A Voice From The Golden Age 

Published: 2020
Pages: 175
Author: Rigby, Vic
Publisher: JW McKenzie Ltd
Rating: 3.5 stars

On the last page of his seminal biography of C.B. Fry, author Iain Wilton, quoted Sir Neville Cardus, “he had heard people argue that C.B. squandered his talents. If only he had specialised, they argued, he could have distinguished himself in the worlds of politics, law, literature or the theatre.” As Cardus concludes “I think there are politicians and actors and KC’s and authors enough. There has only been one C.B. Fry”.

The Subject for author Vic Rigby – R.P. Keigwin, may not quite be in the same class as C.B. Fry, however his achievements are still impressive. He played First Class cricket (and never wore a protector), represented England in hockey, defeated future tennis slam winners, was a decorated hero of the Great War, and won many awards as the pre-eminent translator of works by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, into English.

Apart from his love of Danish literature, Keigwin was passionate about cricket, and continued to play into his eighties. In his later years, he kept up regular correspondence with John Arlott and later a young John McKenzie. In his letters Keigwin gave his thoughts on some of the greatest players from crickets past. A number of the letters to McKenzie are included at the end of the book.

While he had a relatively brief career at first class level, 74 matches, he had a knack of playing in some classic games as well as playing against some of the greats from the Golden Age of cricket. His first class career spanned from 1903 to 1923. As a school boy he witnessed the match where A.E.J. Collins scored 628*, which remained the highest cricket score in history for 116 years. Keigwin and Collins, who was killed in the Great War, were rackets partners for their school.

While playing for Essex, Keigwin was involved in a county match where in less than 15 hours play 1,391 runs were scored and the bowlers maintained a rate of 23 overs per hour. Keigwin’s teammate, Percy Perrin hit up 343* and still managed to finish on the losing side.

This is the first book I have read by Vic Rigby, although I note he has written at least one previous book on cricket – on Jim Laker’s 19 wickets in a Test match. He has an easy clear style of writing and has set out the chapters on Keigwin’s life very clearly, which make for an immensely accessible biography.

While Kegwin may be a poor man’s C.B. Fry, his achievements are still immense and his story an enjoyable one. Copies can be obtained from CWs friend J.W. McKenzie.

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