Fifty Years of Angus Cricket 1932

Published: 2020
Pages: 120
Author: Miller, Richard (Editor)
Publisher: Private
Rating: 3.5 stars

It took me until this, the fourth volume of Richard Miller’s Scottish Cricket Memories, to work out what his cunning plan is. I can see now how I might have thwarted it, but I suspect he probably knew that most would read the series in the correct order and I dare say that like for me the same lightbulb moment will hit them with this one, and they will then be hooked for the rest.

Numbers 1, 2 and 3 in the series are nothing more than monographs whereas Fifty Years of Angus Cricket certainly merits being described as a book. Once again the source is a series of newspaper articles from long ago, but this time the back story is a little different. For a start the source is different, Dundee’s main evening newspaper, the Evening Telegraph, and secondly the series on this occasion ran to as many as 27 separate essays.

The writer of the series was Alfred O’Neil, who Richard tells us in his introduction was a decent player as well as an accomplished writer so he was, gaining a significant advantage in doing so, writing in large part of something he had been part of.

Anyone picking this one up, as their fourth look at the series, will quickly see the references to the subject of the first three booklets, and the picture suddenly becomes rather clearer. Messrs Dunsmore, Higgins and the Forfarshire club all feature and they are all put in a wider context as O’Neil’s memories unfold.

The history of the game in the county of Angus spreads out in these articles to places like Arbroath, Montrose and Brechin, and a couple of Scottish cricketers I had heard of, for reasons other than playing in England, are introduced, Bobby Tait and Robert Sievwright being the two men concerned.

Five years before these pieces appeared in the Evening Telegraph O’Neil authored, as Richard mentions in his introduction, a substantial work on the history of his own club, Brechin. It is a book I have seen, though never thought of acquiring and, at more than 300 pages, it sounds like a heavyweight tome. If I am right in that assumption then O’Neil must be a versatile writer as the style of the writing in the 27 chapters here is entirely appropriate for the more ephemeral showcase of a newspaper. Short and snappy paragraphs are the order of the day and for those, like this reviewer, whose passion is for cricket in general rather than Scottish cricket in particular they are an easy and interesting read.

Once more the narrative in Fifty Years of Angus Cricket is generously illustrated with images from Richard’s clearly extensive personal collection. In the circumstances I am left to conclude that, whilst I would still recommend reading booklets 1-3 first, Fifty Years of Angus Cricket is certainly the best in this series so far.

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