Quiz

A mixed bag

[a] What was the name of the ground in Hull where Yorkshire played between 1899 to 1974?

[b] True or false? Ben Stokes is related to the famous psychic Doris Stokes.

[c] How many feet does the Lords’ slope drop?

[d] What was the name of the ground in Southampton where Hampshire played for 105 years?

[e] What are the colours of the MCC?

[f] Name the stadium which was home to Darlington FC between 1883 and 2003 and also hosted Durham CCC where it was the scene of the county’s first ever County Championship victory in 1992.

Answers will appear in the next edition.

 

Answers to February’s Cricket Quiz 

Durham C.C.C.

[a] Which former Northamptonshire and England opener played for Durham between 1992 and 1995? Wayne Larkins

[b] Which other Northamptonshire and England opener was the first director of cricket at Durham and went on to coach the Club?  Geoff Cook

[c] What year did Durham move to the Riverside Ground? 1995

[d] In which year did the Riverside Ground host its first Test Match?  2003

[e] Which bowler in 1996 became the first Durham player to represent England?  Simon Brown

[f] In which year did Durham claim the first of their County Championship titles? 2008

 

  It’s time for a few quotations. Many current international players have voiced their criticism of remarks made about them in the media by former players. Readers of this article will, no doubt, be able to recite a fairly long list of former cricketers who fall into that category. Whether it be in the press, on radio or on television some ex-players are not averse to making negative remarks [not constructive ones] at the expense of the players on the field. Quite rightly, in my opinion, those commentators do in turn receive criticism from the current players of the game. The writers and broadcasters of cricket who have not played the game professionally tend to be wary of making out and out criticism of individuals although some do participate in it and therefore receive the same ire from current professionals. Criticizing the critics is not a new phenomenon, as  demonstrated below:-

 

‘We sincerely hope that in future…… no one will be chosen to represent England except on the understanding that when he becomes a Test Match player he lays aside his pen.’

Editorial in ‘The Times’, 1922.

‘My ghost is writing rubbish.’

England player on West Indies tour, 1986.

 

‘One gets used to the abysmal ignorance of some colleagues, to whom any slip catch has resulted from ‘an outswinger’ and any shot which ends in the third man area is a ‘cut’ .’

Michael Stevenson, returning to teaching, with a sideswipe at his erstwhile colleagues in the press box.

 

‘One old drunk once accused me of not getting into line against Patrick Patterson or Malcolm Marshall in Jamaica. He couldn’t have even got into a straight line walking out to the wicket!’

Graham Gooch, on the gentlemen of the press from ‘Gooch: My Autobiography, 1995.

‘I will never be accepted by the snob press.’

Raymond Illingworth, 1973.

 

 ‘I have grown to trust and like several of the cricket writers. Equally, there are some I trust, but don’t like, others I like but don’t trust and the occasional individual I neither like nor trust.’

Bob Willis in ‘The Captain’s Diary’, 1983.

 

‘I wouldn’t enjoy making my living by criticizing my former colleagues.’

Bob Willis, 1983. Willis went on to be a Sky TV commentator all the same.

British Airways steward,Would you like me to take anything home for you?’ Bob Willis, England captain, ‘Yes, 34 journalists and two camera crews.’

England’s tour of the West Indies, 1986.

 

‘You know three-tenths of seven-eighths of sod all.’

David Bairstow’s opinion of writer David Hopps’s knowledge of cricket as expressed to him in person. Editor:- I have to disagree with ‘Bluey’; most of the quotations used in ‘Muses’ are taken from David Hopps’ book, ‘A Century of Great Cricket Quotes’.  

Mike Rogers 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

February 2020.

 

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

 

   ‘What a difference a day makes’. That sentence, as readers of a certain age will know, is the first line of a popular song made famous by Dinah Washington. For the England cricket team and its followers it is more a case of what a difference a month makes. Last month’s edition began with a report of the Team’s demise in the First Test in South Africa. Since then, of course, a reversal in form, fitness and confidence has seen England run out worthy winners of the series by three matches to one. Unfortunately incidents on the field of play resulted in several players incurring the wrath of the Match Referee and the imposition of sanctions on the miscreants. Fair enough. In the ‘heat of battle’ the individuals overstepped the mark and received their due punishment. [Good job there are no stump microphones in local cricket eh?] However, my concern is not so much about the antics of the players but more of the behaviour of some of the spectators.

 

  As I see it, an attitude of, “I’ve paid to get in/ for my drinks etc. so I can do/say what I want” has grown more and more over the years and not just at sports events. In our own Bar I have heard similar remarks uttered by some drinkers whose, to put it mildly, over exuberance has been admonished. I am not concerned about the goings-on in football aka ‘the opium of the people’. That game, in my opinion, lost its way many years ago. Several years ago I reported that the late great Brian Close [Captain of England and Yorkshire] no longer attended football matches because “spectators don’t know how to behave themselves.” That comment from a man who had played professional sport, cricket and football, himself and who by no means could be described as a shrinking violet. It is our game of cricket that arouses my concern. Readers, who like the writer, have played in front of ‘hostile’ crowds will appreciate that some of that ‘hostility’ has come to the fore because of actions by the opposition on the field. In most case that hostility was understandable, anticipated and grudgingly accepted. What are not acceptable are personal comments. Back to the 4th South Africa v England Test last month. Ben Stokes was fined 15% of his match fee because of his obscene reply to the verbal abuse he received from a South African supporter as he left the field. Yes, he deserved the punishment. In a perfect world he would have kept his head down and his thoughts to himself. It is not, however, a perfect world and, as cricketers know, the long walk back to the pavilion after being dismissed for a small score is not the best time in a cricketer’s life. But what about the spectator? What gave him the right to shout abuse directly at Stokes in the first place? Furthermore, what sanction was imposed on him? Just because he had bought a ticket should not give him the right to behave as he did. Returning to Brian Close; the guilty spectator in Johannesburg can count himself lucky that he was born when he was and was not a contemporary of Closey who famously [or infamously] punched a Warwickshire member at Edgbaston. Brian was then captain of Yorkshire. As his side was leaving the field at the end of the day’s play Closey was accosted by the spectator who vigorously accused him of time-wasting and cheating. A cheat he was not so Brian settled the matter by punching said spectator. Although Closey denied punching the man, the Test & County Cricket Board decided differently and relieved him of the England captaincy. A big mistake by Closey and by the T&CCB. As commented above, Brian Close was never a shrinking violet.

      

  At the time of writing [very late January] the Club’s U.11s have had two indoor training sessions at Consett Sports Centre. Information received is that numbers are very good. The Senior Indoor Nets are just around the corner and will take place at the Riverside. The facilities at Durham CCC are excellent. Good light, surface and background. A far cry from those experienced by the seniors of my generation. The Club’s Senior Indoor Nets were staged in Consett Sports Centre on Sunday mornings. Yes there were cricket nets and the surface, as I recall, was true but the background was, for we colour-blind folks, terrible. Red brick walls! White cricket balls, of course, had not been thought of then. White hockey balls? Yes. White cricket balls? A figment of nobody’s imagination. Facing a red cricket ball delivered from a red background made batting or keeping wicket in the net ‘very interesting’. You are correct, I was not a lover of Indoor Nets. My detestation of them heightened when close to the start of one particular season I broke a finger keeping wicket in the Indoor Nets. Pride might lead me to blame the background for the injury. However, I have to admit that it was down to sheer carelessness. Another fortnight wearing a splint and nobody to blame but myself. Hopefully the Club’s current crop of seniors will enjoy their sessions at the Riverside and, tempting fate here I know, not pick up any injuries.       

 

February’s  Cricket Quiz

Durham C.C.C.

[a] Which former Northamptonshire and England opener played for Durham between 1992 and 1995?

[b] Which other Northamptonshire and England opener was the first director of cricket at Durham and went on to coach the Club?

[c] What year did Durham move to the Riverside Ground?

[d] In which year did the Riverside Ground host its first Test Match?

[e] Which bowler in 1996 became the first Durham player to represent England?

[f] In which year did Durham claim the first of their County Championship titles?

Answers will appear in the next edition.

 

Answers to January’s Cricket Quiz 

Durham C.C.C.

[a] In the 1973 Gillette Cup Durham became the first minor county to beat a first-class side. Who? Yorkshire

[b] When did Durham join the County Championship?  1992

[c] Which ground hosted their first ever county match against Leicestershire in April of that year? The Racecourse Ground [Durham]

[d] Who was their captain that year? David Graveney

[e] Which Test Match Special commentator played for Durham that year taking 34 wickets at 49.17 apiece? Simon Hughes

[f] Which Australian batsman topped Durham’s batting averages that year?  Dean Jones

 

  It’s time for a few quotations. As I write this edition England are on tour in South Africa. The following quotations relate to past cricket tours.

 

‘If you get one F, give two Fs back.’

Advice given by Mumtaz Yusuf, manager of Sri Lanka A, to his players in a testy series against England’s A tourists, 1991.

 

‘If we have appeared to have batted in a hurry, it is because the batsmen want to make the most of their short stay before the umpires do them in.’

Bandula Warnapura, Sri Lankan team manager, excusing a heavy Test series defeat in India, 1994.

 

 

‘We didn’t tell them about the country or its culture. It’s not fair on them. We have a responsibility to make them better people.’

Lord MacLaurin, broadening England’s horizons after the tour of Zimbabwe, 1997.

 

‘We’re professional sportsmen, we can’t get drunk every night. We’ve had up to 12 of us playing Balderdash, laughing and joking for hours. We’ve had a grand time.’

David Lloyd, England coach, defending his squad against accusations of unsociability, tour of Zimbabwe, 1996.

 

 

‘We murdered ’em. We got on top and steamrollered ’em. We have flippin’ hammered ’em. One more ball and we’d have walked it. We murdered ’em and they know it. To work so hard and get so close, there is no praise too high. We have had some stick off your lads. We flippin’ hammered ’em.’

David Lloyd, in a state of agitation, after England failed by one run to beat Zimbabwe in the Bulawayo Test, 1996. The final hour was characterized by persistently wide bowling which remained unpunished by the umpires.

 

Wanted

David Lloyd

For Murder of Zim Cricket team

Last seen with his finger up his nose

Talking complete bollocks

He knows it and we know it

Anti-Lloyd banner at the following Test in Harare, 1996.

 

‘Up, breakfast, stretch, practice, play, bathe, bar, steak, bed. Same company, day in, day out.’

Ian Botham, on the boredom of touring in ‘It sort of clicks’, by Ian Botham and Peter Roebuck, 1986.

 

 

Mike Rogers 

 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

January 2020.

 

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

 

   A Happy New Year! I trust that you were able to celebrate Christmas and the beginning of 2020 as you wished. Did you eat/drink/spend too much? Whatever you did I hope that you enjoyed yourself.

 

   For we cricket-lovers the last days of 2019 proved disappointing. I write, of course, of England’s demise in South Africa. Beaten out of sight by a revitalised Springbok team, Joe Root and his side will no doubt be hoping that they have seen the last of the mystery bug which laid low several of the squad and that lessons have been learnt from their performance in the 1st Test. Some readers may have reflected, as I did, upon the situation a generation or two ago when the prospects of an official England team touring South Africa ever again was remote. I write of the Apartheid years. Other, younger, readers will be wondering what I am ‘going on’ about. For those readers who fall into the latter category let me explain. For most of the 20th century [and for many years before that] South Africa’s minority white population ruled over the whole country. The black population heavily outnumbered the white ‘in-comers’ but had no say in the ways in which the country was governed. Segregation was the norm. This segregation of blacks and whites [known as Apartheid] covered political representation, housing, education, employment, marriage, entertainment and even sport. Everything. Atrocities were committed by both white and black inhabitants, some of which made the headlines in the world wide media [press, TV and radio]. People in the UK knew a little of the happenings in South Africa but, for the most, decided that although it was ‘a shame’, there was nothing that they ‘could do about it.’ Things were to change. Activists in the UK determined that they would do something about it. South Africa was a sports-loving country. At that particular time [1960s] South Africa’s cricket and rugby union teams were just about the best in the world. Of course, because of Apartheid, they were all-white sides. The activists’ protests at cricket and rugby matches and their threats to disrupt further tours by all-white South African teams to the UK had the desired effect. Apartheid became top of the political agenda leading, in due course, to trade sanctions and the curtailment of sporting links. The scheduled tour of England in 1970 by the South African cricket team was called off and replaced by a series of England v Rest of the World matches. I was fortunate to see a day’s play at Headingley of one of these five-day matches. Playing for the Rest of the World side were South Africans Eddie Barlow, Barry Richards, Graeme Pollock and Mike Procter; a quartet of cricketers at the height of their powers who would never play Test cricket again. It would take another twenty-five years or so before South Africa would be re-admitted into international sport by which time ‘rebel’ Nelson Mandela had been released from prison and democracy had been established in that country. History lesson over, but a cause for thought? 

