By Jeremy Lonsdale
The season of 1893 was a great turning point in the history of cricket in Yorkshire. Established three decades earlier, Yorkshire County Cricket Club won the County Championship that summer after years of mixed performances, disappointments and division. So began several generations of sporting success, stretching to the late 1960s. The book examines how people in all parts of Yorkshire embraced cricket, and in many different ways provided the energy and enthusiasm to create a powerful sporting force. Whether setting up or funding clubs, playing and watching the game, or nurturing young talent, thousands contributed to making cricket popular throughout the county. Based on extensive research, this book is the story of how, in Yorkshire, cricket truly became A Game Taken Seriously.
By Mark Rowe
Cricket has come a long way since players could only travel on foot, or by horse or cart. Some things never change; someone has to bat, someone bowl, someone be captain; everyone has to learn. The game is nothing without cricketers; yet the men (or women) on the field are never the full story, as The Summer Field shows. It includes spectators, journalists, ground-keepers, coaches, umpires, selectors and tea ladies. Nor is it only the story of the greatest players, such as Sydney Barnes and Herbert Sutcliffe; we also meet Will Richards, the Nottingham school-teacher; his friend George Wakerley, the job-hunting club professional; and Freeman Barnardo, of Eton and Cambridge. This history of cricket since the coming of the railways seeks to answer questions, such as: what was it like to play cricket in the past? Who played it, and why did they? And why are the English so obsessed with Australia?
Written by Simon Sweetman; foreword by Eric Midwinter
There is a peculiar poignancy about the cricket season of 1914. At the start of the season you could concentrate on the cricket (could Kent win the title again?) There were political worries about trade union militancy, the suffragettes and Ireland, but they did not include the possibility of a European war.
With the centenary of the outbreak there have been many books about 1914. Dimming of the Day is different in that it attempts to go through the season as it might have been experienced by a cricket follower at the time, from the usual early season hopes to the dismay of August as cricket seemed to become irrelevant, making substantial use of the newspapers of the year to give some feeling of the way things unfolded. It looks primarily at first-class cricket but does not forget the recreational game.
It also looks at the social divisions of the time as they were reflected through cricket and the way the newspapers reported the game. There is a foreword by Eric Midwinter which helps to set the year into its social and historical context.
This is the 2015 free book for ACS members, who will each receive one copy.
By Keith Walmsley
Double Headers throws light into one of cricket’s more intriguing, if inconsequential, corners by investigating the background of the two occasions in England when a county has played two first-class matches at the same time. It also identifies and explains the background to numerous other occasions from all around the cricketing world when teams ‘doubleheaded’, or even ‘triple-headed’, including over two dozen other instances in Britain, and even some instances in Test cricket.
By Peter Wynne-Thomas
This ground-breaking volume, produced by a man whose expertise in his field is unparalleled, traces how writers treated the history of cricket and its related ‘records’, from Britcher and Strutt in the late 18th century, through such pioneers as Haygarth and Ashley-Cooper to the present day.
Some 600 historians/statisticians are included, which gives an idea of the scope covered in these pages. The work encompasses the early national cricket annuals and, of course, gives a detailed account of how the various editors of Wisden moulded that famous Almanack to their tastes. Similarly there are extensive notes on the cricket magazines and the annuals produced by the first-class counties.
Annuals issued by the Test-playing countries, as well as their magazines, are discussed, together with their compilers, authors and editors.
Brief biographical sketches of many of the 600 authors mentioned are given. Much of this data has not appeared in print before. It covers at length the founding and development of the Cricket Society and the ACS, since both organisations have done so much to foster interest in the game’s statistics and history.
By John Shawcroft
Throughout the history of the County Championship – and certainly during its first 100 years – the Bank Holidays have been an important part of the competition’s calendar.
Indeed the significance of Whitsuntide is almost as old as the game itself and it appears in many of the early references. In the mid-19th century it was the favoured date for the showpiece matches between the All-England Eleven and the United All-England Eleven and, when Whit Monday and August Bank Holiday Monday were introduced as part of Sir John Lubbock’s Bank Holidays Act of 1871, which regulated public holidays, cricket soon recognised the possibilities.
The new holidays, coupled with the emerging Saturday half-day, were of massive social importance and their popularity was reflected in the huge attendances at some county matches.
By the time the Championship was officially recognised in 1890, the Bank Holidays had become cornerstones of the season. Traditional fixtures became virtually set in stone, with clashes between Nottinghamshire and Surrey, always at Trent Bridge over Whitsun and at The Oval in August, and Lancashire and Yorkshire sometimes producing quality only just below Test match standards. Elsewhere Kent met Hampshire, with Canterbury Week happily coinciding with August Bank Holiday, and Middlesex faced Sussex at Lord’s at Whit with the August return at Hove. Essex met Worcestershire, the Midlands enjoyed Derbyshire-Warwickshire and Leicestershire-Northamptonshire, and there was a West Country clash between Gloucestershire and Somerset. Glamorgan entertained the tourists and, lower in the pecking order, Durham,
still many years away from first-class status, played their neighbours, Northumberland.
Many of old traditions continued after the holiday dates changed in the 1960s, and even in today’s crowded fixture lists the Bank Holidays still have a role to play.
By Tony Barker
with foreword by Bob Appleyard
For ten seasons in the 20th century, the Bradford Cricket League provided the best competitive cricket in England. In both World Wars, the league’s clubs often fielded sides with two, three or more county or international players, some from overseas. With few other leisure opportunities, Bradfordians could for a few pence go to their local cricket grounds and see local lads – some of them home on leave from the forces – pit their skills against some of the stars of the time.
The clubs flourished in ways unimaginable even today. Their committees competed to hire and even fire household names and lesser mortals. Tony Barker, who as a boy watched league matches in the 1940s, skilfully tells a carefully researched tale of those times – the excitements, the money, the intrigues and above all, the cricket. It may be a local story, but it is one with a national overtone.