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This will be the last post to appear on this blog – but don’t despair (in the unlikely event you were thinking of despairing) I shall be continuing to write at my new address, which is https://newcrimsonrambler.wordpress.com/, so retune now to stay in touch.

This has partly been forced on me, in that this blog is now full – not of words (I can have as many of them as I like) but of images.  I didn’t want to delete old posts (out of sentimentality, mainly) and other options, such as archiving some of the posts elsewhere, seemed too laborious, so I’ve decided to make a clean break and begin a new site.  There is something rather exciting about starting with a completely blank slate and it would be nice to think it might help me recapture some of the joie-de-vivre I seem to have had when I began this blog, what now seems like many years ago.

Older readers may be reminded of the time Radio 1 switched its frequency from 247 to 275/285.  If I had any space for images left I might try to find one of their DJs of the time wearing one of the t-shirts they produced to publicise the switch.  Or perhaps it’s for the best that I don’t have the space.

It goes without saying that I’m immensely grateful to everyone who has followed, commented on, helped to publicise or simply read this blog over the last six years and I hope you’ll continue to do so on the new site.

See you on the other side!

 

 

January

Mid-January, and the cricket pitches of England lie fallow, as does this blog.  There have been one or two rum goings-on here recently (bits dropping off, for instance, rather like its author) and a short period of closure for repair and refurbishment seems in order.  I hope to be back soon.

As a footnote to the Grand Christmas Quiz, this is the full text of the letter that E.W. Swanton sent to the Spectator in response to Enoch Powell’s so-called “Rivers of Blood” speech at Birmingham in 1968. Pretty strong stuff, I think you’ll agree.  It’s really only notable because Swanton quite consciously aspired to be the voice of the English cricketing “Establishment” and so might be suspected, by some, of sympathising with Powell’s views.

“Sir: In a recent letter to the Daily Telegraph, Mr. Patrick Wall, MP, seemed to applaud Mr. Enoch Powell’s infamous speech as a clarion call to Britons who have pride in their country.

Within the last few days an Indian student at Highbury has been set upon, kicked and slashed, by four sixteen year olds chanting ‘blackman, blackman, Enoch, Enoch’.  A respectable West Indian citizen at Wolverhampton celebrating a family christening has been attacked without provocation and injured by people also invoking the name of Enoch, the prophet.  ‘Enoch dockers’ at Westminster have been putting their boots into students off the ground.

Are we to explain this sort of behaviour as some sort of twisted expression of national pride?

Many will echo Mr. Wall’s cry for leadership of a kind that will kindle ‘those principles that made us great’, but what has this aspiration to do with a bloodthirsty, hateful speech, lacking a single compassionate phrase towards fellow-members of our Commonwealth, which has so fanned the flames of ignorance and prejudice as to bring about such episodes as these?

If Enoch knew what passions he was about to unleash, he was guilty of an act that was the complete negation of patriotism.  It is possibly more charitable to suppose that his frothy speech was a bid for future political power which, pray God, he may never achieve.

If ‘Enochism’ were ever to win through, there would surely be a migration from this once great land of white as well as black.

E.W. Swanton

Delf House, Sandwich, Kent.

Un soixante-huitard

Un soixante-huitard

 

Welcome to the third and final round.  I wouldn’t expect anyone in their right mind to know the answers to these questions, but please do feel free to have a go, and I hope the quiz has provided some amusement along the way.

1.     At a match between the United South and an 18 of Northampton in 1873, W.G. Grace, urged on by his brother E.M. (“If you don’t go and give him a good hiding, I shall”) laid into a spectator “with sledgehammer blows” and blacked both his eyes.  What was the man’s offence?

a)    He’d accused him of cheating?

b)    He’d told him he needed a shave?

c)    He’d complained he was taking too too long to get back on the pitch after a rain break?

2.     The earliest, and perhaps most physically dangerous, of England’s fast bowling partnerships was between “Foghorn” Jackson and “Tear’em” Tarrant.  Tarrant’s nickname was self-explanatory, but what was the source of Jackson’s?

Foghorn

Foghorn

 

Tear'em

Tear’em

 

3.     What did George “Dickie” Wooster, for many years a stalwart of Kettering CC, have in common with Samuel Beckett?

4.     The autobiography of which late-20th century Australian Captain begins by saying “I should be bitter, but I am not” and contains chapters entitled “Sacked” – “Fleeced” – “Still kicking” – “Skinned alive” – “Slaughtered” and “A Nasty business”?

