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THE CWC BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2014-10-02


The panel for the award was Stephen Brenkley (chairman), Murray Hedgcock, David Rayvern Allen, Andrew McGlashan, Andrew Miller.

The winner

Ten for Ten, Hedley Verity and the Story of Cricket’s Greatest Bowling Feat by Chris Waters

This sets out to put flesh on the bones of Verity’s singular, decisive contribution to a championship match for Yorkshire against Nottinghamshire in July 1932 and succeeds admirably. Verity took all ten wickets for ten runs and Waters was so intrigued that he determined over many years to discover how it came about. A chance meeting with Verity‘s son Douglas eventually propelled him into writing. It is a fascinating yarn, told with enormous panache and affection. Verity’s spell was breathtaking. The last seven wickets fell in 15 balls for three runs ‐ Verity himself described it as an avalanche from heaven. So is the retelling, full of quaint detail and bon mots, capturing the place and the time perfectly and charmingly chronicling the story of the great and ultimately tragic Hedley himself as well as his colleagues and opponents. It is truly a little wonder of a book.

The short list

On Pietersen by Simon Wilde.

Thought there was nothing new to say about England’s most illustrious cricketer. Think again. Not quite an original slant but an original take, here is a consistently profound, refreshingly even-handed assessment of the man and his career. Many people might have fallen into the trap of cod psychology. This author avoids it and plumps instead for sharp, accurate reportage (of course sometimes they’re the same thing). It is a skilful work that should complement, not compete with Pietersen’s own musings on his career.

Wounded Tiger by Peter Oborne ‐ A magnum opus if ever there were and destined to be garlanded throughout the next few months and years. It is less a history of Pakistan cricket than the history, painstakingly researched, brilliantly observed and calmly crafted considering the perpetual excitement. Not every twist and turn is chronicled in depth but, courtesy of MCC‘s archives, there is a fund of new information on the story of the kidnapping and subsequent drenching with buckets of water of the umpire Idris Baig on the MCC tour of Pakistan in 1956. It was all, incredibly, carried out by the tourists led by their captain Donald Carr and including Brian Close. Told in graphic detail for the first time it is but a small section of this formidable book but alone worth the price ‐ and it’s a wonder Pakistan ever agreed to play England again.

Wisden On The Great War edited by Andrew Renshaw. This is an anthology of the obituaries of those first‐class cricketers who lost their lives in, or, in a few cases, because of the First World War, many, most of them public school boys and officers which said something about the game then. But in the hands of Andrew Renshaw it has become much more than that, a stark reminder in this centenary year of the war of what we have or perhaps have not learned. Like his fellows on this short list he has gone the extra mile in terms of his research, simply humanising so many lives. It is a marvellous and touching book the reason for whose presence this year is obvious but it would have graced any year.

Masterly Batting ‐ 100 Great Test Hundreds edited by Patrick Ferriday might just have been another list of innings. It wasn’t because it applied some quasi‐science in selecting the candidates and then asked various contributors to write an essay on each innings. Thus was achieved a rare double in such compilations. Not only are the innings debatable but also the quasi‐science used in determining them. Three innings by England players made the top five, none by an Australian. With due respect to Mark Butcher, it may be the only list on batsmanship ever compiled in which Butch finishes ahead of Don Bradman without Jack Hobbs even making an appearance. Like all such projects it was meant to start an argument and succeeded admirably but the top innings of all time, judged to have been played by Graham Gooch, may gain wide approval and was matched by the essay describing it, an inside view dispassionate yet affectionate and evocative written by Derek Pringle.

 

DAVE FIELD


from BRIAN SCOVELL, the manager and former captain of the Cricket Writers’ Club CC:

We have lost a very popular yeoman bowler in Dave Field who died recently at the young age of 68. He worked for the Exchange Telegraph for many years and he was the Fred Trueman figure in our side. He wasn’t as quick as Fiery Fred but he put a lot into his fast medium bowling and used a similar vocabulary when a batsman failed to walk or play and miss.

Eric Brown, his great friend, has written in the Sports Journalists’ Association website that the game he enjoyed most was at Headingley in the late 1970s. In fact it was at Harrogate on July 2, 1978 at Harrogate CC, the year after we helped put on the CWC v Australia Press match there which featured Kerry Packer, Ian Chappell and a few others.

