10 for 10
Author: Chris Waters
Rating: 5 stars
By Archie Mac
27 Jul 2014
You can tell a good read on most occasions after the first few pages. 10 for 10, draws you in early and keeps you engaged to the very end. Waters does what seems like the impossible; to keep interest for a whole book on one match and a three day match at that, which was heavily affected by rain.
The author to his credit has read about or interviewed everyone associated with the match, including the umpires and scorers. One would imagine, with all this data, it could be easy to fall into the trap of becoming lost in tangents or bogged down in stats. Thankfully this is never allowed to happen, even in the last section in which Waters allocates almost a quarter of the book to the players involved in the 10 for 10 match, which could have degenerated into a bore fest with copious stats and career highlights. Instead the author keeps these pen portraits brief and supplies interesting titbits.
Waters appears to have included every relevant and appealing anecdote about the participants in the match and a few that even the most ardent cricket historian will be unaware of. I personally enjoyed the famous discussion between the youngsters Hedley Verity and Bill Bowes with the retired old Yorkshire pros Wilfred Rhodes and Emmott Robinson, where the latter criticised Verity's 7-26 in a county match with the observation: "aye, seven for 26 an' it owt to 'a' bin seven for 22! Ah nivver saw such bowlin'. Whativver wa't' doin' to gie AK Judd that fower?" Bowes, the teller of the above tale, asks how anyone in the Yorkshire side could ever have a swollen head with that sort of guidance.
Hedley Verity was the performer of 10 for 10. It seems he was a man of great moral fibre and well liked by everyone he ever met. So Waters' deserves unstinting praise for his ability to not only maintain interest throughout the book but to achieve it with such a well known match - to cricket tragics at least - as well as such a likeable main character.
Verity showed all of the characteristics mentioned in this book, for his final challenge as a Captain in the Second World War. It was a sad end for a great bowler and it appears an even better man. For those who don't know the story of Verity's sad death Waters' coverage is the best I have read and takes the book from a fine read to one of the great cricket books.
Read 10 for 10
it is as good as cricket book literature gets.
Martin's review of 10 for10
can be found here