County Cricket Matters Issue 19

Published: 2024
Pages: 36
Author: Chave, Annie (Editor)
Publisher: County Cricket Matters
Rating: 5 stars

Having turned 18 in March I wonder whether there has been a deliberate shift in the emphasis of CCM as it moves into adulthood? This issue, which has only nine feature articles as opposed to the twelve of Issue 18, seems an altogether different beast from the slightly frenetic publication that made its debut back in 2019.

That is not to suggest that CCM has forgotten its roots, as Annie makes clear in her editorial, as ever an eloquent and bang on point expression of CCM’s mission statement. There is no doubt however that, with no disrespect intended to previous contributors, this issue is a little more ‘cerebral’ than those that have gone before.

But some things never change, and CCM 19 begins with Annie’s interview, and in this case a double one featuring father and son Arnie and Ryan Sidebottom. They are an interesting pair, Arnie being one of the last men to enjoy dual careers in professional football and cricket. He was a defender for Manchester United and bowled right arm fast medium for Yorkshire and, just once in the 1985 Ashes, for England.

Ryan was a left arm fast medium bowler who, after being dropped following a single wicketless Test against Pakistan in 2001 looked like he might have created an unwelcome symmetry with Arnie’s Test career, but he came back in 2007 a much better bowler and in 21 more Tests claimed 79 wickets. Both are interesting characters and the three way discussion is a interesting one – Ryan’s career now over perhaps the pair are thinking of a joint autobiography? If they aren’t I would respectfully suggest they should be.

Next up is a contribution from Craig White (not the one who used to play with Ryan Sidebottom), who is the secretary of the Mexican Cricket Federation and, it would seem, a very hard working one. He explains the structure of the game in Mexico, something of its history and, most interestingly, what is being done to increase the game’s profile in the country.

Ben Bloom authored the excellent Batting For Time, which dealt with the very subject which led to the creation of CCM. His article is, like his book, a fine piece of writing. In it he gives away rather more of his own back story than the blurb to the book gives, some more background to his rationale for writing it and, interestingly, unlike in the book he chooses to share some of his own opinions on the issues facing the English game.

And then there are a couple of features for bibliophiles, something I always like to see in CCM, particularly as one is from the excellent David Woodhouse. Woodhouse goes back to the 1920s to examine the life and writings of Dudley Carew, a man who he quite rightly compares to Neville Cardus, and particularly Carew’s 1927 book, England Over.

The other bibliographical piece is an interview by Deputy Editor Jeremy Lonsdale with Harry Pearson, the man responsible for excellent biographies of Learie Constantine and the Yorkshire trio of Wilfred Rhodes, George Hirst and Schofield Haigh as well as, on a very different tack, the award winning Slipless in Settle.

History is always an important feature of any issue of CCM, and there are two contrasting articles in CCM19. First of all Matt Kingdom, with the assistance of the Somerset Cricket Museum, reports on the ongoing task of untangling the history of the women’s teams that have represented the county.

In the second historical feature David Pendleton goes way back to 1887, and looks at what remains the only First Class cricket match to have featured a member of the Royal Family, Queen Victoria’s grandson Prince Christian Victor. The Prince played for the famous wandering club, I Zingari, against the Gentlemen of England at Scarborough’s famous North Marine Road ground. In a drawn encounter the Prince scored 35 and 0, that first innings knock evidence that he wasn’t there just to make up the numbers.

An important subject, if cricket as we know it is going to survive in England, is how the game can be made more accessible, especially to those many young people whose state schools no longer have any facility for introducing them to the game. Annie herself looks at the how Surrey are tackling that problem, and the news is encouraging.

There is also a contribution from Michael Read, which is given the general heading nostalgia. A lack of hand eye co-ordination led to Read being a committed non-player, although at the same time he was clearly a decent athlete. His fascination with cricket was stimulated by the broadcasting of the game from The Oval, and memories of that are the centrepiece of his contribution.

And that dear reader is that, except for The Void’s crossword on the back cover, one which at first blush looks particularly fiendish.

CCM 19 is, in common with each of the previous 18 issues, excellent and all lovers of county cricket should subscribe to, something it is very easy to do here.

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Martin Chandler