 

  Well it’s not been twenty-five years since I last visited Seaton Burn’s Front Street ground but it seems like a very long time ago. Following that club’s promotion from Division 2 it will be a pleasure to re-visit that ground when the Club renews competition  with the Northumbrian side this coming season. Its slope does not make that ground the easiest to play on whether batting, bowling or keeping wicket. However, in my playing days we tended to enjoy our matches there and not just because we usually won. The Seaton Burn lads were a good lot, playing the game in the right spirit and showing us good hospitality after matches. They had some good players too with perhaps opening batsman David Smart and wicket-keeper/batsman Kevin Corby  outstanding amongst them. Between the cricket field and the main road [the old A1] were two buildings of interest. Beside the road was the Drift Inn where we enjoyed a drink or two after the match. [The Cricket Club’s bar had been closed by the authorities through no fault of the Cricket Club but through that of the Sunday morning whippet club; the bar being part of the pavilion owned by the Welfare Club. That was the story anyhow.] The pub was demolished years ago. However, I will be curious to see if another building, a bungalow, is still in situ at the top end of the ground. It may have been during the long, hot summer of 1976 when this event occurred. Whether or not it was 1976 is immaterial; it was still extremely hot. Said bungalow had the benefit of a large garden, ideal for sun-bathing. One of the bungalow’s occupants, an attractive young lady, had decided to make the most of the sunny weather by sun-bathing in the garden clad only in her bikini. A fact that did not go unnoticed by cricketers and spectators alike. Suffice to comment that concentration [on the game] proved difficult.

 

  Sadly, like some readers, I am now of an age when I could attend a funeral of a friend or acquaintance, just about every week, certainly every month. A couple of days before Christmas Day, in the company of former 1st Team captain Tommy Nichol, I attended the funeral of former Greenside cricketer Alan Smith at St. John’s Church, Greenside. I knew Alan as an excellent lively opening bowler and a hard-hitting lower order batsman [if given the chance to bat in a strong batting line-up]. I remembered him also for his sportsmanship. He was one of three Greenside players who came into our dressing room to congratulate us when we had beaten them for the first time in many years. This was towards the end of their long dominance of the Tyneside Senior League and the beginning of the Club’s. If my memory serves me well the other two players offering their congratulations that evening  were pro Bill Jones and wicket-keeper extraordinaire Bill Hammond. Another member of the Greenside team of that era was Alan Clark. It was Alan, a long-term friend, who gave the eulogy at the funeral. Comprehensive and witty it was with many a tale of Alan’s sporting prowess [cricket, football, golf], his careers as initially a mining electrician and later a policeman, his holidays with family and friends and of his love of his wife and family. It was one of those services when I left knowing so much more about a figure from my past. Still in the present were former cricketing opponents Micky Ingoe and Peter Carroll [both former Blaydon players], Ernie Bewick and David Carrick [Greenside], and Jimmy Anderson [Shotley Bridge] with whom Tommy and I ‘went down memory lane’ after the service.               

         

December’s  Cricket Quiz

Durham C.C.C.

[a] In the 1973 Gillette Cup Durham became the first minor county to beat a first-class side. Who?

[b] When did Durham join the County Championship?

[c] Which ground hosted their first ever county match against Leicestershire in April of that year?

[d] Who was their captain that year?

[e] Which Test Match Special commentator played for Durham that year taking 34 wickets at 49.17 apiece?

[f] Which Australian batsman topped Durham’s batting averages that year? 

 

Answers will appear in the next edition.

 

Answers to December’s Cricket Quiz

Fred Trueman.

[a] What was Fred Trueman’s middle name? Sewards

[b] What was Trueman’s nickname? Fiery Fred

[c] In 1952 he made his Test debut against which nation? India

[d] Which county colleague was Trueman’s first England captain? Len Hutton

[e] With which other fast bowler did Trueman form a fruitful and lasting opening partnership for England? Brian Statham

[f] Who, in 1964, caught Neil Hawke to make Trueman the first bowler to take 300 Test wickets? Colin Cowdrey

 

 

  It’s time for a few quotations. As reported in December’s edition the Club will have two new captains this year:- Jonny Bradley will lead the 2nd Team and Mark Roe the Academicals. With this in mind I offer the following on the subject of Captaincy.

 

‘Captaincy seems to involve half-hearing conversations which you’d rather not hear at all .’

Peter Roebuck, Somerset batsman and captain in ‘It never rains’, 1984.

 

‘Captaincy means more than vigorous arm-waving.’

David Gower,1986.

 

‘Captaincy is ninety per cent luck and ten per cent skill. But don’t try it without that ten per cent.’

Richie Benaud, Australian captain.

 

‘England may have had worse captains, but I’d be hard pushed to name two or three.’

Alan Gibson, in ‘The Times’, on the centenary of A.C.MacLaren’s birth, 1971.

 

‘A public relations officer, agricultural consultant, psychiatrist, accountant, nursemaid and diplomat.’

D.J.Insole’s definition of a captain’s duties.

 

‘It is easier for a football manager to ‘play God’, to read the riot act to the players, because he doesn’t have to perform himself. Sales managers don’t sell, foremen don’t hump bricks. All cricket captains bat and field, and some bowl. We receive repeated intimations of our own fallibility.’

Mike Brearley in ‘The Art of Captaincy’,1985.

 

‘Captaincy is the ability to think ahead of play, not to be left responding to it.’

Richie Benaud.

 

‘One of you bugger off and the rest scatter.’

Keith Miller, captaining New South Wales, when told that he had twelve players on the field.  

 

‘You’ll have the most miserable time of your life.’

Brian Close’s warning to Ian Botham about the potential effect of the England captaincy, 1980.

 

 

 

Mike Rogers 

 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

December 2019.

 

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

 

  If Autumn be ‘the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ [according to the poet, John Keats], then for this Club Secretary, November is certainly the season of Annual General Meetings. The Club’s AGM was held on Monday 11th and the League’s AGM on the 28th. Good attendance is guaranteed at League AGMs due to statutory fines being imposed on non-attending clubs. However, without the need for such a sanction the Club’s AGM attracted twenty-one members, a good turn-out. Should you, dear reader, wish to trawl through the minutes of that meeting, I will be delighted to furnish you with a copy. No thanks? I thought not. In short, Club Officer reports were delivered, elections were held and the subscriptions were unchanged. Both 2nd Team Captain Stephen Turnbull and Academicals Captain Ian Atkinson did not stand for re-election as a result of which Jonny Bradley and Mark Roe were elected to lead the 2nds and Academicals sides respectively in season 2020. To conclude my Secretary’s Report I informed the meeting of my intention to retire from that post before the 2020 AGM. This announcement was greeted with silence. Surely because it was a surprise or was it because of indifference? Hopefully the reason was quite simple. I had informed the Management Committee of my decision prior to the AGM and the  majority of the twenty-one present were members of that Committee.

 

  The League’s AGM was held at Blue Flames C.C. in Benton. Despite the threat of the sanction for non-attendance mentioned above, several clubs were not represented. The AGM itself took only thirty-five minutes. Highlights of the meeting? None really. Pre-circulated reports from League officers went through with few questions ‘from the floor’. Motions proposed by the League Executive included among others ones to speed up over-rates and avoid the abuse by some clubs of conceding 1st Team matches before filling their 2nd Teams with regular 1st Team players. Life Membership of the League was bestowed upon Aidan Berry [Reyrolle CC] and Gary Cant [Tynedale CC] for their service to the current Northumberland &Tyneside Cricket League and to its predecessors. Our own Colin McPherson was re-elected as Honorary Auditor. For readers who have not visited the Blue Flames complex, a warning. The centre itself is huge with several activities occurring simultaneously i.e it can be very busy. Although there are car-parking spaces for more than a hundred cars, it took five minutes or longer before we found one despite arriving twenty minutes before the start of the meeting. The ‘we’ were former Club Chairman Peter Stoddart, present Club Chairman Alan Waters and yours truly. I was very grateful to Peter for driving through the heavy inner city traffic. Thinking back to the speeding up of over rates, why do we still endure the nonsense and inevitable time-wasting of the batting side rather than the fielding side having to move the sightscreens?   

 

  Several members were kind enough to support last month’s Consett Lions Club’s Annual Town Raffle by buying tickets. A few years ago Club member Andrew Cox bought tickets in the Raffle and won the first prize of £500!!! Since then some Club members have been lucky and won prizes. [‘Lucky’ is certainly the word given that about 4,000 tickets are sold annually.]  This year Judith Williamson won a Roberts clock radio and 1st Team Captain Stuart Graham won perfume. You can imagine Stuart’s reaction on hearing of his prize !!!!  Yes, he was thrilled. The Club received back 70% of its ticket sales. If you missed out this year there will be another chance next year.

 

  As is my wont I have made visits to Corbridge and Swalwell in recent weeks to watch the exploits of Tynedale RUFC and Blaydon RUFC respectively. Trips to watch Blaydon are not the same since the passing of Derek Murray earlier this year. A stalwart of both Blaydon Rugby and Cricket Clubs, Derek never missed a home match. We often enjoyed a half-time chat about the match and cricket matters past and present. While  Division 1 North Tynedale may offer a higher standard of rugby than the lower Division Blaydon, there is a good chance that spectators will not be able to see it clearly. An exaggeration I know but on my last visit the second half of the match against Sheffield Tigers was played in almost darkness. The match kicked off at 2.15 p.m. in gloom. By 3 o’clock wearers of glow in the dark watches were certainly at an advantage. If ever floodlights were needed then was the time. Apparently the lights which border one side of the pitch are used only for training sessions. Blaydon, on the other hand, enjoy the benefit of working floodlights and an electronic scoreboard to boot. However, the seats in the Blaydon stand are reminiscent of the uncomfortable benches on which my delicate bottom was placed hour after hour at Headingley while I was watching Yorkshire or England. At least at Headingley a small investment would provide the relief of a cushion! Returning to Blaydon’s electronic scoreboard, at the last home match said scoreboard proclaimed that the visitors were ILLKLEY. The sheep on Ilkley Moor would not have been impressed by that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

         

December’s  Cricket Quiz

Fred Trueman.

[a] What was Fred Trueman’s middle name?

[b] What was Trueman’s nickname?

[c] In 1952 he made his Test debut against which nation?

[d] Which county colleague was Trueman’s first England captain?

[e] With which other fast bowler did Trueman form a fruitful and lasting opening partnership for England?

[f] Who, in 1964, caught Neil Hawke to make Trueman the first bowler to take 300 Test wickets?

Answers will appear in the next edition.

 

Answers to November’s Cricket Quiz

Famous batsmen past and present.

[a] In which Yorkshire town was Len Hutton born? Pudsey

[b] Name the bowler Gary Sobers hit for six sixes in one over for Nottinghamshire in 1968? Malcolm Nash

[c] What is David Gower’s middle name? Ivon

[d] Graham Gooch became the 17th player in Test history to do what on his Test debut v Australia in 1975? He bagged a pair.

