Cricketers at Rest (The Golden Age)Archie Mac |
Author: Somerville, David
Rating: 3.5 stars
This is the second of three books planned in this series. We reviewed the first earlier this year. The only downside is that these books, limited and signed, are available in an edition of just 30 copies. If there are any left you can obtain them directly from the author at email@example.com
This edition is an improvement on the first volume, with noticeably less typos. The author has also included the occasional updated information for his entries. This compliments the Wisden obituaries that are a staple of each of the 51 players included. Somerville usually includes a contemporary newspaper article too, and these often have more detail than Wisden, especially for the players who played few Tests.
There are certainly some sad entries. A few players have unmarked graves and a couple have had their burial site redeveloped. The one thing they all have in common is that author David Somerville has tracked down their final resting places.
As I alluded to when reviewing the first volume, I would rather hear more about the author’s journey to finding the players’ fate after death. Clearly this volume must have taken extensive research. A brief paragraph of where and how he tracked down the final resting places of his subjects would, I think, have been quite interesting.
My favourite entry in this second volume was the story of Joe Travers, a cricketer who played one Test for Australia at the turn of the century. Not only was Travers death missed by Wisden when he died during WW2, his headstone was removed and destroyed by the Payneham Cemetery in South Australia in 1990, to make way for a new pathway. At least someone at Payneham Cemetery had the foresight to take a photo of his gravestone before it was destroyed.
It may be incorrect, however I had the impression that on average the players from this edition lived longer than the those in the first edition, tending to mostly make it into their sixties rather than their fifties. Still, there are plenty of sad stories of players dying as young men. ‘Tibby’ Cotter killed in the Great War, and perhaps the saddest of them all, Victor Trumper, cut down by illness aged 37.
The great attribute of Cricketers at Rest are the complete details of each grave site, so you can easily locate the final resting place of all the players featured. I have already informed my wife that next time we visit one of the big cities we will be visiting a few cemeteries, although I might just wait for the third volume and add a few more sites to visit.