A splendid innings of 168* by Jonathan Trott in Melbourne the other night (or day).
A quantitatively similar innings (164) was played by another Trott (Albert) in 1899, in Middlesex’s defeat of Yorkshire. This innings was commemorated in verse by Francis Thompson, in the same notebook in which he had written his more celebrated poem on a cricketing theme, At Lord’s. I’m not sure that the poem about Trott has ever been published in full, but E.V. Lucas, in his 1909 essay on Thompson (A Rhapsodist at Lord’s) reproduced the following stanzas. As Lucas says – “It was never intended for print : it was merely a versified memorandum for the writer’s own amusement”, and is not in the style we usually associate with Thompson. The elder Trott’s style of batsmanship, too, was clearly very different to that of his younger namesake.
“For Trott, who also month-long kept
Inert, as the batsman in him slept,
Wakes, and with tumults of his waking,
The many-girded ground is shaking!
With rolling claps and clamour, as soar
Fours after fours, and ever four!
Bowles Rhodes, bowls Jackson, Haigh bowls, Hirst, –
To him the last is as the first:
West-end tent or pavilion-rail,
He lashes them home with a thresher’s flail.
Trott keeps them trotting, till his d—-d score,
Is just one hundred, sixty, and four, –
The highest tally this match has scored,
And the century fourth is long up on the board.
Thank Heaven, the fellow’s grown reckless now,
Jumps and slogs at them anyhow:
Two narrow shaves, amid frenzied howl
Of jubilant people, and lordly growls;
Till a clinker tingles in Brown’s left hand –
Good Brown! you have snapped the infernal stand!
The last two wickets go tedious down,
And my lord* strides off with his teeth and frown.”
I wonder if Carol Ann Duffy is at work on something similar, in commemoration of the great innings of our contemporary Trott?
*Lord Hawke, the Yorkshire captain.