[e] What was former Yorkshire and England captain Brian Close’s first name? Dennis

[f] Which English county did New Zealand opener Glenn Turner play for? Worcestershire

 

  It’s time for a few quotations. Women’s cricket has progressed in leaps and bounds during the past twenty years or so. Clubs have been encouraged to join the advance of the game by fielding female teams. Many clubs now do just that. The cynic within me prompts me to suggest that such action may not be totally altruistic. Applications for grants for girls’ and women’s cricket tend to be looked upon most kindly by the givers of grants. However, in the long run widening the range of participants within our game must be a good thing. Of course, as some of the quotations below reveal, the prospect of women playing cricket seriously has not always met with whole-hearted approval.

For those readers of a nervous disposition please note that not all of the following quotations are ‘politically correct’. I offer ‘The Gentler Sex’:-

 

‘Pitches are like wives – you can never tell how they’re going to turn out .’

Len Hutton, explaining why he put Australia in to bat at Brisbane, MCC tour, 1954/5.

 

‘If  possible tour with a bachelor team or a side of ‘grass-widowers’. Ten out of eleven women care very little for cricket for cricket’s sake, and though from the goodness of their hearts they insist on coming to the grounds and sitting through the weary hours till at length they grow tired, restless, fretful, it would be kinder to all concerned, and less like cruelty to animals, to leave them quietly at home.’

DLA Jephson, on club tours.

 

‘We are told that the speaker joined the club as Mr. K.Hull.’

Bob Bennett, Lancashire chairman, explaining to the 1989 AGM how the county’s first woman member, Stephanie Lloyd, had sneaked in by virtue of a sex-change operation.

 

‘We want our good dykes on board so that we can get more lottery money.’

Tim Lamb, ECB chief executive, categorically denied ever saying this. But Theresa Harrild, a former Lord’s receptionist, made the claim anyway while winning a sexual discrimination case at an industrial tribunal. Harrild claimed that she had been pressed to have an abortion after becoming pregnant in an affair with a member of the ECB staff, 1998.

 

‘My friend Imran Khan, who is a famous cricketer and a very popular man with the ladies, has bodyguards outside his room, warding women off. I have guys warding them in’

Zia Mahmood, who chose bridge instead, 1990.

 

‘If it is embarrassing then it is wrong. But if it is private, and hopefully delightful, then what could be better – even in the middle of a Test Match?’

Ted Dexter, a month before his appointment as Chairman of the England committee, on players’ nocturnal activities, in the wake of the Mike Gatting barmaid affair, 1989.

 

‘I don’t want to see knitting needles in the pavilion.’

Martin Wood, MCC member, on the club’s vote to continue banning women from membership.

 

‘The days of women’s cricket being seen as a knicker parade must be over.’

Rachel Heyhoe-Flint, recalling when Lord’s hosted the 1976 women’s international between England and Australia in ‘My Lord’s’, edited by Tim Heald, 1990.  

 

‘The authorities should consider that a cricketer is more likely to have a proper night’s sleep with his wife in bed beside him, rather than with a temporary stand-in and all the parallel gymnastics that would follow.’

Lindsay Lamb, in ‘Allan Lamb, My Autobiography’, 1996.

 

Finally, best wishes for an enjoyable Festive Season. ‘Muses’ will be back in the new year.

 

Mike Rogers 

 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

November 2019.

 

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

 

  Silverware at last!!! Although the 1st Team’s victory over Lanchester CC in the final of the Eric Topham Trophy was back in September, I choose to begin this edition with that particular piece of good news if for no other purpose than to have the achievement recorded in the annals of the Club. Thanks to the generosity of Eric’s widow, Joan, the Club has been able to hold the competition for several years. 2019, however, is the first time that the Club has won its ‘own’ cup. Excellent performances with bat, ball and ‘in the field’ resulted in a thoroughly deserved and comprehensive victory. Well done to all who played in the Final and in the earlier rounds.

 

  The cup win was certainly the highlight of a season of mixed fortunes for the senior sides. With the Club AGM fast approaching [Mon. 11th November] yours truly is busy compiling the Secretary’s Report for that meeting. Yes, while there have been notable League and Cup performances, there have also been several which have been unwelcome. If one word epitomises the problem I suggest that it is ‘commitment’ or more correctly the lack of it. Too often the unavailability of players for Saturday League matches has resulted in weakened teams at 1st and 2nd Team level. Too often batsmen have got themselves out by choosing to play reckless strokes instead of ‘playing themselves in’. I am told that ‘bullying’ the bowler is the modern way. Silly me, I thought that getting as many runs as possible without getting out was the way, whether now, in the past or in the future. Batting has definitely not been the major strength of the senior sides this past season. So much so that I have lowered the qualifying number of runs scored for the purpose of Club Averages. Anyone who has played on our ground will know that there are plenty of singles, twos and threes to be found on it. Not every ball has to be smashed to the boundary for a good total to be made.

 

  The annual Senior Presentation Evening took place in October. A packed Bar ensured that the event was both memorable and financially rewarding.  Messrs. Graham, Turnbull and Atkinson gave their reports of the exploits of the 1st, 2nd and Academicals Team respectively. Prizes were presented by Club President Gordon Hunter to 1st Team Player of the Year [POY] Callan McCabe, 2nd Team POY Simon Wilkinson, Academicals Team POY Ellis Moore, Colin Leedham Trophy [leading 1st Team wicket-taker] winner Stuart Graham and the Joan Topham Trophy [leading 2nd Team wicket-taker] winner Stephen Turnbull. The Phil Williamson Trophy [Senior Batting performance] was presented to Callan McCabe by Phil’s son Neil. Both Callan and Simon were unable to attend the presentation and their trophies were accepted by fathers Dominic and David respectively. By tradition the winner of the Gus Robinson Rose-bowl [Club member of the Year] is chosen by the Club Chairman. This year Alan presented it to 1st Team Scorer Phillip Hunter. Quite rightly too. Phil is ever present in score-boxes throughout the League recording the ups and downs of the team. Anyone who believes that scoring is an easy job should try it. I know that they will find that it is not as simple as they believe. To do it properly is akin to the old time stage act of plate spinning; several things to do at the same time. In addition to his recording skills, Phil is also a bit of a fortune teller. During a match his voice may be heard predicting, “ We should have got 30 more.” “They’ve got too many.” Etc., etc.. He is usually right too! Those readers of a certain age will remember another fortune teller who inhabited Blackfyne. I write of the late Frank Somerville. Frank’s ‘partner in crime’ was Frank Gardiner. Together the Two Frankies followed the 1st Team home and away back in the days when I was playing for the 1st Team [and for many years before that]. They were very fair ‘critics’ who had the good of the Club at heart having both played for it in earlier years. Frankie Somerville was a master of multi-tasking before that term was ever coined. He would watch the match with a cigarette in one hand and a transistor radio pressed to his ear in the other, his morning newspaper stuffed in his jacket pocket. The transistor radio? Frank loved horse racing. More precisely he loved betting on horse races. The radio was there to tell him the results of the races. If we were walking around the ground waiting to bat or having already been dismissed the Frankies were never backward in coming forward to give their opinion and/or prediction of the state of the game. Always fair and seldom wrong. Nowadays, of course, the writer himself is classed as one of the ‘critics’ along with Messrs.  Chapman, Graham [G], Graham [D], Greenwell, Horn, Hunter [G] and Nichol. I hope that we, too, are fair. I know that we are sometimes wrong.

 

  Regular readers will know that October’s edition was not written due to my being on holiday in Minorca. Yes, it went very well. Great weather, good food, enough to drink and picturesque surroundings. The lady wife and I enjoy the peace and quiet [it’s there if you want it] that the hotel and resort offers. The hotel is occupied habitually by holidaymakers of the ‘more mature’ age in late September and throughout October. However, the peace and quiet were shattered one afternoon when a group of new arrivals made their presence felt in and out of the pool. Encouraged by each other and by adoring middle-aged females, the group of men in their 20s and 30s entertained their admirers with their lager-fueled antics for half an hour before, to the relief of the ‘more mature’, order was re-established by the gentle words of a pool attendant. Who were these interlopers? A touring cricket team! Apparently this team from the Isle of Wight was in Minorca to play against local sides. Thankfully their stay was short, only a matter of four days or so. How did they get on against local opposition? I never bothered to find out. All that I will add is that on their return from the matches they were very quiet.

 

  Hot off the presses:- the Club now has a new official Club Tie. Thanks must go to Stephen Turnbull for pursuing the idea. Now please do not take my word for it, [I am colour blind as some of you know] but the new tie features bold diagonal stripes of maroon and gold. It replaces the one designed by your truly back in the 1970s which was a more sober affair altogether.   

         

   November’s  Cricket Quiz

Famous batsmen past and present.

[a] In which Yorkshire town was Len Hutton born?

[b] Name the bowler Gary Sobers hit for six sixes in one over for Nottinghamshire in 1968?

[c] What is David Gower’s middle name?

[d] Graham Gooch became the 17th player in Test history to do what on his Test debut v Australia in 1975?

[e] What was former Yorkshire and England captain Brian Close’s first name?

[f] Which English county did New Zealand opener Glenn Turner play for?

Answers will appear in the next edition.

 

Answers to September’s Cricket Quiz

Name the English county cricket sides for which the following mainly played:-

 [a] Derek Randall    Nottinghamshire

[b] Colin Cowdrey    Kent

[c] Ted Dexter               Sussex

[d] Basil D’Oliveira     Worcestershire

[e] Kim Barnett      Derbyshire

[f] Jim Laker           Surrey

 

  For the past two editions readers have been given the opportunity to enjoy some poetry which had a cricketing theme. Now, I deem it is time to revert to some quotations. Given the fact that politics [in the shape of Brexit] has dominated the news for more than three years [and may continue to do so for years to come] this month’s offerings are on the theme of politics and politicians:-

 

‘Private enterprise in cricket might not be regarded as the last word, and ultimate State direction would not do it any harm.’

Manny Shinwell, Easington’s Labour MP, proposing nationalization to solve English cricket’s problems, 1950.

 

‘At home and abroad, in politics and sport, Britain will do better without the Tories and their friends of the MCC. Twenty years ago Tribune first made the demand that the MCC should be nationalized. Now everyone can see the wisdom of our policy.’

Michael Foot, Labour MP, in ‘Tribune’ after a poor start to MCC’s tour of Australia, 1958/9.

 

‘If there were a revolution in this country, I’d now be in the first 10,000 to the guillotine.’

John Warr, elected MCC President in 1987.

 

‘There was a social prejudice against the scorer who was a direct descendant of the baggage man.’

Viv Isaacs, Hampshire scorer and statistician.

 

‘When we gave your association our blessing we didn’t expect it to be militant.’

Tim Lamb, TCCB cricket committee chairman, to Ted Lester, chairman of the Association of County cricket Scorers, 1995. The loud protest of the scorers over the appointment of scorers on England tours surprised everyone.

 

‘He revolted against the revolting contrast between his first-class status as a cricketer and his third-class status as a man.’

CLR James, on the great West Indian Learie Constantine in ‘Beyond a Boundary’, 1947.

 

‘THATCHER OUT lbw Alderman 0.’

Graffiti in a London public toilet, Ashes tour, 1989.

 

‘There will be no stonewalling, no ducking the bouncers, no playing for time. The bowling’s going to be hit all around the ground.’

Margaret Thatcher at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, warning off potential challengers for the Conservative leadership. Only 16 days later Michael Heseltine had bowled the maiden over, but John Major was Prime Minister, 1990.  

 

Mike Rogers 

 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

September 2019.

