An Index to Ayres’ Cricket Companions

Published: 2022
Pages: 80
Author: Heavens, Roger
Publisher: Private
Rating: 3.5 stars

As cricketing annuals go there is, of course, nothing to compare to Wisden. That said many competing publications have come and gone over the years. Ayres’ Cricket Companion is just one of them and, to save me spending too much time on an introduction, I can simply reference an article I wrote on the subject a couple of years ago, that can be found here.

So ninety years after it last appeared the Ayres’ Companion graces cricket literature once more, albeit primarily in the form of a full index to what, in my admittedly biased opinion, is undoubtedly the second best of the game’s annual publications.

The result of what must have been many hours of hard work by Roger Heavens is a most usable index, divided into four separate sections. The first contains a listing of the biographical entries in the books, the second of the articles concerned with schools cricket, the third the scorecards that appear, and the fourth is concerned with historical subjects.

But there is a little more to the booklet than a research tool. The first nine pages are taken up with a history of the Ayres family, their business, and of course the Companion itself. In fact the chapter is in some ways similar to my own article, save that Roger Heaven’s effort is rather more thoroughly researched than mine, and in particular made me realise that the ultimate demise of the Companion was, probably, for reasons beyond those that I identified.

How many Ayres collectors are there out there? Not as many as there should be is the answer to that but, hopefully, now that this index is available more researchers will realise the value of this excellent little annual and interest in it and in the acquisition of copies of the Companion will increase to a level more in keeping with its quality.

Taking a break from his valuable work in continuing the occasional appearance of new volumes of Arthur Haygarth’s monumental Scores and Biographies series Roger Heavens has printed fifty copies of his index, which is probably just about enough but early ordering is advised. The book can be ordered through Roger’s own website, or for those in the Southern Hemisphere from Roger Page.

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