5.     Whose wife?  An Australian society beauty “artistic in nature and noted for her fine singing voice” she married her husband, a well-known English cricketer, while he was on tour in Australia.  Unfortunately, an “irreverent and indecent crowd” surged into the church before the service, occupied every possible vantage point “including the pulpit” and stole all the floral decorations as souvenirs.

DSCF7265

 

6.     Which team is this a description of?

“…… were genuinely hated.  Apparently this stemmed from the time … when they beat everyone in sight and then went on to cause havoc off the ground.  Some of the things they were supposed to have done defy description, and I also heard about fantastic brawls in pubs and hotels.”

a)    The Yorkshire side of the 1920s and 30s?

b)    The Australian side of the early 1970s?

c)    The Surrey side of the 1950s?

7.     Fast bowler Cyril Eales was sacked as a professional by Northants after hitting “the fiery Irish baronet” Sir Timothy O’Brien several times in an over at Lord’s and responding in kind when Sir Timothy instructed him to “Pitch the buggers up, Man!”. But what happened next?

a)    He carried on playing for Northants as an amateur instead?

b)    Sir Timothy took pity on him and offered him a job as a chauffeur?

c)    He tried to burn Sir Timothy’s townhouse down in revenge?

8.     Which Northamptonshire amateur of the 1940s played 3 Test matches, was one of the last men in England to be sent to prison for performing abortions and was later awarded the OBE?

9.     The famously pugnacious A.N. “Monkey” Hornby (“of long ago”) once pursued a miscreant around Old Trafford until he eventually “cornered him in the Ladies’ Pavilion and gave him a good thrashing”.  But who was the man and what was his offence?

a)    A student who had released a monkey into the outfield as a prank?

b)    A thief who had broken into the dressing room and stolen his watch?

c)    A local newspaper journalist who had made some criticisms of his captaincy?

10.    The rightful owner of this Sind Cricket Association cap from 1973

Sind 1973

was an International Man of Mystery, who toured Australia with India in 1970*, but also popped up playing for another country in 1980.  Which was that country? [*Thanks to Jonathan for pointing out that not only was there no World Cup in 1980, there was no Indian tour of Australia in 1970 either.  I am reasonably confident, however, that this elusive character did, at some point, appear in an Indian squad of some description, without getting on to the pitch in a Test Match.  Well, I did say he was a Man of Mystery.]

11.     The minutes of which cricket club for a meeting of late August 1796 recorded the presence of “Mr. Thomas Paine, author of The Rights of Man”?

 

 

 

1.    Of whom did Jonathan Agnew write the following (in 1988)?

“He had problems with his approach to the game last year, and failed to fulfil his enormous potential.  He became too involved with the off-the-field politics.”

2.     Which city did Dudley Carew (in a survey of county cricket between the wars) describe in the following terms? (He didn’t think much of their ground either.)

“Shoddiness and pretence, mental and moral, permeate the place.  All the faults of which foreigners … accuse us seem concentrated in the few square miles of England ….. pollutes.  Hypocrisy, joylessness, interference, lack of all response to any values not to be assessed in terms of money – the list of …..’s shortcomings is black indeed.”

3.     Whose wife?  She was known as one of first women in London to sport a monocle.  Her husband often played in thick glasses which he had no medical need for, gave his name to a best-selling brand of Scotch whiskey in Spain, and was the author of a lyric entitled “Reckless Reggie of the Regent Palace”. He was often described as “the best Captain England never had”.

Whose wife?

    

4.     Only one of the following nicknames was intended ironically.  But which one?

a)     G.A.T. “Tubby” Vials (Northamptonshire)

b)     C.E. “Noisy” de Trafford (Leicestershire)

c)     “Happy” Jack Ulyett (Yorkshire and England).

Happy?

 

5.     W.G. Grace’s Mother, Martha, rather irresponsibly (considering the possible effect on the future of English cricket) took to the skies in the 1820s and, according to some accounts, tried to fly across the Cheddar Gorge. But how?

a)    A primitive rocket?

b)    A chair held aloft by giant kites?

c)     A catapult?

6.     Which cricketer has a memorial garden dedicated to him in the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral?

7.     This was how the Daily Telegraph reacted to the selection of a foreign-born player for a Test against Australia.

“When it was first announced that he was among the thirteen, there was considerable adverse comment, but it was generally expected that the selectors would become acquainted with public opinion, and decide to omit him.  The remarks when he was chosen in preference to the English-born … and … were very scathing.  It is a fact that if England wins with the aid of … a considerable amount of gilt will be off the gingerbread.” 

