A cricketer (and poet) in underwear : John Augustine Snow

Almost since I began writing this blog, I’ve had a steady stream of visitors seeking pictures of “cricketers in their underwear” and – I can almost picture them trooping dejectedly away – I’ve had to disappoint them.  I have had no such pictures.  Now, however, I’ve found one and – what’s more – he is the answer to the poetry quiz I set in my last post.  So, two birds with one stone.  Here is John Snow, the Sussex and England fast bowler, in his vest –

John Snow in a vest

 Snow was the son of the Vicar of Bognor Regis , who – and this is one of those pieces of trivia known to all cricket fans – gave him the middle name Augustine.  He was also a fairly rapid fast bowler who was almost constantly in the soup with the authorities for one reason or another.  The index to his autobiography Cricket Rebel gives a flavour of it –

Snow, John –

accusations of not trying 41 116 et seq

clash with Pataudi (his county captain) 38

dropped by England (for disciplinary reasons) 34, 36, 44, 71, 76, 125, 136, 198

dropped by Sussex 116 et seq

grabbed by spectator 96, 106, 154

hitting batsmen (with the ball, usually) 19, 106, 111, 131, 155

incident with Boycott 177

knocks over Gavaskar 122 et seq 156

rebuked by Dexter (another county captain) 26-7

row with Clark (England tour manager) 93

row with Griffith (Sussex chairman) 124

rows with Rowan (umpire) 96 et seq

seam picking incident 95

troubles with Sussex 38, 61, 80, 85, 116, 127

warnings 112 et seq

As a result of all this, he was often held up by the Headmaster of my prep school as a bad example – particularly in respect of slacking and giving cheek – though I always rather admired him.

Wearing this vest – and, from the look of things, he is on the balcony of a cricket pavilion (possibly even Lord’s) – would once have been seen as the act of a cricket rebel.  Now, of course, provided it had Vodaphone and Adidas written all over it, it would be the height of respectability, and quite possibly official dress for the England touring party for drinks with the British High Commissioner and suchlike events.

Snow also published two volumes of poetry – Contrasts (Fuller d’Arch Smith, 1971) and Moments and Thoughts (Kaye and Ward, 1973).  His chance to have his poem read on the telly by JB (as mentioned below) was lost because he had refused his captain (R. Illingworth)’s request to bowl flat out (as opposed to fast-medium cutters) and had been dropped for the match that the broadcast was meant to co-incide with.  A pity.  As Snow put it – rather ungracefully I’m afraid – “The fee would have come in handy“.


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