ico-h1 CRICKET BOOKS

Not The Spin (Issue 7)

Published: 2020
Pages: 36
Author: Lomax, Ian (Editor)
Publisher: Lancashire Action Group
Rating: 4 stars

NTS

For those interested, and frankly that should be anyone who values county cricket, I have already written at length about the Not The Spin here. At the point at which I wrote that the first six issues had appeared, so this is a straightforward review of Issue 7.

The slight difficulty with reviewing Not The Spin is bearing in mind that what is required reading for Lancashire supporters might not readily appeal to those who support one of the other seventeen counties, or who are outsiders looking in, and following the county game because they love the game of cricket, rather than having any attachment to the English game per se.

As an initial, and not entirely incidental point, one thing that should not put anyone off buying Not The Spin is the price – at a mere £2 per copy even adding on the postage price means that the fanzine comes in at less than the price of a designer coffee.

Turning to what you get for your couple of quid that begins with Ian Lomax’s editorial.No doubt it is not what he originally planned to write, but he has been able to take into account the current difficulties faced by cricket and everything else as a result of the current pandemic, and his wise words provide much food for thought. So too does the piece that follows, an obituary of a great friend of Lancashire cricket, David Hodgkiss, whose innings was ended by Covid-19 last month.

Inevitably some aspects of Issue 7 are concerned with matters that will not be of too much interest to outsiders, but Roy Cavanagh’s examination of the Lancashire Board is worth reading, and the more so a feature on what has become known as the Refund Fiasco – that one is a purely Red Rose issue, but as an object lesson in how a ‘supplier’ should not treat its ‘end user’ it is of relevance to all.

There are two features about Lancashire players, both excellent pieces of writing. One looks backwards, and is former Guardian writer Paul Fitzpatrick on one of this reviewer’s heroes, Frank Hayes. The other is on the, for now, sad subject of the distressing decline of Haseem Hameed. The affection felt for Hameed in Lancashire is remarkable – he has left now for pastures new, but if he were to return to Old Trafford in the future with Notts I doubt that there would be a man on the ground who would begrudge him a big score. In Issues to come interviews with both Hayes and Hameed would greatly appeal greatly to this reviewer.

‘The Hundred’ is a matter of huge importance to all lovers of the county game and there is inevitably coverage of that. Conspiracy theories abound of course, but sometimes such ideas are found to be true, and in this case Lomax and his co-editors put forward some compelling arguments many of which are, sadly, based on facts that are undoubtedly correct.

Moving on to a more upbeat note Not The Spin contains a review of Martin Tebay’s last but one monograph, a piece on Lancashire’s 2020 beneficiary, Stephen Parry, a quiz, and a look at the Minor Counties that surround the Red Rose, Cheshire, Cumberland and Yorkshire.

But that is not all, as there are a couple of other longer essays. I much enjoyed retired journalist Mark Giles’ piece on his first visits to Old Trafford in the 1960s. In addition editor Lomax takes time out to examine Lancashire’s fall from being, undoubtedly, the kings of one day cricket in the twentieth century, to being the also rans of the twenty first.

And finally, like all the best things, there are a couple of upbeat pieces with which to finish. One is Mark Bolton’s Reasons to be Cheerful, and the other the entertaining thoughts of a gentleman who styles himself as ‘The 12th Earl of Wybourne’ – for those familiar with twitter the spirit of Sir Fred Boycott runs deep in the Earl’s lordly thoughts.

To conclude no Lancashire supporter should be without their copy of Not The Spin and for us it is most certainly five star stuff. There is however much that is of interest to cricket lovers generally and Issue 7 is well worth anyone’s ‘brass margaret’ .

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