County Cricket Matters (Issue 10)Martin Chandler |
Author: Chave, Annie (Editor)
Publisher: County Cricket Matters
Rating: 5 stars
Reaching double figures has not, I am delighted to report, in any way dulled the creative talent that goes into what has become a significant mouthpiece for the many of us who value the county game and red ball formats.
In the past I have taken to giving a brief mention in these reviews to each of the articles that appears in this splendid quarterly journal. I see no reason to change that approach so, at risk of being out as the inflexible traditionalist I am, I will do so again.
There is nothing in CCM10 that is not well worth its readers’ time, but there are two stand out pieces, albeit for different reasons. The first is Annie’s interview, this time with Gus Fraser. I have to admit to not having started out with particularly high expectations of this one, but it is an excellent interview. Well thought out questions are answered frankly and carefully by a man who I have always admired, the more so from now on.
And then there is Simon Hughes, writing The IPL and Professional Cricket. It speaks volumes for Annie that she is prepared to give a platform to a man who is in favour of the IPL, and equally so for Hughes for setting out his arguments so eloquently and with due deference to the fact that he knows he faces an uphill battle to convince his reader of the case he seeks to advance. He hasn’t won me over, and I doubt he’ll persuade many CCM readers he is right, but it is always good for the objectivity to be reminded of the other side of an argument.
On a bibliographical theme there are two contributions. First of all Duncan Stone revisits the subject matter of his fine book, Different Class, and I am sure that reading it the many who so far have not done so will be persuaded to go out and get a copy of the book. Following from that is James Mettyear and a preview of his forthcoming book, Field of Dreams, which is a history of the Hove ground written with Patrick Ferriday and timed to coincide with the old ground’s 150th birthday. If the authors’ names alone were not enough to do so the support for the project of the Sussex Museum must surely be a guarantee of quality.
Previous issues of CCM have seen a number of writers explain their introduction to the county game and the development of their passion for it. In CCM10 Katy Scott takes her turn, and her story will doubtless strike a chord with many
David Griffin is many things, including Derbyshire’s Heritage Officer, and he has penned an interesting piece about the price/cost of watching county cricket. He makes a number of important points, most notably the absurdity of his county having no scheduled Saturday play this summer after 18 June.
Broadcasters put in a couple of appearance. First of all Kevin Howells, a veteran of more than thirty years as a cricket commentator sets out some thoughts on the game. At the other end of the scale three Worcestershire supporters and podcasters, Jim Dale, Peter De Sandberg and Darrel Butler discuss their county.
Not too far distant from broadcasting is the internet, social media and supporter’s web communities, and Paul Bird contributes an interesting piece on the creation and development site of the Somerset site, grockles.com. A summary of the fantasy cricket site, cricketxi.com also appears, from Rob Dinsey.
Worcestershire put in another appearance in Jon Batham’s article on the subject of TV antiques expert Philip Serrell. Perhaps surprisingly given his day job Serrell is not a collector of cricketing memorabilia, but he is most certainly a cricket lover and, in his day, a fine player who on occasion rubbed shoulders on the field with the likes of Imran Khan and Basil D’Oliveira.
Three regular features in CCM are Craig Tranter’s quiz, Princely Entry’s crossword and Derek Payne’s almost defamatory skit on the subject of life at the ECB. All three are present in CCM10 and in fine pre season form even if, no doubt due to increasing familiarity with their methods, my performances in both quiz and crossword showed a distinct improvement. Payne’s work is brilliant, but then after this winter’s Ashes debacle he had plenty to work with.
Returning to the current state of the county game there are contributions from Jeremy Lonsdale and Andy Higham. The former reports on the meeting of the House of Commons Select Committee meeting that was prompted by the disquieting events arising out of Azeem Rafiq’s treatment at Yorkshire. In many ways following on from that Higham takes a critical look at the way the county clubs are run.
Which leaves just one contributor, and regular readers will have note the lack of any historical content thus far. That is more than made up for by the fine piece of research that is Peter Thomson’s look at the role of the Royal Family in the county game, which takes us all the way back to the 18th century.
So once more CCM scores a maximum, with no sign at all of its standards slipping. As always it can be purchased here.