It was reduced to a 32 over match and we made 148 with Barry Stead, the former Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire left arm pace bowler scoring 43. Three Pakistan Test players Khan Mohammad, Mahmoud Hussain and Imtiaz all played and we lost. Dave Warner, our President, played in that match and sends his condolences to Dave’s family and he has asked me to represent him at the funeral because he is recovering from gout. The funeral is at Kemnal Park Cemetery, off A20 Sidcup By-pass, Chislehurst, Kent BR7 6RR at 12 noon on July 28 which will follow at a wake at Chelsfield Lakes Golf Centre, Court Rd., Orpington, Kent BR6 9BX starting at 1.30. Donations to Harris Hospice Care, St. Christopher’s Hospice, Lawrie Park Road, Sydenham, London, SE 26.

Dave lived in Orpington for many years and his wife Jacky used to score the matches where he played. They had no children and she died two years ago and I think losing his soulmate played a part in his early demise. People do die of a broken heart. I signed up Learie Constantine to play in one of our matches at Great Baddow in Essex and he scored 6 sixes in his 66. When he died, his devoted wife Norma died several months later.

I spoke to Dave at our dinner last year and he was in pretty good form, meeting his friends and talking about matches long past. He always had a good sense of humour. We’ll miss him.

 

DAVID FIELD


Dear Members

I know some of you will have heard the sad news that David died on Friday, 4th July, but I was waiting for more information before I sent out this round robin. David’s boyhood & lifelong friend, Roger Osborn, rang me on Monday to tell me the news.

David had been in a hospice, having a week or so respite care, when the staff there realised early on Friday that he needed to go at once to hospital. Roger, together with his wife and some of David’s closest friends, made their way to the hospital and were with him when he died shortly before four o’clock in the afternoon. Roger said it was a very peaceful & quiet ending.

The arrangements for the funeral are as follows:- Monday, 28th July at 12.00 KEMNAL PARK CEMETERY BR7 6RR Take the Sidcup bypass on the A20

After the service there will be a wake at:- CHELSFIELD LAKES GOLF CENTRE Court Road Orpington BR6 9BX

People wishing to send donations should send them (in David’s name) to:- Harris Hospice Care St Christopher’s Hospice 51-59 Lawrie Park Road Sydenham LONDON SE26 6DZ

Roger would like people, if possible, to let him know if they are able to go to the wake. You could try ringing Roger on 01923 893712 or you might catch him on David’s number (01689 823338), as he is frequently at the house, making arrangements.

Wendy Wimbush
Asst.Secretary, CWC
10th July, 2014

 

GERALD MORTIMER PLAQUE


A plaque in memory of long-serving Cricket Writers’ Club member, Gerald Mortimer, who died last December, was unveiled in the Press Box of Derbyshire County Cricket Club at Derby on Sunday, June 15.

For well over 30 years from 1970, Gerald covered Derbyshire’s fortunes for the Derby Evening Telegraph and was highly respected by Press Box colleagues around the country.

He was also the newspaper’s Derby County correspondent over a similar period and few provincial sports journalists could write as authoritatively on both the summer and winter games as he did.

Educated at Repton School and Oxford University, Gerald joined the Derby Evening Telegraph after ten years in teaching and from that moment on was totally committed to his new job.

The plaque was unveiled by The Cricket Writers’ Club president, David Warner, and among those present at the ceremony were Derby Evening Telegraph cricket correspondent, Mark Eklid, and two of Gerald’s closest colleagues in the Derby box, Neil Hallam and Nigel Gardner.

Derbyshire CCC chief executive, Simon Storey, also attended, and the Club provided a splendid buffet for the event.

The plaque reads:

The Cricket Writers’ Club
Placed in affectionate remembrance of
GERALD MORTIMER
17 July 1935 - 30 December 2013
The Derby Evening Telegraph’s man for all seasons

Gerald Plaque

Picture, by courtesy of David Griffin, shows, from left: Mark Eklid, David Warner, Nigel Gardner and Neil Hallam.