Not The Spin 12

Published: 2023
Pages: 30
Author: Various
Publisher: Lancashire Action Group
Rating: 4 stars

I have taken my eye off the ball with Not The Spin, the journal of the Lancashire Action Group. Not having seen a copy since January I started to wonder when we would see another issue, and was relieved to see a reference on social media to Issue 13 being almost ready.

Heading straight over to eBay to purchase my copy I idly looked back to my last review, and was shocked to realise that that was of Issue 11, so I had missed one, Issue 12 having appeared in April, as the season began.

Worse still was the fact that I had therefore missed the guest editorial, from Annie Chave, as we all know the driving force behind the splendid County Cricket Matters, and the perfect champion for the county game. As we all know Annie is passionate about her county, Somerset, and her editorial is all about how she is able to work with the county, something the Lancashire Action Group are sadly unable to do with ours.

In NTS12 there is much talk of out grounds. A hard hitting piece by Jez Klein of Liverpool Cricket Club explains why Aigburth no longer hosts the county. The general theme is revisited by Vince Leyland, and then Garry Clarke looks at Southport and particularly the Championship fixture against Hampshire this summer. Of course the match hadn’t been played when NTS12 appeared. It has now and was the scene of the Red Rose’s first win of the campaign, at the sixth attempt.

There are, naturally, articles on the current issues that afflict the county game. There is a piece on member’s resolutions to be presented to the County Board, and Harry Fearnihough looks at the much maligned Strauss Report and provides an alternative vision for the county game. I can’t say that he entirely convinced me, but he certainly has a point.

And of course there are, to go with the more troubling articles, pieces on players of the past. Mark Gretton writes on Lancashire wicketkeepers, starting with a salute to ‘Our Rooky’, before looking briefly at each of the subsequent holders of that office. Gretton also pens a fine tribute to Wasim Akram, the Lancastrian one rather than the one who appeared in so many Tests and ODIs for Pakistan.

Roy Cavanagh also produces a couple of interesting historical pieces. One is a summary of his recent monograph with Red Rose Books on the subject of Lancashire’s first Gillette Cup fixture back in 1963. On a rather sadder note he looks back to the black day of the Munich air disaster in 1958 which decimated the ‘Busby Babes’ and, more particularly for his purpose, took from us eight journalists including ‘Donny’ Davies and Archie Ledbrooke, both accomplished cricket writers.

I also much enjoyed Garry Clarke’s contribution, in which he explains why, since 2000 and the splitting of the County Championship into two divisions, Lancashire have been the most successful of the counties in Division 1. With just a single title to show for those 22 summers that conclusion might seem counter intuitive, but you can’t argue with facts.

There are a few other bits and pieces in NTS12, some very short, and a few slightly longer ones, and a quiz that, regrettably, I did rather badly on. It is however the same mix of politics, philosophy, economics and history that it always is, so more to it than even a prestigious Oxford University degree.

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