Diary of a Cricket CorrespondentMartin Chandler |
Author: Lorimer, Malcolm (Editor)
Publisher: Max Books
Rating: 3.5 stars
On the face of it this would appear to be one that is strictly for Lancastrians of a certain age, or at least that was my thinking before I opened it. I am still not convinced that that initial assessment is not the correct one, but having read this slim booklet I can see that it might, perhaps, be of rather broader appeal.
The reason the booklet exists is because Malcolm Lorimer managed to pick up some memorabilia that belonged to the former Manchester Evening News cricket correspondent, the late Brian Bearshaw. Amongst his purchase was a diary that Bearshaw kept in 1964 and 1965 as he began his career with the paper.
The diary is perhaps better termed a notebook, and it is far from comprehensive because in those days Bearshaw was the number two to John Kay, so he only got to cover those games that Kay chose not to attend. But they are an interesting couple of seasons, coinciding with a difficult period for the Red Rose and the first culminated in the dismissal of two established members of the team, Peter Marner and Geoff Clayton.
The booklet begins with an introduction from Lorimer, before moving on to an appreciation of Bearshaw by Colin Evans, a successor of Bearshaw’s at the Manchester Evening News and a man whose worked I have reviewed before*. Evans produces a fine summary of his former colleague, and a glimpse into the world of the cricket correspondent in the 1960s and 70s.
As for the notes themselves the most surprising aspect of those is that the autocratic Cyril Washbrook, then Lancashire team manager, seems to have been happy to take the cub reporter into his confidence, or perhaps ‘Washy’ was just using Bearshaw as his mouthpiece?
In any event the notes are of value to anyone with a desire to learn more of this difficult period in Lancashire’s history, and are made the more interesting by the context added by Ken Grime’s footnotes, which I was delighted to see at the bottom of the page rather than tucked away at the end of the booklet.
The booklet is illustrated, and there are three particularly good photographs reproduced those being the traditional team poses for both summers, and also a more casual image of nine members of the side that appears on the rear cover. The most striking aspect of the team photographs is the appearance of David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd, who looks very, very young in 1965, and is barely recognisable in that for the previous summer.
Diary of a Cricket Correspondent is produced in a limited edition of 100 numbered copies signed by the editor but, slightly disappointingly, not by Evans or Grime. Nonetheless it is well worth the £8.50 price tag, including UK postage, and can be purchased directly from the publisher. For those down under I believe a small stock are, as this review appears, en route to Roger Page in Melbourne.