An Appreciation of Jack Phillipps

Published: 2021
Pages: 20
Author: Battersby, David
Publisher: Private
Rating: 3.5 stars

This week we welcome David Battersby’s latest monograph, the seventeenth in all, an impressive output given that it was only five years ago that the first appeared. All have materially added to the literature of the game, the majority of them dealing with aspects of the game that have not previously been written about other than in newspapers.

Battersby’s particular interests have become increasingly clear over that half decade, and are Pakistan, New Zealand, Glamorgan and Cheltenham. They are a slightly eccentric looking combination, but anyone who has read all of his publications will understand precisely where he is coming from.

Unusually this latest effort is on the subject of an administrator rather than a player and, being a New Zealander who died as long ago as 1977, not one who has a high profile in the twenty first century. That much conceded from reading about him in this appreciation he is clearly a man who should not be forgotten.

Phillipps was the man who managed ‘the 49ers’, the strong combination who toured England under Walter Hadlee in 1949 and who went through the entire English summer losing just once, to Oxford University. All four Tests against England were drawn, largely as a result of the strength of the visitors batting. Phillipps’ second trip to England, managing the 1958 side was not, in playing terms, anything like so successful for the New Zealanders, but Phillipps and his team were, once again, extremely popular.

A man who lied about his age in order to fight courageously in the Great War before a severe shrapnel wound to the head ended his active service Phillipps’ story is told by not only Battersby but also through quotes from the writings of men like John Reid and Martin Donnelly, and a generous foreword from Richard Hadlee whose father, Walter, had been skipper of the 49ers.

This summary of Phillipps’ achievements is punctuated by an excellent selection of photographs, and some reproductions of some rare items of memorabilia. There are exactly one hundred signed and numbered copies of the booklet available from the author who can be contacted by email at dave@talbot.force9.co.uk. The price including UK postage is £7.50 and the monograph comes with a separate head and shoulders photograph of Phillipps, which shows the slightly stern, yet kindly face of a man who contributed a great deal to the development of New Zealand cricket.

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