Graham Kersey – A TributeMartin Chandler |
Author: Williams, Richard
Publisher: Williams, Richard
Rating: 3 stars
Graham Kersey kept wicket for Kent and then Surrey in the early 1990s. By 1996 he was Surrey’s first choice behind the stumps and a useful batsman to boot. Only 25 at the time of his death he never had the opportunity to fulfill all of his potential. Spending the northern hemisphere winter of 1996/97 playing grade cricket in Brisbane on Christmas Eve he suffered severe head injuries in a road traffic accident and died on New Year’s Day.
In 1997 Richard Williams was a retired laboratory technician who had been a Surrey member for more than 20 years. He knew Kersey, but only as a nodding acquaintance, yet felt sufficiently moved by the loss of the young wicket keeper to compile, and I use that word after some deliberation, this fine tribute to a promising young cricketer.
The most frequently quoted tribute to Kersey comes, perhaps unsurprisingly, from county teammate Alec Stewart who described him as without doubt the most popular man on the staff – a true players player, but the best comes, in this reviewer’s opinion anyway, from Williams in this tribute when he makes the observation that one felt that had Surrey fielded a team of Graham Kerseys they would have been unbeatable.
Returning to my use of the word compile that is prompted, in the main, by the fact that the overwhelming majority of this book is statistical. Williams has put together an exhaustive record of Kersey’s performances in First Class and List A cricket for each of the two counties for which he appeared. He goes on to repeat the exercise insofar as second eleven cricket is concerned as well as selecting a number of other matches in which Kersey was involved. It must have been a labour of love and despite the existence now of Cricketarchive there is much in what Williams has produced that still could not be readily found elsewhere.
The statistical analysis will not, in truth, appeal to too many but there is some writing. After a short introduction there is an eight page biographical tribute to Kersey and, most impressively, a six verse poem dedicated to him and written by a 15 year old schoolgirl, Carly Bland. The poem was originally read at Kersey’s memorial service and who Miss Bland was and why she was involved is not apparent, but the poem demonstrates a maturity beyond her tender years and I find it difficult to believe that she has not made a living out of her writing – perhaps there is someone out there looking at this review that can let us know what became of her?
A perfectly valid question is why, a quarter of a century after it appeared am I reviewing a booklet which, with the greatest of respect to Graham Kersey is not going to appeal widely and, by dint of its limited distribution in the first place, going to prove well nigh unprocurable for anyone in whom it does excite a flicker of interest. The answer to that one is that I had singled out the booklet to review in a series of short reviews that we did some years ago of similar publications so, at the time it was a policy decision. For some reason however this one got lost in cyberspace but, having found it again in a pre-destruction search of my last but one lap top it seemed a shame to waste it. Of course for Surrey supporters and those of us who do recall the 1990s it might appeal, in which case I can’t claim to know any way in which the booklet can be sourced, but I have seen it two or three times, and never at any great cost, so keep looking!