 

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

 

  As I begin this epistle the season is drawing to its close. Only three Saturday League matches remain. As a rule at this time I look back to the highlights of the season. However, because of the frequency of rain affected matches I am finding it difficult to do so. A season which began so well with the 1st Team’s away match victory at Alnmouth & Lesbury played in the sun with approximately 500 runs scored, quickly descended into one of, ‘Will the match be on?’ Some readers will know what I mean when I write that it was a season which was ‘hard to get into’. When the weather gods decided that games could go ahead the senior teams experienced mixed fortunes. See the Club’s website for the details. However, there have been some outstanding individual performances to even out those of a lesser quality. Spirits within the Club were lifted by the 1st Team’s progression to the League Cup Final played last month at Blackfyne against Newcastle City CC. An apparently unlikely victory over semi-final opponents Tynedale CC earlier in the same month led some of the Blackfyne faithful to believe that our name was on the cup. Needing 8 runs to win from the last 2 balls of that match, victory seemed a distant prospect. Lower-order batsman Daniel Pyke, however, had different ideas. Dan smashed the first of the two balls over long on’s head for 6 before taking a single off the final ball to tie the match and thereby secure victory by virtue of the Club losing fewer wickets than Tynedale. Yes, it could well be our year for some silverware. Of course it was not meant to be. Lusty hitting by Newcastle’s lower order resulted in a total which the Club could not match despite a fruitful partnership between the McCabe brothers, Callum and Aaron. We will have to wait a little while longer for another chance to lift a trophy. But not for too long. The Club will face Lanchester CC in the Eric Topham Cup Final to be played at Blackfyne this month on a date to be arranged.

 

  The League Cup Final coincided with the conclusion of the Headingley Ashes Test and the incredible innings played by Ben Stokes. In my opinion [no doubt shared with millions of others] England had no chance of getting the record total needed to win. Therefore I remained outside in the sunshine glued to the Cup Final. Meanwhile the Bar was full of men [and some women] watching the Test on TV. Apparently for some it was similar to spectating a tennis match, heads turning from the TV and then to the field as the matches unfurled. We ‘outsiders’ were kept informed of the progress in Leeds by shouts of, “They only need 19… 12… 7 etc.!” I have to admit that my adherence to the Cup Final was losing its stick-ability at this juncture. Nevertheless I contented myself by watching the Test highlights later that day. What a terrific innings by Stokes and well played Jack Leach who must have felt like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. [Haven’t I written in previous editions that every player in a team has a part to play?]  

 

  The TV highlights of the Headingley Test showed me how much the ground had changed since I first set foot on it back in the 1950s. Readers may recall mention of my visits to the Headingly Grounds [as they were then known] when my father was the scorer of Leeds CC whose ‘home’ was Headingley. Matches then were played in front of a hundred or so spectators and featured aspiring Yorkshire players such as a 17 year-old Jimmy Binks, players who ‘nearly made’ the Yorkshire ranks and, on occasions, Yorkshire CCC players who were ‘coming back from injury’. It made no difference to this 5 year-old. To me they were all stars. Just imagine a hundred or so spectators in the vast stadium!! The spectators took the best seats behind the bowler’s arm either at the Football Stand end [officially the St.Michael’s Lane end] or the Kirkstall Lane* end. The wooden benches of the famous [or should it be infamous?] Western Terraces were always deserted. Plenty of room then to roam about on if I was released from the score-box. Sometimes I found fellow young Tykes with whom I could play cricket on the thoroughfare behind the Western Terraces**. Occasionally my father would give me a coin or two to buy a sandwich and a bottle of pop from the tea bar situated in the bowels of the Football Stand. He, of course, was having tea with the players in the Pavilion. I knew my place. A great day out with the joys of ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ still to come !!!

* Michael Vaughan should have known better when, during the Headingley Test, he described a bowler ‘coming in from the Kirkstall Road end’. Kirkstall Road is approximately a mile from Kirkstall Lane and in a different direction altogether. A hell of a long run up for any bowler. Pedantic of me I know, but that is one of my charms. ** The Western Terraces were always referred to as the ‘popular side’ possibly because it was the cheapest area in which to sit. The benches were, after an hour or so, very uncomfortable to sit on. [Oh! The relief of standing up to applaud a fifty or a century; in fact to applaud anything.]  The 3d or 6d [I forget which] spent on hiring a cushion for the day was money well spent.

 

  Blackhill Baptist Church was filled to capacity with mourners for the funeral service of Mrs. Agnes Chapman early last month with several Club members and wives in attendance. The large attendance for the funeral of a lady of 92 years was testament itself to the respect in which Agnes was held.

 

  Better news of Mick Grieves and David Graham. Mick is finally back at home after more than fifty days in hospital. David is recovering slowly but surely and even enjoyed an hour or so of the 1st Team’s win at Annfield Plain last month. One step at a time for both valued members I suppose.

 

  N.B. This edition will be the last one  …………… until November’s. Nothing sinister. I’m not hanging up my computer ‘mouse’. Just going away on holiday for a couple of weeks. I know that you will miss me ????

 

  September’s  Cricket Quiz

Name the English county cricket sides for which the following mainly played:-

[a] Derek Randall

[b] Colin Cowdrey

[c] Ted Dexter

[d] Basil D’Oliveira

[e] Kim Barnett

[f] Jim Laker

Answers will appear in the next edition.

 

Answers to August’s Cricket Quiz

Name the English county cricket sides for which the following mainly played:-

[a] Leonard Hutton      Yorkshire

[b]Wally Hammond     Gloucestershire

[c] Harold Larwood     Nottinghamshire

[d] Asif Iqbal            Kent

[e] Shane Warne       Hampshire

[f] Richie Richardson  Yorkshire

 

    In August’s edition of ‘Muses’ I offered a couple of poems to you. Both were taken from, ‘A BREATHLESS HUSH…. The MCC anthology of cricket verse.’ As I have not heard a word of criticism about their inclusion [in fact no one has commented about any edition for as long as I can remember] I present three more taken from the same source. Yes, I know what you are thinking, “ I wish someone had chosen a better present for him!”

   

 

CRICKET WIDOW

 

Out of the love you bear me,

By all its sweet beginnings,

Darling heart, please spare me

The details of your innings.

 

Kit Wright

 

POPULARITY

 

As a fielder batsmen love me

For I’m such an idle stroller.

I’m each bowler’s favourite batsman,

And each batsman’s favourite bowler.

Only honesty compels me

To make public the admission:-

My popularity extends

Just to the OPPOSITION.

 

Morgan Dockrell

 

 

Regular readers of this ‘blog’ will know of my addiction to BBC Radio’s ‘Test Match Special’. Many listeners, including this writer, will claim that TMS has lost some of its appeal since the passing of such commentators and summarizers as John Arlott, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Don Mosey, Trevor Bailey and, of course, Brian Johnston. The following poem was written for Brian Johnston’s Memorial Service at Westminster Abbey, 16th May 1994.

 

THE HEAVENLY HOST

 

Eternal paradise at first glance, looks very nice –

This is heaven. Every moment is sublime.

For the first few weeks it’s great, then it starts to irritate –

Eternity’s a hell of a long time.

 

But heaven’s dull perfection’s had a recent shock injection –

A muffled titter’s running through the pews.

The cause of all this change’ll be the maverick new angel

With ears like wings and co-respondent shoes.

 

The cherubin and seraphin are starting to despair of him

They’ve never known a shade so entertaining.

He chats to total strangers, calls the angel Gabriel “Ainjers”

And talks for even longer if it’s raining.

 

He has told them all his stories – the countless broadcast glories –

They listen as the narrative’s unfolding.

Motorcycling through a wall, the Crazy Gang, but best of all

They like the line that starts, “The bowler’s Holding ……”

 

He’d have liked to play the halls, or be Ralph Lynn or Tom Walls,

But actors almost always end in hell.

So he wrote himself a role, and with all his heart and soul,

Cast himself as him, and played him awfully well.

 

He made twenty million friends, for the broadcast voice extends

Far beyond those you encounter face to face

And those he never met have a chance to meet him yet

For all of us end up in the same place.

 

And when St. Peter’s done the honours he will pass you on to Jonners,

Who will cry, “Good morning – welcome to the wake.

You’re batting number seven for the Heaven fourth eleven.

While you’re waiting have some Angel cake!”

 

So if you think that Heaven’s like a wet weekend in Devon

When you get there he’ll be sure to change your views

Up there the big-nosed cherub’ll be telling really terrible

Old jokes while wearing co-respondent shoes.

 

Richard Stilgoe      

 

 

 

      

Mike Rogers

 

 

 

 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

August 2019.

 

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

 

 August already!! As the saying goes, ‘Time flies when you’re having fun.’ Well, what with bad weather disrupting fixtures and some disappointing results for the senior sides [see the Club website for details] last month was not exactly a barrel of laughs for the Blackfyne faithful. However, all was not doom and gloom. Off the field the Club’s Carnival Day was a huge success thanks to the weather holding and the work put in by the band of volunteers marshalled by Gary and Kathryn Hunter. Badly needed funds were raised and a good time was had by all. Unfortunately the writer missed out on that particular ‘good time’, but more of that later. A week or two after Carnival Day a marquee was used to the full to stage this year’s ‘Summer Spectacular’. Thanks are due to more than a few volunteers who helped to make the event a success. On the field the enthusiasm and progress of the U.9 and U.11 sides is both encouraging and a credit to the parents and coaches involved.

 

    Early last month a spectator at Blackfyne was none other than David Gibson, a true ‘blast from the past’. Some readers will remember David playing for the 1st Team in the 1970s. An attacking middle-order batsman, ‘Gibber’ was perhaps more renowned as the best fielder in the League. Cover point was his territory. Beware any batsman attempting a quick single to him. Swift across the ground, swooping on the ball and throwing a thunderbolt all in one motion [or so it seemed], many a batsman was too late in seeing the error of his ways. Of course his mere presence in the covers prevented the more experienced batsmen from even starting to run. With the closure of The Works David and his wife Janet decided to seek pastures new in Australia. They settled in Tasmania and raised a family there. ‘Gibber’ returns to the UK every few years or so, more often than not timing his visits for our cricket season. It was good to see him again.

 

  Another spectator at the same match, although he was unaware of any cricket going on, was Angus Ringer, the recently born son of Paul and Lucy. Angus is a big lad, weighing in at more than 9lbs at birth. There is a band of youngsters at Blackfyne who make their presence felt on match days in the best possible way i.e. by playing their own game of cricket alongside the pavilion. No doubt Angus will be joining that group in a few short years.   

 

  Sadly, I have to report the passing of Mrs. Agnes Chapman. As most readers will know, Agnes, the mother of former 1st Team Captain Bob Chapman, mother-in law of Bob’s wife Lesley and grandmother of John and Catherine was a keen follower of our game both at Club and County level. For many years she could be seen watching the exploits of the Durham team at the Riverside, come hail or shine. Until just a few weeks ago Agnes was a keen spectator at the Club’s 1st Team matches. I know that you join me in sending sincere condolences to the Chapman family.

 

  Other members of our Blackfyne family not having the best of times are Mick Grieves and David Graham. Mick has been confined to hospital for several weeks having undergone various ‘procedures’. David was taken ill in Italy where he was attending the wedding of former Club member Andrew Bissett. Having undergone treatment in hospital in Italy, David is now back at home in Annfield Plain recuperating. I know that we all wish them well.

 

  Just to lift your spirits, dear reader, I will impart my tale of woe. Time-served readers of this column will know that for several years I have bemoaned the lack of live cricket on ‘free to air’ television. I have stated that the broadcasting of matches on terrestrial TV would be a vital aid in the promotion of our game to a new and younger audience. Imagine my delight then when the news came through that the Cricket World Cup Final was to be broadcast live on ‘proper telly’. At last my prayers had been answered. A glance at the calendar showed me that I would be in London that week-end. I knew, of course, that the match would be sold out but, even so, I could watch it on TV. The World Cup Final and England would be playing in it!! The reason for my trek to the Deep South? A visit to my daughter Emma, son-in-law Iain and grandson Evan in Strawberry Hill, Teddington.  All would be well or so I thought. I would watch the match at Emma and Iain’s house. The great day came and where was the writer while England’s most important match for many a year was taking place at Lord’s? A few miles away from St John’s Wood in the Natural History Museum in Kensington! The lady wife and I got back to our hotel just in time to watch the Super Overs, oblivious to all that had gone before. You couldn’t write it, could you? It was akin to that episode of ‘The likely lads’, but in reverse. [You must remember that particular one in which Bob and Terry went everywhere to avoid knowing the score of a football match highlights of which were to be screened later in the day; only to find out that the match had been postponed due to fog.] You have to laugh don’t you? Yes, I’m still splitting my sides.

