A Tale of Hendren and Three Bouncers
– Ian Peebles (1969)
Alf Gover remembers his first visit to Lords, which was in 1929. He tells his own story with becoming modesty, so I will pass it on as nearly to his version as I can get.
Alf arrived at the professionals’ dressing room in good time and had no difficulty in recognising the only occupant of the downstairs room. Pat Hendren greeted him very civilly and, having ascertained his name, asked him what he did. “I’m a fast bowler”, said Alf. “Are you very fast?” asked Pat. “Yes, I am”, replied Alf. “Well”, said Pat, “be careful how you bowl to me. I’m not as young as I used to be, and I don’t like fast bowling so much.” Well, thought Alf, I’ve got one in the bag.
When Alf had his first bowl at Pat he had three balls to go to finish the over. The first was naturally a bouncer and it unnaturally landed in the Father Time stand. The young Alf attributed this to blind panic and tried again, and this time it only cost him four. The third bouncer went the way of the first for six, the Umpire called over, and Jack Hobbs stopped to speak to Alf.
“Why are you bowling bouncers at Pat?” he enquired. “Because he doesn’t like fast bowling,” Replied Alf.
Jack’s expression of mild surprise turned to blank astonishment. “Who on Earth told you that?” he asked. “He did”, said Alf. At that Jack smiled. “Then I
am telling you,” he said, “that Pat is still as good a player of fast bowling as anyone I know.”
Source: ‘The Joy of Cricket’ page 101-02