Published: 2020
Pages: 23
Author: Simons, Grenville and Judd, Andrew
Publisher: Six and Out Press
Rating: 4 stars


To we bibliophiles the name of schoolmaster Grenville Simons is a familiar one. He has written two of the books in my library, a biography of William Yardley (the first man to score a century in the Varsity Match) and a history of the Cheltenham Festival, which were published in 1997 and 2004 respectively. The name of Andrew Judd on the other hand is not one I recognise. Having now read Scorebook I suspect that perhaps he must be the printing/typography expert.

Cricket and art are complementary, and a number of publications have brought the two together before, but none in quite the same way as Simons and Judd have done with this fascinating celebration of the art and literature of the game, and of printing styles and techniques from days gone by. The booklet is only 23 pages long, but such is its quality that the selling price of £22.50 inclusive of UK postage and packing is still something of a bargain.

In terms of content the book is an anthology, and one which begins with a summary of the English summer of 2019 and a tribute to Ben Stokes, I presume from the pen of Simons himself. After that however the theme is almost exclusively historical. When cricket writing began most of what was published were poems rather than prose, and the recent past is followed by a contemporary tribute in verse to Alfred Mynn, the 1840s equivalent of Ben Stokes.

Another of the sources that Simons and Judd use is the first great piece of cricket writing, the words of Nyren from 1833 on the subject of Hambledon’s John Small. There is a short tribute to George Parr, a famous batsman from just after Mynn’s time, and an extract from James Lillywhite’s account of the first ever overseas tour in 1859. Also harking back to the days of the ancients are a few words on the subject of I Zingari, the famous wandering club that was formed in 1845.

Not all the writing is of quite such a vintage, and there is something off beat from as recently as 1978, and the centre spread is fully taken up by the famous line from 10cc’s Dreadlock Holiday. The various illustrations that crop up regularly are noteworthy both for their simplicity and the care that has been taken over their reproduction. Scorebook is certainly a high quality item and the one hundred copies that have been printed will surely sell out very soon. The book can be ordered directly from Grenville Simons whose email is thewisterians@hotmail.com

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