Treasures of Victor Trumper

Published: 2023
Pages: 45
Author: Cardwell, Ronald and Cattlin, James
Publisher: The Cricket Press Pty Ltd
Rating: 4 stars

In no small part due to the efforts of men like Ronald Cardwell and James Cattlin Victor Trumper is, realistically, the most eulogised man to have played cricket. Forget Bradman, Grace and even Sobers. Trumper is the man who cricket tragics fawn over above all others.

It is not difficult to see the reason why, and the words of AG ‘Johnny’ Moyes with which this new booklet closes are a vivid illustration; When he came he opened the windows of the mind to a new vision of what batting could be. He lifted it to heights never before known, gave us thrills we never before experienced. He was the originating genius of a new outlook in batsmanship, and those of us who saw him in his most gracious days can never forget.

To add to the legend Trumper seems to have been the most personable of men. He was modest, generous and, as if to seal his iconic status, only 37 when he died in 1915.

As far as memorabilia relating to the great man is concerned recent years have seen a Gideon Haigh book inspired by George Beldam’s famous photograph of him jumping out to drive, and there has also been Peter Schofield and Peter Lloyd’s extravaganza, so is there room for another book on the subject?

The answer to that is that there most certainly is, in no small part due to the skill with which the items that are showcased have been chosen. Many are well known images and pieces of ephemera, but others give the authors free rein t0 display their talents as researchers.

One example is a two page letter written by Trumper to a young fan. The sight of Trumper’s impeccable handwriting and signature is impressive enough, but Cattlin and Cardwell go through the content of the letter, and then trace the story of the 12 year old boy who wrote the letter, and even track down a photograph of him in later life.

In early 1903 Trumper scored 335 in around three hours for Paddington against Redfern in a grade match. One unexpected inclusion is a copy of the original scorebook showing the Paddington innings. The scorebook is a mess, which is no criticism of whoever did the job as the books weren’t designed to cope with such huge innings, a problem aggravated by Trumper’s opening partner scoring 172. Nonetheless an explanation of the difficulties the scorer faced is given, a full scorecard and statistical analysis is produced, as well as an account of the game.

Presented in a landscape format the production standards of Treasures of Victor Trumper render it a thing of beauty. Each of the treasures inside is pictured in full colour and is accompanied by a succinct and well written description. I have in the past occasionally wondered whether it might be possible to have too much of a good thing where Trumper is concerned. My sneaking suspicion, now confirmed, is that the answer to that is a resounding ‘No’ and any twenty first century Trumper aficionado will be delighted to own this delightful book, which will shortly be available from Roger Page in Australia and Boundary Books in the UK.

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Martin Chandler