County Cricket Matters (Issue 3)

Published: 2020
Pages: 36
Author: Chave, Annie (Editor)
Publisher: County Cricket Matters
Rating: 5 stars

Having got now to Issue 3 is it too soon to suggest that County Cricket Matters (CCM) has become an established part of our summer game? In truth it is probably a bit early to say, but let us hope so as, now it looks like we will have some sort of county season in this strange summer, it is more important than ever that the voices of those who value the county game, and particularly the beloved County Championship, are heard.

The best way of supporting what CCM believes in is to buy this magazine, but do not make the mistake of thinking that your purchase is merely a way of supporting the cause. In addition to that CCM is a fine read, and the modest investment called for will rewarded several times over by the pleasure its reader will derive from it. So what does it contain this time?

Pride of place in this issue must go to a piece entitled Tackling the Melancholia. I am not sure whether it as a result of the importance of the cause, or the respect that our Annie has amongst cricket people, but doubtless both factors are at work and it is a real feather in Annie’s cap that she has brought Duncan Hamilton on board.

Those who have read my reviews of Duncan’s previous books will know I hold him in high regard, but I am far from alone in that. To borrow a phrase from the political world he a ‘big beast’, and has real stature and gravitas. If Duncan has something to say it is always worth taking notice.

Following Duncan’s piece are the first of two interviews by Annie, this one with the mighty ‘Bumble’, worshipped Lancashire opening batsman of my youth and much enjoyed character in my later years. It will come as no surprise to know that Bumble is not as vehemently opposed to the concept of the much vilified ‘Hundred’ as most of his audience. His views are no less interesting for that.

Annie’s second interview is with Roland Butcher, the first man of Afro-Caribbean heritage to play for England when he appeared in three Tests in his native Caribbean in 1980/81. Sadly he was not the first, nor by any means the last, to not enjoy a great deal of luck as his Test career began and regrettably it was to be Middlesex rather than England supporters who saw the best of him. Annie leaves that disappointment to one side however, and the interview is all the better for her doing so.

Dilip Doshi was a fine slow left arm bowler who enjoyed spells with Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He contributes an essay on his impressions of county cricket in those days.

Prashant Soan is an experience hedge fund and equity analyst who blogs about cricket. Bearing in mind his day job he takes a look at the ‘Hundred’, and introduces a bit of IPL context as well. His conclusions are not a source of any optimism for the format the ECB seems to be staking our future on.

The cricket lovers then take over for a while. First of all Sharron Webster, a Yorkshire lass, explains the parental influence that caused her to come under the game’s spell. She is followed by Russell Chapman whose title, Why I Love Surrey, tells his reader where he is coming from before Becky Fairlie- Clarke, the CEO of the Cricket Supporters’ Association explains what that organisation is all about. Later still Chris Coleman explains the role of Cricket Societies, the umbrella association of which he chairs.

Moving back towards men who are at least semi-professional writers we are treated to the thoughts of Brian Carpenter, a man who writes with some wit and insight for Wisden each year, as well as having his own blog, Different Shades of Green. He looks back over his lifetime watching cricket, his earliest memories of which date back to the 1972 Ashes series, so he is probably a bit younger than I am, but not by much. A not dissimilar piece representing the thoughts of Garry Clarke, the joint editor of the Lancashire fanzine Not The Spin, explains to the uninitiated the concept of the sea fret, Scarborough style.

I was delighted to see Anindya Dutta contributing to the last edition of CCM and the author of the excellent Wizards has put his hand up again and written a profile of Duleepsinhji. Another several times author whose work appears is Jeremy Lonsdale, but then he is on the CCM team, so in that sense is obliged. This summer, so far, the only cricket that has taken place in England is a practice match. Jeremy looks back to the Great War when, for very different reasons, there was also little cricket to be had.

Other pieces appear from Matt French, an umpire, and Tony Greaves tells a story about sea gulls at Sidmouth that certainly brought a smile to my face as well as memories of the best appointed cricket ground I have ever played on. I also enjoyed Derek Payne’s continuation of his personal take on goings on at the ECB. There won’t be any libel writs flying out of Lord’s this time, but I’m confident that at the moment he is just warming up.

A few other features to mention are another quiz from Craig Tranter, and I can report I have shown a slight improvement this time. Another brain teaser is the crossword that appears on the rear cover something which, I have to confess, was a little too fiendish for me and finally, to make up the 36 pages, there is a splendid poem from Stephen Oxlee and, for the first time, CCM carries a book review as well. 

County Cricket Matters cost £2.50 together with £1.50 UK postage and packing and can be purchased here

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