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Young Bradman

Written by Mark Rowe

How did Donald Bradman do it? He had an ‘eye’ for the ball; he could concentrate, and had an appetite for runs. Yet it’s one thing to have the ability, and another to have a chance to prove it. Hence Bradman called his rise an ‘adventure’, from being talent-spotted, invited to nets at the Sydney Cricket Ground aged 18, in October 1926, to first Test selection in November 1928.

Few have considered the sociology of 1920s small town Australia and Sydney’s volunteer enthusiasts that made the time and place ideal for a Bradman. His story speaks to us still. That no batsman has been as extraordinary as Bradman since (despite the prediction of Sir Neville Cardus) begs questions about questions and the ‘academies’ of elite sport. If an uncoached small lad from a small town with no more than a keen family background in sport could do it, why hasn’t anyone else?

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All Ten: The Ultimate Bowling Feat

Written by Chris Overson

For a bowler, taking all ten wickets in an innings is the ultimate statistical feat. It is also a very rare one: in nearly 60,000 first-class matches it has been achieved only 81 times.

All Ten chronicles each of them, from Edmund Hinkly’s at Lord’s in 1848 to Zulfiqar Babar’s at Multan 161 years later, with match descriptions, scorecards and much more besides.

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A Guide to the Memorials of Cricketers

By Michael Ronayne

Famous cricketers and cricket people are commemorated in many ways – gravestones, plaques, benches, road names, gates, books of remembrance, stands and cricket grounds. This guidebook contains all the information needed to plan a visit to the memorial of a favourite cricketing personality, including satellite navigation details, directions and the exact location of the site. With colour photographs and brief descriptions, it contains details of memorials to almost 400 of the major players and personalities in the world of English cricket. Compiled over many years of research by Michael Ronayne, it is also a memorial in itself as the author sadly died after a short illness having just completed the final manuscript. The book is therefore a fitting tribute to his meticulous efforts.

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A Game Taken Seriously: The Foundations of Yorkshire’s Cricketing Power

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.

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The Summer Field: A History of English Cricket since 1840

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?

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Dimming of the Day: The Cricket Season of 1914

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.

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