 

  I am delighted to report that the Club defeated a spirited Stocksfield team in a recent match at Blackfyne thereby reaching the final of the Eric Topham Trophy for the first time for several years. The Final is scheduled for Friday 2nd August and the opposition will be either Shotley Bridge or Lanchester.           

              

  July’s  Cricket Quiz

Name the English county cricket sides for which the following mainly played:-

[a] Leonard Hutton

[b]Wally Hammond

[c] Harold Larwood

[d] Asif Iqbal

[e] Shane Warne

[f] Richie Richardson

Answers will appear in next month’s edition.

 

Answers to July’s Cricket Quiz

Name the English county cricket sides for which the following mainly played:-

[a] David Gower  Leicestershire

[b] John Emburey  Middlesex

[c] Martin Crowe   Somerset

[d] Allan Lamb  Northamptonshire

[e] Colin Dredge  Somerset

[f] Brian Lara     Warwickshire

Answers will appear in next month’s edition.

 

    At this juncture in proceedings regular readers would expect to read, ‘ Finally it is time for a few quotations.’ Not so on this occasion. In an attempt to ring the changes I offer some poetry. Yes!! Poetry!!! It must be the retired Head Teacher in me. However, you will be pleased to learn that the chosen verses are cricket related. Both are taken from, ‘A BREATHLESS HUSH…. The MCC anthology of cricket verse.’

  The first offering refers to cricket broadcasted on terrestrial TV:-

 

CRICKET ENCAPSULATE

No ticket for the Test?

Can’t get to Lord’s,

The Oval or Trent Bridge?

Reduced to drinking beer from your own fridge,

Starved of what Headingley affords?

 

Of course it’s best

To share the drama of the game

With the like-minded chap who thrills the same

In all those places Englishmen forgather

And share their passion for it with each other.

 

Perhaps you don’t hanker for where people bellow?

Want to be nice and quiet, like Richie Benaud,

Recalling, in the interval for Tea,

An age-old triumph, “How it used to be”?

 

Then commandeer the best seat in the house,

Switch off all the other flannel,

Switch on [despite a loud-protesting spouse]

To God’s Own Channel

And watch a big-sky epic, wrought by Kings,

The camera’s eye beholds, then spreads before …..

And so say thank-you, thank-you all the more

For wizardry and artistry that brings

The game for free

                              - with love from Channel Four.

                                          

                                              John Groves

 

The subject of the second chosen poem is one which has grown more and more common for our Club captains in recent years viz. late call-ups to senior teams.  

 

SELECTED FOR THE FIRST ELEVEN

Then the ‘phone goes on Saturday morning

And I clamber, cursing, from bed.

‘Hello, this is Mendelson speaking,

Who’s ringing to waken the dead?’

 

‘This is Peter from cricket, remember?

We haven’t seen you for a while,

We’ve missed your dressing-room banter

Which sent us all home with a smile.

You were playing pretty well the last time,

Don’t worry ’bout missing that catch

Or the shot you played to get out to,

We all thought you had a good match.

So I thought I would ring you and ask you

Whether you might like to play?

At home to Old Templetonians.

That’s right, two-thirty today’

 

‘Look, I’m sorry Peter I have told you

That I’m not keen to play anymore,

Trying to broaden horizons,

I’m sorry to be such a bore.

Well, no Peter, not anything settled,

So, yes, I suppose I am free,

But give me a truthful answer,

The real reason you’re asking me?

I see, so you’ve tried all the usuals,

You’d given up hope and then

You thought you would ring me and tell me

You’re playing and only got ten!’

 

                                             Michael Mendelson

 

 

      

Mike Rogers

 

 

 

 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

July 2019.

 

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

  Unfortunately this edition is shorter than usual [‘Thank Goodness!’ I hear you say] owing to personal reasons. OK then, the lady wife will be dragging me away on holiday to the fleshpots of the Isle of Wight. As I write [20th June] the weather outside is warm and sunny. However, you and I know that ‘Flaming June’ has been a huge disappointment weather-wise. Fixtures called off here and there, shortened matches and the waterproofs always close at hand. Definitely not cricket weather.

 

  The 1st Team’s League match at Ryton on 15th June exemplified how things have been going. Heavy rain in the days before the fixture sowed the seeds of doubt in this particular spectator that the match would take place at all. Saturday, however, proved to be a reasonable day. A light wind and a touch of sun resulted in the game starting on time at 1 o’clock. Hard work on the outfield in the morning produced both a relatively dry wicket and outfield. With picnic and flask in the car, I was prepared for an entertaining six hours or so in the sunshine. Wrong again. Batting first an inexperienced Ryton side could not cope with the pace of Callum McCabe nor the movement through the air and off the seam of Mark Dixon and were dismissed for 58. Tea was not taken between innings. The Club knocked off the required runs for the loss of only one wicket and the entire match was over and done with shortly after 3o’clock. Having endured the better part of 100 overs in some previous matches earlier in the season in miserable conditions, I must admit to feeling cheated. Pleased as I was that the Club had gained another victory which would help the League position, the manner of so doing was an anti-climax. I was left with a feeling of pity for the Ryton club. Particularly pity for the back-room members of that club who had worked tirelessly over recent years to improve the ground and its facilities. Speaking with a few of them after the match, they expressed their sorrow that several members of last season’s promising XI had left the club for, shall we say, reasons of finance and were now exhibiting their skills elsewhere. The current Ryton teams should not be criticized. They are turning out each and every week, win or lose, and it is mainly lose. They cannot be enjoying their cricket but they are supporting their club. Some of the players are still in their teens and do show promise; an opening bowler and a 14 year-old female wicket-keeper in particular. It is to be hoped that these young players will stay with the club and that Ryton will be able to re-build their team. If for no other reason than to put smiles back on the faces of those back-room members.

 

  Readers may remember my account of being hit with the ball last season during a match at the Lintz? Being colour-blind I could not see the ball coming towards me out of the background of trees. Red ball against green trees. Understand? Well during this season’s 1st Team match at the Lintz it happened again!! This time it was not down to colour-blindness but more to a combination of a misunderstanding and mature years. I was standing beside Club President Gordon Hunter when the ball was struck in our direction. It was below head height and I could see it coming at a rate of knots.Gordon moved half in front of me. I thought that he was about to field the ball. Wrong again Mike. At the last moment he stepped aside and the ball engaged with my shin. Did it hurt? Of course it did! Did I show that it hurt? Through gritted teeth I muttered something. No doubt the ‘something’ was an expletive. However, I gave the offending limb a rub and adopted a grin. Probably more of a grimace than a grin if the truth be told. Former Consett all-rounder John Walker was standing a few yards away and could not resist remarking to all and sundry that I would have stopped it if I had had my [wicket-keeping] gloves on. I would have stopped it if I had had a clear view of it. Well, probably not, I would have let it hit the wall behind me.

 

  Before I get to the parts of the Muses which habitually cause most comment, I shall return to one of my grouses in the previous edition. Scoreboards. During the recent Durham versus Derbyshire match the Riverside’s all-singing-and-dancing electronic scoreboard broke down. Spectators therefore had to rely on the ‘old’ one at the opposite side of the ground. All went well until the final session of the match when the sun shone on said scoreboard with the result that hardly anyone in the ground could make out the figures on the damned thing. The enterprising Public Announcer then took to reporting the score and the runs required by Derbyshire to win the match at the end of every over. Great, problem solved. Imagine then my own surprise and disappointment and that of my fellow commentators for the Visually Impaired members when he stopped announcing the score. Of course the match continued. Thankfully everyone in the ground could count to ten so that when the final wicket fell we knew that Durham had won. But by how many runs we were not sure. All was revealed after the match when the announcer emerged from the Media Centre shaking his head. He had been told to stop reporting the score by James Franklin, the Durham’s Head Coach. The reason given? It was handing an advantage to Derbyshire. Comments on a postcard please.                    

 

July’s  Cricket Quiz

Name the English county cricket sides for which the following mainly played:-

[a] David Gower

[b] John Emburey

[c] Martin Crowe

[d] Allan Lamb

[e] Colin Dredge

[f] Brian Lara

Answers will appear in next month’s edition.

 

Answers to June’s  Cricket Quiz

Which former Test cricketers had the following nicknames?

[a] Pica   Graham Dilley

[b] The Master  Jack Hobbs

[c] The Gaffer   Alec Stewart

[d] Dizzy   Jason Gillespie

[e] Creepy   John Crawley

[f] The King of Spain  Ashley Giles

 

    Finally,[I told you it would be a brief edition] it is time for a few quotations. The subject of this month’s selection is commercialism. During the current World Cup much has been said and written about matches not being broadcast on terrestrial television i.e. BBC, ITV [God forbid] or Channels 4and 5. It has taken the critics a long time to voice such opinions. Regular readers of this ‘blog’ will know that I have been harping on about it for years.TV rights do put money into cricket. However, we in the recreational game are at the bottom of the food chain. It is correct to say that sponsorship in any guise has its advantages but equally so it is correct to say that sponsorship comes with demands – from the sponsors themselves. Read on and you will see that commercialism has been a mixed blessing for our game long before now.

 

  ‘Sponsors are sponsors and if they become too powerful we could finish up in a situation where the sponsors are making all the decisions.’

Chris Peaker, Lancashire CCC Treasurer, recommending an increase in members’ subscriptions as a way of safeguarding control of the club, 1988. The proposal was rejected.

 

‘I know of no other sport which would secretly negotiate such a deal without bothering to inform its sponsor.’

The TCCB [Test & County Cricket Board] awarded rights for the 1990 Benson and Hedges Cup to British Satellite Broadcasting – but failed to tell B&H until 24 hours before the announcement. This was the response of Len Owen, B&H’s special events manager.

 

 

‘When you come as a sponsor, you are treated like royalty. I’d recommend it to anyone. When you come as a member on Test Match Saturday, you are shunted around as some species of sub-human.’  

Douglas Lever, Lancashire member and sponsor, on how money talked at Old Trafford, 1988.

 

‘By the way, do they still have sixes in cricket?’

Hospitality-box spectator to Simon Hughes, journalist, B&H final at Lord’s, 1988.

 

 

‘The star player is making so much money from the game that created him, that unless Auntie Clara and the two poodles are allowed to tour with him, he is not disposed to represent England overseas.’

Wilf Wooller, infuriated by Tony Lock’s statement that he would not tour Australia in 1962/3 unless his wife could join him. 

  

 

‘I don’t care what money I get man – it’s the buzz of playing for Australia that’s got me.’

Greg Matthews, making his Test debut,1983.

 

 

‘Cricket must be the only business where you can make more money in one day than you can in three .’

Pat Gibson, ‘Daily Express’, 1975. 

 

‘The modern cricketer will do a lot for money. He will hawk autographed miniature cricket bats in Calcutta, one of the world’s most impoverished cities, to children in the crowd at £15 a time.’

John Woodcock, ‘The Times’,1977.

 

‘We must expand, and a tournament in Disneyland will help us achieve that.’

Still selling – with the optimistic look of an ICC [International Cricket Council] spokesman- in 1996.

 

 

 

      

Mike Rogers

 

 

 

 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

June 2019.

 

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

  ‘Flaming June’ is here. Let us hope that it lives up to its name and brings some warm sunny days to us. Especially Saturdays! Last month’s fixtures were marred by cold and wet days. Certainly not the weather in which to play or watch. At the beginning of May I ‘had the double up’. A bitterly cold Saturday at Lanchester [the 1st Team’s first defeat of the season] was followed by a raw Sunday at Beamish & Tanfield CC. where two of my grandsons were playing in an U.9 tournament. It may be a well-known fact that young children do not feel the cold [they were on the move all of the time too], however, it is equally true that the older generation certainly do! Especially those of us whose medication includes blood thinners. I was perished. Another U.9 tournament and ‘All Stars’ sessions took place at Blackfyne later in the month. I must report that I was impressed by the work [and patience] of the coaches and the support of the parents at these events; heart-warming in fact.

