A brief history of Lancashire’s first 100 centuries in first class cricket

Published: 2022
Pages: 28
Author: Tebay, Martin
Publisher: Red Rose Books
Rating: 3 stars

Red Rose Books’ publications are, with an occasional dash of Norfolk thrown in for variety, almost exclusively concerned with writing on the subject of Lancashire cricket. As the title of Martin Tebay’s latest makes clear there are no changes in that just yet, but maybe there will be in the future, as the idea he had for this one would work with all the other counties as well, and indeed with any cricket team with a decent history behind it.

The booklet here comes in two parts. The first is just what the title suggests, a list of the first 100 centuries scored for the Red Rose, with a worthwhile commentary on that. It took almost 34 years to reach the landmark, and between 1869 and 1882 only ‘Monkey’ Hornby (with eight) made a century at all, and there are plenty of other interesting nuggets of information to be gleaned from the list.

The second part of the booklet is the story of the innings, and indeed the entire match, in which the hundredth century came. I suppose this might be where my idea for a series of booklets falls down because I dare say there will be some fairly humdrum matches involved for a number of counties, and few are likely to be able to focus on as good a match as Tebay had to look at, when in the summer of 1900 at Southampton Lancashire skipper Archie MacLaren led from the front with a second innings century that put the match out of Hampshire’s reach.

A brief history of Lancashire’s first 100 centuries in first class cricket has the same depth of research that we have come to expect from this publisher. It will inevitably appeal more to aficionados of cricket history than those who esteem the modern game, and equally more to Lancastrians than supporters of other counties, but it is nonetheless recommended to anyone with an interest in the county game in the late nineteenth century. The booklet appears in an individually signed and numbered limited edition of 50 copies, the first 13 of which are hardbacks. They are available direct from the publisher here.

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