But who was he?

8.     According to Fred Trueman, why did Chairman of Selectors R.W.V. Robins instruct the Umpires not to no-ball Charlie Griffith for throwing in 1963?

a)     He thought his action was fair?

b)     He thought chucking made the game “more interesting”?

c)      He was worried about sparking off “a race riot”?

9.     What did Mordecai Sherwin of Nottinghamshire do in 1888 and Ewart Astill of Leicestershire in 1935 which no-one else had done in the intervening years?

10.    The usual explanation of Arthur “Ticker” Mitchell’s nickname is that he used to mutter to himself continuously on the field.  But in a late interview he offered another explanation. What was it?

a)     He had a big heart?

b)     He always seemed about to go off like a time bomb?

c)      He’d picked up a liking for chicken tikka on a tour of India?

11.    Rosa Cadiz (a Spanish lady) was the mother of which great Panjandrum of English cricket?

Three Wise Men

It’s time to join the Three Wise Men above (Percy Chapman seated and Plum Warner on the far right), not to mention Freddie Brown (second left) for the first round of this year’s Grand Christmas Quiz.

The programme is subject to alteration and the rules to being made up at short notice, but at the moment we’re looking at three rounds of questions over the festive period with the answers to be announced in the New Year (though do feel free to answer at any time).  One point is awarded per question (unless otherwise indicated) and bonus points will be awarded for any particularly amusing or apt alternatives to the correct answer.

First Prize, as usual, will be a year’s free subscription to “The Crimson Rambler”.

So here we go:

Q1     What does Jack Hobbs have in common with internet sensation Zoella?

Q2     Which England batsman of recent vintage was named after a poet who died in the First World War?

Q3     Which current English cricketer described his interests in “The Cricketers’ Who’s Who” as “hunting, fishing and shooting“?

Q4     The father of which England Captain starred for Heckmondwike in the Heavy Woollen and Central Yorkshire Leagues in the 1930s? (His Christian name was Horace.)

Q5     Which future England Captain had previously turned out for Hickleton Main Colliery in the Yorkshire Council League?

Q6     Tom Graveney was once ordered by his Gloucestershire Captain to apologise to David Sheppard for having addressed him inappropriately.  What had he called him?

a)     Shep?

b)     David?

c)     Your Reverence?

Q7     Everyone (I hope) knows Fred Titmus lost four toes in a boating accident, but which other cricketer of the 1960s was missing his big toe?

Q8     The father of which Conservative cabinet minister opened the batting for Somerset with his identical twin brother (with hilarious results!) and once made 92 against Gloucestershire under an assumed name?

Q9     Which well-known cricket writer had this to say about Enoch Powell, in a letter to The Spectator following Powell’s inflamatory speech at Birmingham in 1968?

“If Enoch knew what passions he was about to unleash, he was guilty of an act that was the complete negation of patriotism.  It is possibly more charitable to suppose that his frothy speech was a bid for future political power, which, pray God , he may never achieve.  If “Enochism” were ever to win through, there would surely be a migration from this once great land of white as well as black.”

Q10    Percy Chapman, a heavy drinker, used to keep a lemonade bottle filled with neat gin in the dressing room so that he could keep himself topped up between sessions.  What did the teeetotal Jack Hobbs do when he discovered this during a Test Match (with disastrous consequences!):

a)     Sell the story to the News of the World?

b)     Drink the contents himself?

c)     Empty the gin from the bottle and replace it with lemonade?

Q11    She designed the costumes for an experimental theatre company called The Unnamed Society, regarded her husband as “an attractive stray cat of which she could be very fond without depriving it of any natural independence” and once chose to join him in Australia uninvited, bringing with her a Molotov cocktail painted blue.  But whose wife was she?

 

 Experimental

 

And even if you don’t feel inclined to answer, a Merry and Peaceful Christmas to you all and thank you for your custom throughout the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He knows if you are sleeping. He knows if you’re awake.  He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake!

Father Christmas

 

 

A Merry Christmas to all our readers.  And if you have been good, or, frankly, even if you haven’t, there’s a good chance of a Grand Christmas Quiz appearing on this blog at some point over the holiday period, so stay tuned for further announcements.  Exact format and timings to be decided, but it will be Grand and it will be a Quiz.

If you’d like to limber up for the Quiz, try to guess the identity of our Secret Santa (above). As a hint, it’s not W.G. Grace.

 

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