Tag Archives: memories

Nineteen months at Lord’s

Today is my last day working at Lord’s.  I’m off to a new job at Southwark Council.

Working here has been an amazing experience and I thought I’d share a few highlights with you –

1. The Long Room on Match Days

Being in the long room on match days is a real pinch yourself/shivers down the spine moment, probably for everyone, but particularly for someone who is never ever going to be a member of the MCC.  During most matches I find an excuse to pop across, taking some leaflets or making a vital check that the paintings are hanging straight!  My favourite moment by far was seeing Strauss and Cook go out to bat on the first morning of my first test at Lord’s.

It's just a bit busier than this on match days!

It’s just a bit busier than this on match days.

2. The collection

Less obvious perhaps – but I think my very favourite thing about being at Lord’s has been working with the collection.  I’m really proud of the progress I’ve made getting it catalogued and in some kind of order and I’ve loved all the unexpected ‘gems’ I’ve found along the way.

Dedicated librarian at work

Dedicated librarian at work

You can see some of the results of my work, and that of the rest of the cataloguing team, on our on-line catalogue.   (http://mcc.adlibhosting.com/).    New entries are being added all the time.

3. Taking the Field visits.

Running Taking the Field has been fabulous all round, but I especially enjoyed getting out there and visiting some of the clubs.  Particular highlights were the beautiful Wirksworth and Middleton in Derbyshire (www.takingthefield.com/clubs/wirksworth-middleton-cricket-club) and warm, friendly Ovington in York (www.takingthefield.com/clubs/ovington-cricket-club).

Ovington playing on the Knavesmire.  It was hot and sunny everytime I went there - convincing me that it must always be like that in York.

Ovington playing on the Knavesmire. It was hot and sunny every time I went there – convincing me that it must always be like that in York.

Wirksworth & MIddleton.  They had the most virbrant youth section I saw anywhere and are based in such a beautiful part of the country.

Wirksworth & MIddleton. They had the most vibrant youth section I saw anywhere and are based in such a beautiful part of the country.

4. People

My next highlight is all the people I’ve got to meet here.  It was great bumping into past and present stars of the game on a daily basis such as Sir Ian Botham, Stuart Broad, Kevin Pietersen, Nasser Hussain, Mike Brearley – and of course meeting my all time hero Andrew Strauss.  But even better was getting to know my wonderful colleagues who mean more to me than all the cricket celebrities in the world (everyone now, 1…2…3… ‘aahhhh’)

Here's me with Rob our superstar archivist who I'm going to miss loads.

Here’s me with Rob our superstar archivist who I’m going to miss loads.

Rob at work with Alan the other archivist.

Rob at work with Alan the other archivist.

Andrew, my fellow librarian.  We formed a life long bond working together for the first few months crammed into a long narrow windowless corridor full of cardboard boxes of unsorted uncatalgued annuals.

Andrew, my fellow librarian. We formed a life long bond working together for the first few months crammed into a long narrow windowless corridor full of cardboard boxes of unsorted uncatalgued annuals.

Liz, a dedicated and knowledgable cricket fan and fantastic cricket photographer.

Liz, a dedicated and knowledgable cricket fan and fantastic cricket photographer.

Rowan, a former archivist who knew absolutely nothing about cricket.  So little that when we were once taling about where to put the model of Sachin Tendulkar she thought we were refering to the man to her right wearing the hat!

Rowan, a former archivist who knew absolutely nothing about cricket. So little that when we were once talking about where to put the model of Sachin Tendulkar she thought we were referring to the man to her right wearing the hat!

5. Lord’s in winter

There’s nothing quite like watching cricket at Lord’s on a beautiful summers day, but when you see the ground in mid-winter you feel like you’re really part of the place and are getting a proper behind the scenes view.  I am sad I won’t get to experience that again this year.

whole ground in snow

So goodbye to Lord’s and goodbye to everyone following my blog.


Filed under archive, club cricket, Cricket, cricket grounds, goodbye, Librarianship, Lord's Cricket Ground, MCC, test cricket

My Ashes

Here are some pictures from the last 4 days.


