The Forgotten Floodlit EncounterMartin Chandler |
Author: Battersby, David
Publisher: Battersby, David
Rating: 3 stars
Including his other new booklet that we are reviewing this week David Battersby has now produced seven bite sized contributions to cricket literature to go with two full length books. As always he has chosen a subject that no writer has approached before and, this time, one that it can be said with confidence no one is likely to look at again.
In light of that comment it is perhaps a little ironic that the backdrop to the booklet is one of the most talked about Ashes series of all time. I need only mention the year, 1981, and anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of cricket history knows exactly what is being referenced.
The 1981 Australians’ schedule would shock their 21st century counterparts. They played six Test matches, three ODIs, 13 First Class matches against the counties and four more one day matches, including one in Glasgow. If that weren’t enough after what must have been a dispiriting final Test at the Oval they had to, before going home, drive more than one hundred miles westwards to play a forty over floodlit match against Gloucestershire. It was played as part of the celebrations to mark the opening of a new arena in Cheltenham, Battersby’s home town. It wasn’t primarily a cricket ground either, but an athletics track.
Oddly the Australians chose to field first after winning the toss, and went on to lose, it being clear that the game had a good deal to learn about evening cricket played in part under artificial light. Nonetheless it seems a good time was had by all, not least no doubt by Battersby as he researched his subject. He wasn’t at the match, but found a couple of men to speak to who were. One was a supporter who provided some interesting memorabilia. The other was Chris Broad, who opened the batting for the county and scored 44, but sadly he could remember almost nothing of the match itself.
Cricket history has, a little disappointingly, taken the Broad route and until now what was only the third floodlit game played in England has nothing but a scorecard on CricketArchive to record that it ever took place. Thanks to David Battersby however we now have an entertaining account of a curious evening for the English game which is well worth reading, particularly I would suggest for aficianados of the game’s shortest format.
There are sixty signed and numbered copies of The Forgotten Floodlit Encounter available directly from the author at a cost of just £4 including postage to UK addresses. As always with Battersby’s productions we are happy to pass on contact details to anyone who emails us. Those in the southern hemisphere who are interested can, as an alternative, order through Roger Page.