New Zealand – The 1927 Tour of the United Kingdom

Published: 2020
Pages: 32
Author: Battersby, David
Publisher: Battersby, David
Rating: 4 stars

At the end of last year David Battersby told me that he had two monographs planned for the early months of 2020. As always he has proved as good as his word and, after Jessop’s Son last month, we now have the promised look at the New Zealanders 1927 tour of England.

Although the visitors’ inaugural Test was three years away this was a full tour. Thirty eight matches were played, two thirds of which were First Class. The team’s captain was Tom Lowry, and he would also lead them in their first Tests two years later. The party comprised just fourteen men, so it was an arduous trip. Nine of the fourteen would go on to play Tests and a tenth, Ces Dacre, surely would have had he not chosen to return to England the following year in order to qualify for Gloucestershire.

Overall the tour was a success. In the First Class matches Sussex, Worcestershire, Glamorgan, Derbyshire and Somerset were all defeated. To balance that up the New Zealanders also lost five times. That does need to be put in context however as of the five Essex, Cambridge University, Middlesex all played the tourists in May, and over the rest of the summer only Northamptonshire and Kent defeated them. As for the individual performances the batting was generally stronger than the bowling, but all-rounder Roger Blunt impressed all and was one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year in its 1928 edition.

As for the booklet itself that is not an account of the tour, something which has been done elsewhere, albeit only 99 lucky cricket lovers have a copy of Mike Batty’s account, Bill Bernau and the New Zealand Cricket Tour of England 1927. Battersby does provide a brief introduction, but that apart confines himself to setting out potted scores for the  tour matches punctuated by numerous illustrations.

Altogether Battersby reproduces images of eighteen scorecards, two menus, two souvenir booklets, one itinerary, one team photo, one autograph sheet, six caricatures, one individual photograph and, most interesting of all, on the final page there are a couple of photographs of a post tour souvenir written by JH Hayhow and published in New Zealand. That memento, a copy of which seems to have been given to each of the tourists, isn’t referred to in Padwick’s bibliography and must be exceptionally rare. Battersby’s readers have New Zealand historian Rob Franks to thank for two images of a booklet I would love to have a chance to look through.

The greatest strength of New Zealand – The 1927 Tour of the United Kingdom is the quality of the reproduction of those images and, particularly for those who take an interest in the more ephemeral aspects of memorabilia, this one is highly recommended and, with the print run limited to just 88 individually signed and numbered copies, early ordering is going to be important. Battersby can be contacted via email, at talbot@talbot.f9.co.uk

So what is next from Mr Battersby? or indeed from Mr Franks?

I wonder if for their next project they might, as a joint venture, look to produce a facsimile of Mr Hayhow’s souvenir?

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