The Queen!

I had to hang right out of the window to catch a glimpse of her.

I had to hang right out of the window to catch a glimpse of her.

The members queued all down the street to make sure they were among the first in the ground...

The members queued all down the street to make sure they were among the first in the ground…

...and then ran like mad to reserve a good seat!

…and then ran like mad to reserve a good seat!

...or a prime picnic spot.

…or a prime picnic spot.

Managed to find a great seat to watch a bit of cricket at the end of the day.

Managed to find a great seat to watch a bit of cricket at the end of the day.

Last minute team talk on day 4.

Last minute team talk on day 4.

After working here through the winter a full ground is just an amazing sight.

After working here through the winter a full ground is just an amazing sight.

(Pictures taken my myself and MCC Archivist Alan Rees)


Filed under Ashes series, Australia, Cricket, cricket grounds, England, London, Lord's Cricket Ground, MCC, MCC, Queen, test cricket, WG Grace

War and Cricket

Obviously war is an enemy of cricket.  War has taken the lives of many cricketers and first class cricket ceased for the duration of the 2nd world war.  It also disrupted club cricket, mainly because members were away with the forces but also because cricket grounds might be needed to help the war effort, TTF’s  Wortham (St. George’s) ground housed an anti-aircraft gun battery! http://www.takingthefield.com/stories/cricket-lovely-cricket-%E2%80%93-tale-wrotham-stgeorge%E2%80%99s-cricket-club  Here at Lord’s we hosted an army camp during the war.  But clubs could also gain from the war.

Ovington's lovely pavilion is a converted bomb shelter!

Ovington’s lovely pavilion is a converted bomb shelter!

Ovington CC’s pavilion is an old bomb shelter and I found good example of cricketers making use of war in a 1940 article in The Cricketer Annual where we are given an account of a platoon who tried to play cricket in the forest as more suitable ground was unavailable.

“It was Corporal Plugg who most brutally exploited the conditions…

Private Sockett, his first victim, avowed that he watched the Corporal advancing to the crease, and saw his arm come over.

His next impression was of blue sky through branches, viewed from the stretcher which took him to the First Aid Post.

When Sergeant Bone was removed to Pullbright Infirmary to be furnished with a fresh set of dentures, it became clear that steps must be taken to reduce casualties.

A meeting of the Sports Committee decided that the obvious remedy was the provision of bowling-screen.

This was all very well, but funds would not go to it, the district was so remote that the finished article would probably take weeks to arrive, and the unit’s genius of improvisation was not immediately equal to the occasion.

All available canvas was covered with nauseating camouflage, and sheets were no longer being issued.  Indeed a pair of the latter, obtained locally at some cost, proved unsuitable, and the problem was still unsolved when the enemy aircraft visited our area.

The occasion proved happily that our movements had been well concealed from aerial observation, for, after dropping numerous flares, he departed without releasing the incendiaries and high explosives we had grimly and gaily anticipated.

It also provided us with some beautiful white parachutes, to which the flares had been attached, and these made admirable bowling-screens, so that the season ended without further casualties.

The only sufferer from Field-Marshal Goering’s reconnaissance was Corporal Plugg, who went down to second in the bowling-averages, but, as I have heard unofficially that a spare length of parachute is providing Mrs. Plugg with a Siren Nightgown, I feel that he can do without the coveted cricket-ball

Sergeant Bone and Private Sockett heartily agree with me.”

(From Down in the Forest by G.D. Martineau)

That’s a nice story, like something out of Dad’s Army.

bat and ball

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Filed under club cricket, Cricket, cricket grounds, England, History, Lord's Cricket Ground, MCC, war

Death of a Cricketer

Obviously a big death is in the news at the moment.  How we should remember her? what type of funeral? etc.  It’s got me thinking about death (cheery I know) and reminded me of the week I spent cataloging memorial and funeral service brochures.  Some of them were moving, some sad, some uplifting.  Here are a few of my favourites.