 

  I am disappointed to feel the need to comment yet again on the poor behaviour of players on the field. Why oh why are fielders permitted to appeal for LBW from the advantageous positions of cover point and square leg? Just about every side does so. Surely there must be an umpire somewhere who would try to step on this absurd habit. As many readers will know I tend to be quiet during play [before and after play if truth be told] but I have found myself exclaiming, “How do you know from there?” whenever an imbecile screams for an LBW decision from a ridiculous position on the field. Take another blood pressure tablet Mike.

 

  Ian Cox, Stephen Turnbull and their colleagues must be congratulated again for their fund-raising events. Last month’s Connie Bonny Bingo was a huge  success. With Ladies’ Day, Club Carnival Day and the Summer Spectacular still to come, the income derived will surely put a smile on the face of Club Treasurer Colin. The Club’s fund-raising ventures have changed almost beyond recognition from those employed by the Management Committee of the 1970s when I took up the role of Secretary for the first time. We relied then on Jumble Sales, Sponsored Walks, Car Treasure Hunts, weekly Money Draws and the like. A variety of events sharing the common factors of needing the money and not having a Bar. More power to the elbows of those members of today’s Committee who spend hours planning and enacting much needed fundraisers.

 

  Early last month Life member Tommy Nichol, his wife Joan and I joined a congregation of approximately 200 people at the Memorial Service for Maureen Jackson, wife of League President Bob Jackson MBE. Although Maureen had been in ill-health for quite some time, her sudden death due to an aneurism came as a shock. Indeed just a week or so before she died, Maureen and Bob were attending a match at the Riverside. I recall holding a door open for her and exchanging a few words. Well known to we local folk as a great helper to Bob during his career with Lintz CC and Durham CCC, Maureen was respected throughout the world of cricket via tours of several Test nations. Whether sitting next to the Prime Minister of Australia, the President of a County Championship Club or someone from our own neck of the woods, Maureen enjoyed talking about the game and its participants. Throughout the many years [forty or more] that I have known Bob and Maureen she always had the interests of young players at heart. Maureen will be missed greatly by all who knew her.

 

  “What’s the score?” Visitors to Blackfyne recently may well ask that question. Our electronic scoreboard has been out of commission. Scores have had to be displayed by other means; namely small ‘tins’ on a blackboard easel situated at the foot of the pavilion steps. I, for one, have found it difficult to read the score when spectating from most places on the ground. I am now assured that the ‘glitch’ has been rectified and that we may expect normal service to be resumed. I have to admit that I am not a lover of electronic scoreboards. On several grounds they are difficult for me to read even when well situated. Being colour-blind becomes an issue when confronted by digits in red or orange. Bring back the black on white or the white on black I say.

 

  Plans are progressing to hold this year’s Eric Topham Trophy competition. The Draw has been made with the Club chosen to play Greenside CC. Stocksfield CC will be making its debut in the competition. The Final is scheduled to take place on Friday 2nd August. Maybe, just maybe, the Club will appear in it.

 

  On the subject of cup-ties, last month the Club bowed out of this year’s Tyneside Charity Bowl when well beaten by Lanchester CC.. Disappointing? True enough. However, even more disappointing was to learn that someone from another club had ridiculed our 1st Team’s exit from the competition via social media. Apparently it went something like this:- ‘Last year’s finalists can’t even make it to the 2nd Round this year.’ What did I write in a recent edition? Yes, I remember now. Social media, whether it be Facebook or Twitter, should be used with caution. It should also be used sensitively.

 

 

                 

 

June’s  Cricket Quiz

Which former Test cricketers had the following nicknames?

[a] Pica.

[b] The Master

[c] The Gaffer

[d] Dizzy

[e] Creepy

[f] The King of Spain

Answers will appear in next month’s edition.

 

Answers to May’s  Cricket Quiz

Which former Test cricketers had the following nicknames?

[a] The Master Blaster    Viv Richards

[b] The Rawalpindi Express     Shoaib Akhtar

[c] White Lightning     Allan Donald

[d] The Cat      Phil Tufnell

[e] The Little Master      Sachin Tendulkar

[f] Big Bird    Joel Garner

 

    Finally, it is time for a few quotations. The subject of this month’s selection has often appeared in previous editions. I make no apologies for again devoting the list below to him. Like Marmite, people I either love him or hate him. He is Geoffrey Boycott.

 

  ‘The saddest person who ever walked onto a cricket field.’

Mollie Staines, the first woman to be elected to the Yorkshire Committee.

 

‘He is of the type who are likely to have enjoyed quite a fill of wine, women and song.’

Fraser White, graphologist, analysing  Geoffrey Boycott’s handwriting in ‘The Cricketer’, 1975.

 

 

‘The only thing I’m bloody frightened of is getting out.’  

Boycott, 1973.

 

‘What have you done? What have you done?’

Boycott’s lament to Ian Botham who had followed instructions to run him out because he was batting too slowly, New Zealand, 1978. Botham’s reply was unprintable.

 

 

‘His ability to be where the fast bowlers aren’t has long been a talking point among cricketers.’

Tony Greig, in churlish mood after Boycott had turned down an offer to join the Kerry Packer circus, 1978. 

  

 

‘As I stood at the non-striker’s end, I felt a wave of admiration for my partner; wiry, slight, dedicated, a lonely man doing a lonely job all these years.’

Mike Brearley, on Boycott, 1979.

 

 

‘The Establishment seem to want my ability but not me.’

Geoffrey Boycott, in ‘In the Fast lane’, 1981.H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. 

 

‘Even the Yorkshire Ripper got a fair trial.’

Geoffrey Boycott, on being overlooked for the England captaincy.

 

 

 

 

      

Mike Rogers

 

 

 

 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

May 2019.

 

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

 

   ‘The Tale of Two [not cities but] Saturdays’. The first League fixtures of the season took place on Sat. 20th April with the 1st Team playing at Alnmouth and the 2nd Team hosting Tynemouth. I had visited Alnmouth several times over the years but never the cricket ground. Giving myself plenty of time to get to the match I set off in bright sunshine. The journey up the A1 turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. Heavy holiday traffic [it was Easter Saturday] resulted in a series of traffic jams. While stuck in yet another one the kind lady on the SatNav told me to turn off the A1. This I did, only to become a member of more jams in Amble and Warkworth before finally reaching the ground 15 minutes after the scheduled 1.00pm start of the match. As it turned out the starting time had been delayed because of the late arrival of players who had met with similar problems to myself. The match resulted in a convincing win for the Club. Almost 500 runs were scored, Callum McCabe began his Consett career with an unbeaten century, new Club captain Stuart Graham and former captain Gary Hunter made 50s, Mark Dixon and Stuart were among the wickets and the team looked good ‘in the field’. As a spectator, the only disappointment was the weather. Although the sun shone throughout the match, the sea breeze lowered the temperature to, at times, chilly. Club Chairman Alan updated me at regular intervals with news of the 2nd Team’s struggles against Tynemouth. Runs were scarce at Blackfyne with the Club eventually losing by 4 wickets.   Seven days later I am beginning to write this edition on my return home from a very wet Blackfyne where not a ball was bowled in the 1st Team’s scheduled match against Newcastle City. Given the gorgeous weather of the previous Saturday, it was a great disappointment. The 2nd Team’s visit to Cowgate CC produced an interesting finish. Chasing a total of 152, the Club was deemed all out with the score on 146-9. Nathan Smith had reached 56 when he had had to leave the match to go to work. Cricket is a funny game eh? Not so funny in this instance.

 

  Last month I gave commentaries to visually impaired Durham CCC members on two days at Chester-le-Street. The first occasion was on the first day of the County Championship match against Sussex. It was perishing. Overcoats, scarves, gloves and hats of various description abounded. The commentaries are usually given face to face while seated in front of a hospitality ‘box’ on the top floor of the pavilion. My co-commentators and I did so for the first two sessions of play but had to deliver the after-tea commentaries from inside the ‘box’ following a sit-in by the blind people. I did not blame them! The weather was much improved later in the month allowing normal service to be resumed during the One Day Cup match against Leicestershire.

 

  Last year’s League Handbook received widespread condemnation. This first attempt to squeeze the contact details of 50+ clubs, League officials and umpires in addition to the fixtures for several Divisions, pages of League and Match play rules etc. into a pocket-sized book resulted in the use of microscopic print which when combined with the necessarily tight binding of the pages made the use of said document a task; certainly not a labour of love. Not so this time around. The handbooks distributed at last month’s League meetings are of premier quality in comparison with last year’s efforts. Spiral bound [as per those of the North East Premier League, we were told] are easy to read and will be well thumbed before too long. The League meeting which I attended in the company of Club Chairman Alan was held at Blue Flames Social Club, Benton. Although well attended, a few clubs were not represented and will be fined. Previous meetings of our Northumberland and Tyneside Cricket League have yielded little discussion. Last month’s meeting did not buck the trend. I began attending League meetings, in my position of Club Secretary, back in the mid-70s. I write, of course, of the Tyneside Senior League. Those meetings were chaired by Don Robson ably assisted by the then League Secretary Bob Jackson. League meetings were more frequent in those days which had the effect of the discussion of current matters taking place. The TSL was limited to fourteen clubs each fielding a 1st and a 2nd Team. All clubs were represented at League meetings by two representatives, thereby making a platform for discussion much easier than today’s ‘mass’ meetings. Possibly the sheer magnitude of the attendance at current meetings [the best part of 100 attendees] dissuades representatives from raising issues? Whatever the reason the meeting[s] are over and done with in a short amount of time [which is no bad thing] but I tend to leave them wondering what had been gained by my attendance other than the avoidance of a fine for not attending. Cynical beggar aren’t I?

 

  Congratulations must go once again to 3rd Team captain Ian Atkinson for presenting his Charity Quiz Night in the Bar last month. Unfortunately I could not be there but I am reliably informed that it was a huge success. Well done Ian. Later this month ‘Conny Bonny Bingo’ will make its debut at the Club. I only have a vague idea of what is involved but believe that it is a mixture of bingo and music. Its popularity is, I am told, sweeping the nation. We will never know what the Club’s founders would have made of this idea. However, I believe that they would have approved as they tried a variety of schemes themselves to raise funds. More familiar social events are planned for later in the season. A Club Carnival [formerly known as Family Fun Day] is to make a re-appearance on Sunday 14th July and the ‘Summer Spectacular’ is scheduled for Saturday 20th July. Further details may be found on the Club website. 

 

  I am delighted to report some more good news. Former 2nd Team captain David Williamson and his fiancée Clare are to be married on the 4th of this month in Penrith. Readers, I know you will join me in wishing them a wonderful day and a happy future together.   

 

May’s  Cricket Quiz

Which former Test cricketers had the following nicknames?

[a] The Master Blaster

[b] The Rawalpindi Express

[c] White Lightning

[d] The Cat

[e] The Little Master

[f] Big Bird

 

Answers will appear in next month’s edition.

Answers to April’s  Cricket Quiz

A mixed bag:-

[a] Name the man who produced radio’s ‘Test Match Special’ [TMS] for 34 years between 1973 and 2007? Peter Baxter

[b] In 1983 the Ashes Test match at Sydney was halted when a pig ran on the field, with the words ‘Botham’ and ‘Eddie’ painted on its side. What was the surname of ‘Eddie’, the English spinner to whom the name referred? Hemmings

[c] Which song performed by Booker T and the MGs is played at the beginning and end of each TMS broadcast? ‘Soul Limbo’

[d] Which nation was granted Test status in 2000? Bangladesh

[e] The 1996 Test match at Trent Bridge between England and India was notable for the last time a long-running Test cricket tradition was observed in this country. What was it? A rest day

[f] Which piece of equipment did England fast bowler Bob Willis forget to take out to the middle with him against Australia at Edgbaston in 1981? His bat

 

 

    Finally, it is time for a few quotations. This month’s selection comes from the mouths of ‘the Great and the Good’:-

 

  ‘It can be as brutal as rugby and as delicate as chess.’

