RCM Kimpton – A Gifted Amateur CricketerMartin Chandler |
Author: Molyneux, Philip
Rating: 3 stars
I have to admit that, when I learned a copy of this obscure Australian publication had become available, my initial reaction was ‘Roger who?’. Having asked that question thanks to Cricketarchive I soon learnt that Kimpton was an Australian who, whilst at Oxford, played in 57 First Class matches for the University and Worcestershire between 1935 and 1938.
As a cricketer Kimpton’s strong suit was clearly with the bat, but he was also an occasional wicketkeeper and 28 wickets, albeit at more than 47 runs apiece, suggest he had at least some ability with the ball as well. At the end of 1938 there were a couple of games in Jamaica, whilst on tour with a University side. And then there was nothing until, in 1949, there was one more match for Worcestershire, and six years latter two more in the Caribbean, with a side raised by EW ‘Jim’ Swanton.
Suitably intrigued I placed my order and, a couple of weeks later RCM Kimpton – A Gifted Amateur Cricketer arrived. It is an A4 sized booklet consisting of eight pages, one of which includes a photograph of the Gentlemen at Lord’s in 1937, the most prestigious fixture in which Kimpton played. Also attached to my copy, and I am not sure if this has been added by a previous owner or was always there, are copies of letters received by author Molyneux from the Worcestershire club and from Swanton, the latter with a copy of the obituary that he had written for The Daily Telegraph*. Never having heard of Molyneux’s publication before, let alone seen a copy for sale I do not know how many copies of the booklet were printed, but it cannot have been many.
The monograph within the covers is an interesting one. Kimpton the batsman modelled himself on Stan McCabe, so was clearly an enjoyable player to watch. Given that Molyneux clearly knew his subject, and indeed spent a good deal of time with him for the purpose of the project it is slightly disappointing that the end result is not a little longer, both in relation to the details of Kimpton’s playing career and also his life outside the game, not to mention the family business that he spent his working life at the head of.
One thing that can certainly be said for RCM Kimpton – A Gifted Amateur Cricketer is that it is a collector’s item, but that apart it is still worth reading as a tribute to a talented Australian cricketer, even if he was one who never played a First Class match in his native country.
*The document is described as a ‘living obituary’. Kimpton was 81 when it was written and, at more than 400 words, it is surprisingly detailed for someone who had spent so little time in England. Kimpton died at 83, so Swanton’s work was dusted off just over a year after he sent it to Molyneux.