Larwood mem

As you may know if you read my ‘Villains?’ a few weeks ago Harold Larwood was a somewhat controversial figure due to the part he played in bodyline bowling.  Yet many believed his disgrace was ill deserved and the Rector’s words reflect this in the opening address.

“Harold lived as he bowled – honestly, steadfastly and wholeheartedly.  For various reasons, which are now part of the game’s history, he was not always appreciated but despite this he continued his spell with fortitude and preserved his own integrity.”

A very nicely put tribute I think.

Don Bradman mem

I like this one because it’s nice and joyful.  I love the picture on the front, it’s so 1930s and reminds me what incredible times this man saw (as well as being an incredible cricketer).  I think the cartoon on the back with the umpires signal of ‘out’ is touching and funny.

owzat DonMy very favourite though, makes me feel sad.

Hedley Verity mem

Unlike the first two, his life was cut short violently and prematurely   At just 38 he died in Italy as a prisoner of war from wounds received during an attack on a German battalion in Sicily.  Before he went missing in action his last known words were “keep going, keep going” urging his men on in the attack.  At first there was hope he might have survived his wounds and be in a prisoner of war camp but word was received of his death and the Telegraph & Argus paid this moving tribute on 2 September 1943…

Wherever good cricket is appreciated, wherever sportsmanship is accepted as an indication of character, wherever men are honoured not because they are wealthy or gifted, but because they are in the true sense of the word men, there will the name of Hedley Verity be ever respected.

The humble last resting place of Hedley Verity.

(Memorial and funeral service brochures are among the many interesting and quirky items that can be viewed in the Lord’s Museum, Archive and Library.  Catalogue available on-line soon.) As well as a brave and well respected man he was a great bowler with the best first-class average in his day and the only man to take 14 wickets in a single day in a test match.  His death was a terrible waste of talent.

Here’s me hunting for interesting things to show you.


Filed under Australia, bowling, cataloguing, Cricket, death, England, History, injury, Librarianship, MCC

Six of the best

Zoe and graceI’ve now been working on Taking the Field for six whole months, and to celebrate I’ve selected my six very favourite digital stories from the website.  Please listen to them and let me know if you agree.

Here’s the count down…

At six – A Good Place for People to grow up


ABPh116a - Friday night youth (2)

I like this one partly because I’m just drawn to the lovely voices.  It’s an aspect of oral history I really enjoy, the tone of a voice gives so much more feeling than reading words in a book.  As to the content, I love the fact that the club has been a home to Fred for such a long time and that it’s just as central to the lives of today’s children as it was in the 1950s.

At five – How a feather and a glacier mint were a must for cricket coaches in Chirbury in the 1930’s


This shows that the neglect of cricket in schools is not a new development.  I wish I could have met Mr Shaw, it sounds like he provided the type of cricket lesson I would have responded well to!  I’m looking for someone to teach me cricket at the moment but no one I know who plays will volunteer, if only I had a Mr Shaw in my life.

At four – In at the Deep End


CWPh289 - Club Day 11 (action)

I just love the drama of this story, it’s well told and really easy to imagine the moment and the bowler’s emotion.  (Plus I just love the ‘ASBO’ line!)

At three –  Grounds (1): The tea ladies and Royal Hill Road


I love the historical documents and photos in this one, you really feel like you’re getting a good look into their history.  The video’s great too, (although I didn’t know who Brian Clough was and had to look him up).  My favourite thing about this one is that it once again demonstrates the amazing contribution women have made to their clubs since the very beginning.

At two – Playing for the Pits


Ernie Barber rescue team

I feel this one gives a fascinating glimpse into a lost world.  I was brought up in a mining village (although not in Wales) so I think this story represents part of my heritage, I can just about remember how much the closure of the pits transformed our community.  It makes me quite sad.

At one – The Final Over


My very favourite story!  It’s another sad one, but I actually find it quite uplifting.  I won’t spoil it – listen for yourselves.

Darky waiting to go in - away at Savile Stars 2011a

(If any of you are in clubs/know of clubs who’d like to get involved with TTF, please get in touch – you never know one of your stories might make my next top six!)