H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

 

‘I was not a great cricketer, but I captained the school in a lean year.’

Lord Runcie [Archbishop of Canterbury].

 

 

‘…. The whole thing bears a close resemblance to Wellington’s campaign in the Peninsular War to so many ‘flannelled fools’ amusing themselves in the sun.’  

H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

 

‘What is human life but a game of cricket? And, if so, why should not the ladies play it as well as we?’

The Third Duke of Dorset.

 

 

‘There is a widely held and quite erroneous belief that cricket is just another game.’

H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. 

  

 

‘I was qualified for Surrey in everything except talent.’

John Major, Prime Minister and later President of Surrey CCC.

 

 

‘The last time I played in a village match I was given out LBW first ball. That sort of umpiring should be looked into.’

H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. 

 

‘Cricket is nothing if no one wants to watch it.’

Lord MacLaurin, Chairman of England & Wales Cricket Board.

 

‘He brings to the fierce struggle of politics the tepid enthusiasm of a lazy summer afternoon at a cricket match.’

Labour Government Minister Aneurin Bevan speaking of Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee. 

 

 

 

      

Mike Rogers

 

 

 

 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

April 2019.

 

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

 

 Depending upon when you read this edition the season will be only a few weeks or days away. For late-comers to this article it may have even begun. Whatever your position I know that you will be hoping for some competitive cricket played in good weather. Whether or not the 1st Team will enjoy the successes of last season this time around remains to be seen but led by new skipper, Stuart Graham, it will not be without trying. Joining Aaron McCabe in the 1st Team will be elder brother Callum.  Memories of the brothers McCabe, Dominic and Damien, playing for the Club come flooding back. Indoor Senior Nets are in full swing, Junior training is underway, a pre-season friendly has been arranged and as I write, the weather, if not actually balmy, is definitely more like cricket weather than it was for some matches in which I played! The pessimist [or is it the realist?] inside me is cautioning that there will be many hiccups before the season actually starts but I will enjoy the current state of affairs for as long as it lasts.

 

  As the old saying goes, “You wait hours for a bus to come along and then three come at once.” It appears to be the same with cricket meetings. April begins with a meeting to be held at Emirates Riverside for clubs under the wing of Durham Cricket Board. This will be followed mid-month by meetings on two consecutive evenings under the auspices of our Northumberland and Tyneside Cricket League. The first of these will be held ‘just down the road’ at Lintz CC; the second at Blue Flames Social Club, Benton. Be a cricket club administrator and see the world!! Just for good measure our own monthly Club Management Committee meeting is to take place in between the three referred to above. Pen and paper at the ready.

 

  When I first served the Club as Secretary [way back in the time of quill pens in the ‘70s] the only form of sponsorship open to the Club was via fixture lists posted in local shops, pubs etc.. Local businesses were invited to pay the sum of £5 each to have their business advertised on the sheets. Times have changed. Visitors to Blackfyne this coming season will be able to feast their eyes upon an array of advertising boards promoting a variety of commercial enterprises. It will not be a £5 a time affair this time around and will provide much needed income. Thanks must go to those Committee members who secured the sponsorship. Not only did they secure the sponsorship itself but secured the actual boards into the ground. Well done lads.

 

  Congratulations go to Ross Greenwell on making his debut for Durham CCC in last month’s match against Durham University. Dad, Club all-rounder  Wayne, must be proud. I hope that Wayne enjoys a successful season.     

 

 England wicket-keeper/batsman Jos Butler has fallen foul, once again, of the Run out Law. Readers will be aware of spinner Ravi Ashwin running out non-striker Butler in a match in the Indian Premier League last month. However, I had forgotten that Butler had been dismissed in a similar manner in Sri Lanka in 2014. Lesson not learnt eh? Mention has been made in previous editions of batsmen being dismissed while ‘backing up’. I, for one, retain the belief that in such cases the batsman and not the bowler is the guilty party. He is trying to take an advantage and in so doing is breaking one of the Laws of the game. In practice it is customary [but not mandatory] for the bowler to warn the batsman that he will remove the bails if the batsman reoffends. Although dismissing batsmen in such a way has been prevalent ever since the game began, it was the dismissal of Australian batsman Bill Brown by Indian bowler Vinoo Mankad that made headlines and led to the act of running out the batsman for backing up gaining the term of ‘Mankading’. It was the fact that the dismissal occurred during a Test Match, moreover a Test Match in Australia, that exercised the press, especially the Australian hacks. Mankad had not warned Brown before removing the bails. However, what I have learnt is that Mankad had run Brown out in an identical manner earlier that season in an Australian XI versus India warm-up match but had done so after having given him a warning. All of that happened in 1947! As mentioned, the Australian press was incensed by the incident in the Test Match but the Australian captain commented that Mankad was in the right. The Aussie skipper? Don Bradman [who knew a thing or two about the game of cricket].          

 

April’s  Cricket Quiz

A mixed bag:-

[a] Name the man who produced radio’s ‘Test Match Special’ [TMS] for 34 years between 1973 and 2007?

[b] In 1983 the Ashes Test match at Sydney was halted when a pig ran on the field, with the words ‘Botham’ and ‘Eddie’ painted on its side. What was the surname of ‘Eddie’, the English spinner to whom the name referred?

[c] Which song performed by Booker T and the MGs is played at the beginning and end of each TMS broadcast?

[d] Which nation was granted Test status in 2000?

[e] The 1996 Test match at Trent Bridge between England and India was notable for the last time a long-running Test cricket tradition was observed in this country. What was it?

[f] Which piece of equipment did England fast bowler Bob Willis forget to take out to the middle with him against Australia at Edgbaston in 1981?

 

Answers will appear in next month’s edition.

 

Answers to March’s  Cricket Quiz

More anagrams of famous cricketers. Who are they?

[a] Womanlike nails. [ New Zealand and Yorkshire batsman.]  Kane Williamson

[b] Award Driven. [Aussie batsman; still banned?] David Warner

[c]  Enema Oil. [England & Worcestershire all-rounder.] Moen Ali

[d] Fried Mutts. [England spinner. Lost his toe on a tour of West Indies.] Fred Titmus

[e]  Callus Jerks. [England ‘keeper and artist.]  Jack Russell

[f]  Mirage Noon. [ ODI skipper.]  Eoin Morgan

 

    Finally, it is time for a few quotations. This month’s selection comes from the world of journalism. Neville Cardus wrote for ‘The Guardian’ specializing in cricket and music. Michael Parkinson is not only a TV personality but a gifted author and journalist writing for ‘The Guardian’, the ‘ Daily Express’ and ‘The Sunday Times’. As a young man ‘Parky’ was a good cricketer, opening the batting alongside Dickie Bird for Barnsley CC..    

 

  ‘Being a Yorkshireman, he had no time for any game of cricket that did not resemble a full-scale war.’

Michael Parkinson writing of his father.

 

‘It is human to err, occasionally, even if the gods have lavished on you a share of grace and skill not given to ordinary mortals.’  

Neville Cardus writing of Gary Sobers.

 

‘If the best spin bowler in the country were a woman, what would be done to the dressing-rooms at Lord’s?’

Neville Cardus.  

 

 ‘Women playing cricket should treat it as a matter between consenting friends in private.’

Michael Parkinson [He probably regrets that comment now. –Editor.]

 

‘The modern professional cricketer does not get drunk at Lord’s or often get a century there, or anywhere else, before lunch.’

Neville Cardus.

 

‘There is one great similarity between music and cricket – there are slow movements in each.’

Neville Cardus.

 

 

‘When he died I offered the thought that if they didn’t play cricket in heaven he would ask for a transfer.’

Michael Parkinson writing of his father.

 

 

 

      

Mike Rogers

 

 

 

 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

February  2019.

 

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

 

   As I begin this edition the West Indies v England First Test has come to a close with West Indies thrashing England. Was the heavy defeat down to a lack of preparation, complacency or poor team selection? I am not in a position to judge being thousands of miles away and devoid of live television coverage. From what I did see via the BBC TV’s snippets was a team incapable of dealing with both the pace and bounce of the West Indies’ speed merchants in the 1st Innings and the part-time spin of one individual in the 2nd. Hopefully ‘normal service’ will be resumed in the 2nd Test in Antigua. Time will tell. Going back to the ‘snippets’, why are the newsreaders so ignorant of the game of cricket? I write in particular of BBC Breakfast TV’s Sally Nugent although she is not the only culprit. Sally is a regular presenter of the sports news whose comments on football, rugby and some other sports have a degree of insight. However, when it comes to cricket it is a different matter altogether. A recent gaffe was her confusion of the reverse sweep with reverse swing. An England batsman was caught off a top edge when playing a reverse sweep. Sally told the nation that he had been dismissed by reverse swing. Where was Jonathan Agnew when you needed him? Such errors strengthen my contention that cricket in the UK is no longer a national sport. Football has well and truly taken over. That situation will remain until cricket is broadcast live on terrestrial television. Here endeth the sermon.

  The League fixtures are out. Our season begins on 20th April with the 1st Team travelling to Alnmouth and the 2nd Team at home to Tynemouth. Both matches are scheduled to start at 1.00 p.m.. According to the AA the distance from Blackfyne to Alnmouth is 46.2 miles and the journey should take I hour and 3 minutes. Those readers, who like the writer, have driven between those two points will know that 1 hour and 3 minutes is achievable but only if there are no hold-ups due to traffic and/or temporary traffic lights. The planning of meals on that day will be key. A picnic lunch at Alnmouth or a huge breakfast at home? Decisions, decisions. Spare a thought too for the Tynemouth lads battling through the heavy traffic of a Saturday lunch-time or even brunch-time.       

On the subject of fixtures I notice that Durham’s first home County Championship match starts on Thursday 11th April. No doubt it will be a sight to behold. Players in woolly hats and several layers of clothing. Umpires resembling Michelin men with the addition of thermal gloves. Spectators [and we volunteer commentators] donned with scarves, hats, mittens etc.. Oh! The summer game will have arrived!

  Regular readers of this ‘blog’ [so named by John Chapman’s wife Jayne] will know that I try to alleviate the boredom of cricket-less Saturday afternoons by watching Rugby Union matches at Corbridge [Tynedale RUFC] or Swalwell [Blaydon RUFC]. My latest trip was to watch Blaydon take on the Wakefield side, Sandal. Top-three side Blaydon was far too strong for the Yorkshire side and ran out winners by 69 points to 12! It was much too one-sided to be classed as a good game but will be remembered by me for one amusing moment. Blaydon RUFC have now brought their ground into the 21st century by way of installing an all-weather pitch and a sound system. The players run onto the pitch to the accompaniment of ‘The Blaydon Races’, snippets of appropriate songs are played to celebrate each try scored[just like T20 at the Riverside] and the name of the try-scorer and goal-kicker is broadcast. The Blaydon official who makes the announcements was having a good match, plenty of Blaydon try-scorers to announce, celebratory tunes to play etc.; then it all went wrong for him. Late into the game Sandal scored a second try. The announcer declared that Sandal had scored a try and that the try-scorer was so and so; he then declared it was somebody else. I could hear the Sandal supporters declaring that it was neither of the players mentioned. The hapless announcer began to rustle his papers [we could hear this on the loudspeaker] in an attempt to find the correct name when the silence was broken by a cry from a disconsolate Sandal supporter, “Play the bloody music instead!” Cause for laughter throughout the stand.        

 

       

February’s  Cricket Quiz

Anagrams of famous cricketers. Who are they?

 

[a]  Renamed Turf.   [Legendary Yorkshire & England bowler]

[b]  Unearthly Cows. [West Indies & Tynedale]

[c]  Towards Glue.   [Australian batsman 1965-1981]

[d]  Horny Dreams.  [Australian wicket-keeper batsman]

[e]  Cavort Smirk.  [Somerset & England off-spinner, now Radio commentator]

[f]  Cyborg Toffee Toy. [Corridor of uncertainty?]

Answers will appear in next month’s edition.

 

Answers to January’s  Cricket Quiz

A mixed bag:-

[a] Which ‘lost’ ground was the headquarters of Yorkshire CCC before they moved to Headingley?  Bramall Lane, Sheffield.

