Martin Horton’s New Zealand Cricket Coaching Bulletins

Published: 2022
Pages: 18
Author: Battersby, David
Publisher: Private
Rating: 3.5 stars

David Battersby begins this, his twentieth cricketing monograph, with a brief biography of Martin Horton. Capped twice by England in 1959 Horton was a Worcestershire all-rounder who was an integral part of the county side for a decade and a half. At the back end of his career Worcestershire took back to back County Championships in 1964 and 1965, their first two titles.

In 1966 Horton moved on and travelled to New Zealand to coach the national side. He originally signed up for five years, and stayed for seventeen. Towards the end of his tenure he took on the task of editing the New Zealand Cricket Coaching Bulletin, a modest journal that was to run for twenty editions and ended in 1983, when Horton returned to the UK.

And it is those twenty bulletins, full sets of which I cannot imagine are anything other than extremely scarce, that this monograph deals with. No doubt to his disappointment the bulletins are not within the Battersby collection, but he was given access to a complete set in order to write what is, therefore, something for the bibliophiles amongst us.

After the introduction there follows a description of the contents of each of the bulletins, all of which contained a number of articles. That many are on coaching and technique is, in the circumstances, only to be expected, but the scope went well beyond that. Umpiring, scoring and pitches all feature as well. Some of the contributors were amongst the major names in New Zealand cricket at the time, such as Richard Hadlee, Dayle Hadlee and Stephen Boock.

What is rather more unexpected is that in a number of issues, sadly not all, Horton reviews cricket books. The reviews seem to be essentially benevolent, and Horton doesn’t seem to have taken any writers to task. Unsurprisingly a number of the books referenced are of the instructional type, but by no means all. Like many of us Horton was enamoured of Sir Neville Cardus, and at one point he is quoted as describing Cardus as able to make a telephone directory interesting to read. It is not a comment that makes much sense if analysed, but all Cardus aficionados know exactly what he meant.

Like its 19 predecessors Martin Horton’s New Zealand Cricket Coaching Bulletins appears in a signed and numbered limited edition, this time of 100 copies, each available at £7 including UK postage and packing. Battersby’s email address remains dave@talbot.force9.co.uk.

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