Filed under bowling, children, club cricket, Cricket, cricket grounds, digital stories, History, oral history, school cricket

‘The Denton Plan’: the answer to bad umpiring?

Alastair Cook trudges back to the dressing room after a bad lbw decision.

Alastair Cook trudges back to the dressing room after a bad lbw decision.

The debate over what to do about bad umpiring is rife again today after Cook was given out lbw to a ball that was heading wide of off stump.  DRS might have saved him, but is it really the answer?  DRS was introduced to reduce umpire errors but only seems to have stimulated more arguments over its effectiveness and it’s effect on the flow of the game.  It is not being used in the current India v. England test series and in a recent blog Mike Selvey argues that it has made the quality if umpiring worse  (http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2012/dec/03/india-england-drs-umpires-worse ).  And what about cricket at other levels?  Can the Counties afford DRS?  What about club cricket where even providing neutral umpiring can be a challenge in small towns where everyone knows everyone (listen to Montgomery CC members talking about the match where an umpire gave 7 batsmen out lbw in one innings off his son-in-law’s bowling! http://www.takingthefield.com/stories/1960s-club-bowling-legend-bert-davies-and-7-lbws-one-innings).

But fear not cricket fans!  My colleague Alan Rees has discovered the answer to umpiring woes buried deep in the archive.  I present…The Denton Plan!


As you can see the plan is pretty detailed and I couldn’t quite fit it all on my scanner, but I hope this gives you the gist.  Basically the only way a batman can be out is run out or bowled – Bat v. ball is the Denton mantra.  This plan was received by the MCC in 1965 and was surprisingly rejected as it was felt it would received little favour from cricket fans, but what do you think?  Denton believed it would not only solve all umpiring problems but would also make the game more exciting.

Here he lays out all the problems the Denton Plan will solve.  (Problems he claims are mostly caused by Australians!)

Here he lays out all the problems the Denton Plan will solve. (Problems he claims are mostly caused by Australians!)

I have to admit that I’m not entirely convinced.  It might make cricket simpler but the potential complexity of the game is one of the reasons I fell in love with it.  I like a good relaxing draw now and then, I even enjoy bad umpiring decisions deep down – they give you something to discuss and get angry about!  Let me know what you think, could this be the future?


Filed under archive, Cricket, England, India, MCC, umpiring

more than a mink coat…

Women: central to a cricket club?

Women: central to a cricket club?

Something that has struck me in listening to the Taking the Field stories is how central women have always been to most of the clubs, these days clubs have thriving girls and women’s teams but in the past women were also important as spectators, administrators or for under taking the vitally important role of making the cricket tea!  Here at the MCC women have not had such a central role for quite as long as shown in this very sweet letter found by MCC archivist Robert Curphey among the secretaries correspondence.

lady letter 2

A copy of the reply was found along side.

lady reply 2

I’m not sure I like the way he agrees that her ‘friends are entirely correct’ – thus she is foolish!  Guess she’s had the last laugh as Betty Archdale, Edna Barker, Audrey Collins, Carole Cornthwaite, Jackie Court, Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, Sheila Hill, Norma Izard, Diana Rait Kerr and Netta Rheinberg became the first honorary lady members in 1999.

It makes me feel very sad that women had to wait until 1999 to be allowed to become members of the MCC, but I suppose perhaps I should just celebrate that we got there in the end, though I wish it had been in time for Madeline Gale to get her dearest wish.

Hear some happier tales of women and cricket at  http://www.takingthefield.com/ . My Favourites include :

The sky’s the limit –  http://www.takingthefield.com/stories/skys-limit

The girls and girlies of Spondon C.C. –  http://www.takingthefield.com/stories/girls-and-girlies-spondon-cc

The tea ladies and Royal Hill Road –  http://www.takingthefield.com/stories/spondon-ccs-grounds-1-tea-ladies-and-royal-hill-road

(Letters supplied by Robert Curphey at the MCC Archive.  Photograph of ‘Miss Cricket Queen’ from Yorkshire County Cricket Club: American tour 1964, supplied by MCC Library).