[b] Who, in 2005, was the last cricketer to win ‘BBC Sports Personality of the Year’ and who, in 1956, was the first? Andrew Flintoff, Jim Laker.

[c] Which England spinner was known as Shaggy?  Shaun Udal.

[d] Which American comedian described cricket as ‘baseball on valium’?  Robin Williams.

[e] How many feet does the Lord’s slope drop?  8.

[f] True or false:- Alec Stewart scored 8,463 runs and was born on 8/4/1963?  True.

 

    Finally, it is time for a few quotations. To ring the changes I have selected quotations from the world of entertainment. Lyricist Tim Rice and Rolling Stone Mick Jagger are just two of an illustrious group of entertainers who are avid cricket fans. Here are quotations from a few others who have or had opinions about our game. Some utterances, however, are not complimentary.

 

 ‘It’s called ‘Behind the Crease’ and it’s about the three things that the English like most – sex, royalty and cricket – not necessarily in that order.’

Monty Python’s Eric Idle commenting upon a radio play he wrote with John Du Pre.

 

‘Say, when do they begin?’  

Groucho Marx.

 

‘My solution is to let the players drink at the beginning of the game, not after. It always works in our picnic matches.’

Actor Paul Hogan on how to brighten up cricket.  

 

 ‘What I do is creak out to the square and hope to plonk a little timber on the ball .’

Film star Peter O’Toole.

 

‘……….. you could guarantee that the kid with the whitest shirt, the whitest trousers, the whitest boots and pads, could not play cricket to save his life.’

Comedian Jimmy Tarbuck.

 

‘Fred Trueman ……. describes my bowling as left arm blankety blank over the wicket, which is very accurate.’

Quiz Show presenter Leslie Crowther.

 

 

‘I broke my nose keeping wicket, which is why I have this rather handsome and eccentric profile.’

Eric Idle..

 

‘It is a fact not generally known that in her youth Queen Victoria had the makings of a cricketer of considerable stature.’

Scriptwriter and author Peter Tinniswood..

 

‘I tend to believe that cricket is the greatest thing that God ever created on Earth.’

Playwright Harold Pinter.

 

‘Cricket is an altogether too sacred a thing to him to be tampered with on merely religious grounds.’

Author H.G.Wells.

‘It is hard to tell where the MCC ends and the Church of England begins.’

Author and playwright J.B.Priestley. 

      

Mike Rogers

 

 

 

 

MIKE'S MONTHLY MUSES

 

January  2019.

 

  Welcome to this edition of 'Muses' concerning the on and off the field activities of Consett C.C. together with the writer’s associated memories and ramblings.

 

   As I begin this edition 2019 is only a few days away. Christmas 2018 is confined to the ‘Memories’ file. It is the time to look forward to the New Year; hopefully with some optimism. At Club level prospects look good both on and off the field. Turning the ‘prospects’ into reality, however, will take work and commitment to achieve. Experience garnered in recent years leads me to believe that there will not be a shortage of either virtue. A Happy New Year to all readers.

           

  Did Santa bring you a cricket book? The friends and family of a cricket-lover are spoilt for choice when selecting such a book. Of course the question arises as to whether or not their selection meets with the approval of the recipient or is the book destined for life on the shelf? In my life I have received numerous cricket books. Some I have read from cover to cover, others I have started to read but consigned to the loft with the promise of reading them ‘later’. I do remember the first cricket book I received as a present. It was an account of the England versus South Africa Test Series in 1955 written by Bruce Harris and  given to me as a Christmas present that year by Uncle Frank and Aunt Ethel. I met the pair of them infrequently but recall that Uncle Frank played the trombone in a brass band and ‘liked his sport’. The pair lived in Bradford which to me, a seven year-old, was miles and miles away from my home in Horsforth, Leeds. In fact it was only five or six miles away, but you get my gist? When I unwrapped my present I was staggered. It was a book for ‘grown-ups’. Thousands of words and few pictures [black and white photographs]. However, having watched the Test Series on BBC [no other channel then], I was determined to work my way through the book and learn more about the great game to which I had become addicted. I was a bright lad [my decline began later], which helped me to read the whole book from cover to cover. Even now, sixty-odd years later, I can remember the names of the players whose exploits were brought to life by the pen of the author. Players whom I had watched avidly on the 14” black and white screen. England’s Peter May, Tom Graveney, Denis Compton, Johnny Wardle, Godfrey Evans et al. South Africa’s Hughie ‘Toey’ Tayfield, Jackie McGlew, Johnny Waite, Neil Adcock et al. Although I would have to wait a couple of years before I could watch Test cricket live at Headingley and even longer before it was in colour on television, Bruce Harris’s book aided by black and white TV had set me on the way to appreciating the 5-Day game and good cricket writers. 

                  

  Comment was made at November’s League AGM that clubs were not being informed on a regular basis of decisions taken by the League Executive. Promises were made that minutes of the Executive’s meetings would be sent to clubs as soon as they had been ratified. This has been done. Included in the last set of minutes received was a list of disciplinary actions taken against individuals and clubs. It is an illuminating document. Happily for we at Blackfyne, the Club comes out of it smelling of roses. ‘Dissent’ and ‘attitude of player’ make up the bulk of the offences. However, what caught my eye was a short list of individuals who had been hauled over the coals for social media infringements i.e. comments deemed offensive to clubs, the League Executive or individuals. Although it is tempting to vent one’s annoyance via the internet [e-mail, Facebook etc.], it is definitely prudent to wait 24 hours before doing so. Those words written in anger and then sent may come back to haunt the sender. Sermon over.

 

  If plans come to fruition during the year, visitors to Blackfyne will notice some new hardware on both sides of the pavilion. [I will always refer to such a building on a cricket ground as a ‘pavilion’. ‘Club houses’ are found on golf courses.] I write of all-weather practice nets and picnic tables. The former was the subject of the Club’s successful Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ appeal last year and, as such, has to be completed. The latter, currently at the ‘possibility’ stage, is a desirable addition to the facilities for spectators. Fine weather should see both well used. 

 

  While most readers and this writer will be coping with an English winter, members of the England team will be topping up their tans in the West Indies. If the West Indies cricket team is no longer the attraction that it once was, a couple of months in the Caribbean have a certain appeal; don’t you agree? Two of the long list of West Indian ‘greats’ of yesteryear are Gary Sobers and Rohan Kanhai. I remember watching both of them play in the 4th Test at Headingley in 1963. I could write about their glittering careers, Sobers was the best all-rounder of his era [and probably of any era in my humble opinion] whereas Kanhai was a stylish and, at the same time, unorthodox batsman who delighted the crowd, but not the bowler, with his strokes. However, I choose not to do so. Apart from the cricket that day in August 1963, I remember the antics of one West Indian supporter. It was a hot English summer’s day. Hot enough for we sitting on the ‘Popular Side’, later to be known as the ‘Western Terraces’, to discard sweaters and, in some cases, shirts. Not so for the West Indian supporter who wore a bright orange long-sleeved sweater throughout the day. He had found a seat in front of the score-board but stood up frequently when Sobers was batting to declare in a booming voice, “That man not drunk, he’s SOBERS !!!” Sobers got a hundred that day. Yes, we had stopped smiling at the fan’s remarks long before the end of Sobers’ excellent innings. A few years later, while at Teacher Training College in Ponteland, I went to Ponteland’s Callerton Lane ground to watch a Charity Match. At that time Kanhai was the professional at Ashington CC. Spectators were anticipating a master-class from the great batsman. He did not disappoint them, striking the ball to all parts of the ground. He even managed to produce his famous ‘fall over’ shot when he ended up on his behind as the ball sailed over the square leg boundary. Having made an expected fifty, entertaining all who had paid to see him, Kanhai contrived to get himself out, no doubt to the delight of the Northumberland League bowler but to the disappointment of the crowd.         

        

January’s  Cricket Quiz

A mixed bag:-

[a] Which ‘lost’ ground was the headquarters of Yorkshire CCC before they moved to Headingley?

[b] Who, in 2005, was the last cricketer to win ‘BBC Sports Personality of the Year’ and who, in 1956, was the first?

[c] Which England spinner was known as Shaggy?

[d] Which American comedian described cricket as ‘baseball on valium’?

[e] How many feet does the Lord’s slope drop?

[f] True or false:- Alec Stewart scored 8,463 runs and was born on 8/4/1963?

Answers will appear in next month’s edition.

 

Answers to December’s  Cricket Quiz   

More trouble and strife:-

[a] Which Australian spinner was banned for a year in 2003 after testing positive for a banned substance, which he said was a diet pill given to him by his mother? Shane Warne

[b] Which former Indian captain was banned for life for his role in a match-fixing scandal?  Mohammad Azharuddin

[c] Which former England captain skippered a highly controversial rebel tour to South Africa in 1989-90?  Mike Gatting

[d] With which former Australian captain is Ian Botham said to have enjoyed a feud lasting 38 years?   Ian Chappell

[e] Which England captain was fined heavily for the ‘Dirt in the Pocket Affair’ in 1994? Michael Atherton

[f] Which Yorkshire captain was banned from lifting his side’s trophy after they won the County Championship in 2014 for comments he had made to Ashwell Prince in a previous match?  Andrew Gale

 

    Finally, it is time for a few quotations. As mentioned earlier England will begin a tour of the West Indies later this month. West Indies’ cricket has been a roller-coaster of highs and lows. Some readers will remember the spin twins of the 1950s, Ramadhin and Valentine, the fearsome fast-bowlers of the ‘60s, ‘70s, 80s and ‘90s and the free-scoring batsmen throughout the decades. Others may recall the decline of West Indies’ cricket and the in-fighting between players drawn from the islands which make up the West Indies. As an aid to memory I offer the following:-

 

 ‘If the West Indies are on top, they’re magnificent. If they are down, they grovel. And with the help of Brian Close and a few others, I intend to make them grovel.’

Tony Greig, England captain, before the 1976 series. The West Indies won the series 3-0.

 

‘In their disregard of anybody being hurt and hit some West Indians appeared callous and reminded me of bully boys.’  

Jack Fingleton, appalled by the West Indians’ fast bowling at The Oval, 1980.

 

‘Even when they are just spectators, there is something intimidating about their presence.’

Sir Len Hutton on West Indian cricketers, 1981.  

 

 ‘Twenty years ago, we were the frivolous calypso cricketers. Now the players just tend to go out and do a job.’

Jackie Hendriks, West Indian manager and former wicket-keeper, 1988.

 

‘We bowl short at them, they bowl short at us, it’s as simple as that.’

Geoff Lawson, his jaw broken by Curtley Ambrose, capturing the mood of the 1988 series between Australia and the West Indies.

 

‘If every country had an attack like the West Indies, Test cricket would die pretty quickly. You can only think of survival, not playing shots.’

Allan Border, Australian captain, after a fraught Melbourne Test, 1989.

 

 

‘As soon as I got into the West Indies team in the early Seventies it was clear to me that the Asian guys were not going to get fair treatment. It has always been there, but it has just grown and grown.’

Alvin Kallicharran in ‘Declarations’, 1989.

 

‘They must have fallen asleep in a greenhouse with their feet in a growbag.’

Fred Trueman,‘Test Match Special’, Headingley Test 1991, explaining the size of the West Indian fast bowlers.

 

‘Some become arrogant. Some become difficult. Some forever will remain social misfits. It doesn’t concern them. Their only concern is staying on board the team because the alternative is anonymity .’

Ian Wooldridge, writing in ‘The Daily Mail’ linking magnificent West Indian fast bowling [in the 1994 series versus England] to poverty, drugs, violence and all manner of social evils.

 

‘Ah wonder which lottery game these numbers belong to?’

‘Dem ain’t no lottery numbers. Dat is de West Indies scorecard against Kenya.’

A conversation in a cartoon in ‘The Sunday Sun’, Barbados, after Kenya beat the West Indies in one of the greatest shocks in cricket history, World Cup, Pune, 1996.  

      

Mike Rogers