Lancashire Hotch-Potch

Published: 2023
Pages: 161
Author: Bond, Bob
Publisher: Max Books
Rating: 3.5 stars

For those like David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd, the writer of a brief but very clever foreword, this is the perfect book. As the man himself explains he collects books, but doesn’t read them, but he does like comic strips, and that is what Bob Bond’s new book from Max Books delivers.

Bond has been around a long time, as he went to art school in the 1950s, and he has been drawing cartoons for a living for much of the time since. Most of his work that has been published in book form seems to have been about football, and I believe this is the first occasion on which his cricketing output has been gathered together.

Cricketers often have the distinctive personalities and foibles that make them ideal subjects for the caricaturist, and I would also suggest that cricket matches, where there is plenty of scope for even a dull encounter to provide plenty of incident, are also ideally suited for the talent of the likes of Bob Bond.

That being the case it is in many ways surprising that it took until last year for anything like this to appear. Lancashire Hotch-Potch is by no means as ambitious a project as Arun Sengupta’s The Ashes: This Thing Can Be Done, but like that one it does draw on what in years gone by was a popular genre of cricket publishing, of which Arthur Mailey will always be the most memorable.

Within the pages of Lancashire Hotch-Potch Bond explores a variety of types of illustration, the best of which, in my opinion at least, are the comic strip style descriptions of famous matches. Many of them are from Lancashire’s successes from the Jack Bond era though to more modern times. But there are important Test matches too, some at Old Trafford but others elsewhere, and the involvement of a Lancastrian is not absolutely essential, as in the sample page below, dealing with the ‘ball of the century’.

After the comic strips come a series of full page sketches of great players, and all these are Lancastrians, the title of this part of the book being Lancashire Legends. The men featured are Johnny Briggs; Archie MacLaren, the brothers John Tommy and Ernest Tyldesley, Ted McDonald, George Duckworth, Eddie Paynter, Cyril Washbrook, Roy Tattersall, Farokh Engineer, Neil Fairbrother and Andrew Flintoff, a selection that perhaps give away Bond’s personal cricketing heroes?

The next part of the book is entitled Old Trafford, and is a series of individual sketches, as is the next section, A Lancashire Miscellany. Some of these are humorous cartoons, and others caricatures of particular individuals. The Miscellany features some of the less well remembered stars of Lancashire cricket over the years, and some of these are where Bond is at his best as a caricaturist, not least with Bumble himself.

The book closes with a collection of Bond’s work from half a century ago when he contributed two series to The Cricketer, The Fight For The “Ashes” and Cricket’s Dramatic Moments. These were two strips, each of which takes up half a page rather than the full page of those that begin the book. These are straight reporting rather than humorous, and a reminder of the sort of thing that was popular in the more serious boy’s comics that appeared in those days.

Very much light entertainment rather than a substantial contribution to cricket literature Lancashire Hotch-Potch is summed up perfectly by Bumble in that foreword; Memories, poignancy, nostalgia and fun. Copies are available from the publisher and, given the speed with which the UK to Australia postal service currently seems to be working, by the time this review appears likely from Roger Page as well.

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