Tag Archives: Denis Compton

Other sports

I have tried to get into other sports - but cricket is the only one for me!

I have tried to get into other sports – but cricket is the only one for me!

I don’t mind a bit of tennis but apart from that cricket is the only sport I like.  I think football is frightful (I hate the noise, and don’t understand all that running about or why the crowd are so excited the whole time), I don’t really get athletics as a spectator sport either especially the running, I mean I quite like running myself but why anyone would want to watch people running fast in a straight line is beyond me.  Other sports I just find generally uninteresting.  I realise this attitude puts me in the minority, most cricket fans do enjoy other sports.

I found an example of this in my latest TTF digital story (http://www.takingthefield.com/stories/squash-tennis-hockey-and-more) where two Wimbledon CC members discuss the club’s strong relationship with other sports – and this is not unusual.  Even at the highest level of cricket players can be multi-skilled.  The relationship between football and cricket used to be especially close in the days before cricket was a 12 months of the year occupation.  Football used to be viewed as a good way for county cricketers to keep fit in the winter.  Some players even played to a professional level in both sports.

Denis Compton: cricket AND football star.

Denis Compton: cricket AND football star.

The most famous example is probably Denis Compton who, on top of his cricket heroics, played football for Arsenal and England and wrote a coaching manual on football.  He cites one of the main draws of this dual career (aside from love of the game) as the financial benefits.

“Professional football, providing you make some headway and join a good club, can be a most happy medium by which one earns a living.  Especially, from a financial point of view, is it worth dove-tailing with cricket, for a man at the top of the  ladder receives £12 a week during the soccer season, plus £2 for a win, and £1 for a draw, and during the summer – again if he is on top pay – £10 a week.”

From ‘Playing for England’ by Denis Compton

I guess sport didn’t pay quite so well back then, these days most pick just one sport but there’s still quite a long list of footballing cricketers.  We have a football medal in the MCC museum collection that was presented to Jack Hobbs, Ian Botham played for Scunthorpe United and Viv Richards played in the 1974 FIFA World Cup qualifiers for Antigua – to give just a few examples.

Football medal awarded to Jack Hobbs in 1905 - now held in the MCC Museum

Football medal awarded to Jack Hobbs in 1906 – now held in the MCC Museum

(Bibliography – Playing for England by Denis Compton, Cricket in Summer, Football in Winter by Kevin Moore published in the MCC Magazine issue 5)


Filed under Cricket, digital stories, England, football, History

Weird Exhibits

When I published ‘Comb but not forgotten’ (http://www.takingthefield.com/stories/comb-not-forgotten) a few weeks ago I stated that there was nothing as strange at Lord’s museum as Malcolm Woodhead’s old comb collection.  Today I decided I’d better actually check whether or not this was true so I consulted Heather Thomas our museum’s conservator, and she found me a selection of item’s that definitely rival Malcolm’s combs!

Heather: the gatekeeper of the weird and wonderful.

Heather: the gatekeeper of the weird and wonderful.

The first contender is quite famous.  This poor sparrow was hit and killed by a Ball during a MCC v. Cambridge match in 1936.  To honor the poor creature’s memory he was stuffed and mounted and displayed with his killer!  Now I think that’s pretty weird, but it’s a very popular exhibit.

MCC8553I chose this second item, mainly because I thought it was something else.  I spotted it while Heather was going through a draw of cricket balls.


I cannot believe I’m the only person who thinks this looks just like a piece of dung!  Well it isn’t apparently.   It’s identified as “darkly coloured amorphous lump of unidentified material, possibly some form of resin”.  The old catalogue card had it down as “BALL of raw rubber, used by native boys in the GOLD coast, 1905” – but this hasn’t been confirmed by the museum experts so I’m still going to think of it as old dung – which is a pretty weird museum exhibit outside a dedicated dung museum.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get weirder…(When Heather handed me this final exhibit a gagged).

Drum roll please…

Denis Compton's hip joint

…may I present…Denis Compton’s hip-joint!

There’s no joke – it really is the body part of a famous cricketer.  It was presented to us by his surgeon who removed it when Compton had his hip replaced (obviously).  It’s quite disgusting and definitely qualifies as a weird exhibit.

If anyone can beat that I will be impressed.



(The Lord’s Museum doesn’t just have weird stuff, we do have nice things too.  Please come and visit us).


Filed under Cricket, History, Lord's Cricket Ground, MCC, MCC