Filed under archive, Cricket, lady members, Librarianship, MCC, women's cricket

The Spectator


I’m currently in the process of putting together a new digital story from Rodley CC, Malcolm Woodhead, Mike Wright and John Fenton talk about the most memorable matches they have played in over their cricketing careers.  I’ve never played cricket, but they got me thinking about my most memorable matches as a spectator – and here they are!

Yorkshire Tea Village cup Final 2012, Reed C.C. vs. Woodhouse Grange C.C.  Lord’s 9th September 2012


An unexpectedly beautiful September day after another disappointing summer.  A perfect day for watching cricket.  The match wasn’t particularly close or thrilling and I didn’t know anything about the teams playing, but I’ve chosen this match as it was one of my nicest days as a spectator.  I’d been working at Lord’s for over six months and was starting to feel really at home there.  My husband had finally found a job after nearly 11 months of stressful job seeking.  I was feeling full of optimism and the joys of late summer!  There was a great atmosphere and it was just a wonderful day’s cricket.

4th Test.  England vs. India.  The Oval.  22nd August 2011.


I remember during days 3 and 4 of this match watching on TV thinking ‘come on England, make in 4-0…just not yet!’  I’d booked tickets to day 5 back in November the year before because they were cheap, I’d had no idea at the time it might mean the chance to see England crowned the world number 1 test side.  I was fairly disappointed not to see Tendulkar’s 100th 100 (he was out on 91) but overall it was a fantastic day.  It was pretty clear early in the day that there was only going to be one result and the crowd were able to just sit back and enjoy it.

World Cup 2011.  11th Match, Group B: India v England at Bangalore, Feb 27, 2011


England versus India again but a very very different match!  I was watching on TV this time and also I didn’t enjoy this match very much so it’s here for drama rather than fun.  When India racked up 338 I thought England didn’t have a chance, especially after their scare against the Netherlands, but almost as soon as the chase began I started to believe.  This is possibly my favourite innings ever from Strauss, and I’m generally a test cricket fan, but he was so impressive,  proving all those who said he shouldn’t be in the One Day squad wrong.  While he was there I was confident England would win as the required run rate dropped over after over – I would have loved to see him there to the end but couldn’t begrudge Zaheer Khan his wicket with that perfect yorker.  After that viewing became less pleasant, after one ball – England have no chance, the next – I think they can do this!  Many said that a tie was probably the right result – but I still maintain Swann could have run 2 off that last ball.

3rd Test.  England vs. Pakistan. Headingly. 6th August 2006.


I’d been watching cricket for a while by this point but I always identify this as the day I fell in love with it.  The 363 stand between Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf was painful to watch at times.  It looked like there was nothing England could do, but this was proper test cricket and I learnt that anything can happen!  This was also the day I fell in love with Strauss as captain, throughout the long long partnership his demeanor in the field remained thoughtful, determined and positive.  With him as captain I felt there was always hope and started to think maybe the Ashes that winter wouldn’t be so awful after all, England had been hit with injuries but with Strauss at the helm…I don’t want to talk about that decision that occurred the following month as the memory is still painful (and also makes me rant and froth at the mouth!)

4th Test.  England vs. Australia. Trent Bridge.  28th August 2005


I imagine this match will be on a lot of people’s lists but for me it has special significance as day 4 of this match was the first cricket I ever saw.  I’m not sure how I managed to get to my mid-twenties without seeing a single ball bowled but I did.  I grew up in a very anti-sport household and the flashes of football I’d witnessed confirmed to me just how unpleasant sport was so I just assumed cricket to be the same and it never entered my head to give it a chance.  On this day, however, I was incredibly hungover and lay dying on the sofa, I hadn’t the energy to protest or care when my husband asked if he could put the cricket on.  What I then saw before me through my blurry vision was utterly hypnotic, I didn’t know the rules or who’s side I was supposed to be on, but it didn’t matter – I just couldn’t look away.

So that’s my top five in my career as a spectator.  If you’d like to hear a more active account of top cricketing experiences keep an eye on http://www.takingthefield.com Rodley CC members will appear there to talk about their favourite matches soon.


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Filed under Cricket