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Cricket News & Views

Skipton real ale strong on appeal

THE Skipton brewery Copper Dragon are producing another real ale brand with a cricket theme to build on the popularity of Fred Trueman Ale, named in the memory of the England fast bowler and launched a year ago in the north and midlands.

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Fred Trueman is to be made available on draft, and the same hoppy amber brew will be sold under the name of Owzat outside the Trueman heartlands. Success in the World Cup for England over the next month would only improve the beer's prospects.

Copper Dragon's managing director Steve Taylor said that the four per cent strength Fred Trueman Ale, launched as a limited edition by Dickie Bird MBE, had been very popular in Yorkshire, given Fiery Fred’s close links and love of the region. "We’ve decided that the same ale will also be sold under the name of Owzat," he said, "so that real ale drinkers without the generational or geographical affinity to Fred Trueman will have a choice as to what they order.

"It’s the first of five limited edition hand crafted ales that Copper Dragon will be launching in 2011, with the next creation currently being developed with a view to launching in May. It’s a perfect time to re-introduce the cricket theme after England’s impressive Ashes victory Down Under."

Established as recently as 2002, Copper Dragon supplies hand crafted Best Bitter, Golden Pippin, Scots 1816, Challenger IPA and Black Gold cask ales to over 2,000 pubs throughout the UK

In 2008 Marston's renamed one of their best beers 'Old Umpire' from Old Empire to mark the summer of Test cricket. Pints were tasted and approved by the ECB first class umpires, who visited the brewery in Burton during a pre-season training course.

Old Umpire was an extremely high-quality brew, 5.7 per cent golden coloured beer with a flavour described by the makers as "a tempting aroma of biscuity malt, floral hops, vanilla and toffee, with hints of citrus fruit, brewed in the style of an Indian Pale Ale." If Owzat can match the flavour, drinkers with cricket affinity will be well servved.

Posted by Author Name
14/02/2011 15:48:37

Fielding collision -- and broken leg

THERE is nothing that legislation or equipment can do to prevent serious accidents in the deep field. Kyle Wilson has become the latest player to suffer at first class level, breaking his leg during a one-day match in Johannesburg.

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Wilson, 21, in his first season with Border, was fielding in the CSA Provincial one-dayer against Gauteng at the ABSA Oval on November 28 and collided with team-mate Lucky Pangabantu as they sprinted for Pieter van Zyl's lofted straight drive, converging from long-on and long-off with eyes only on the ball. Play was held up for several minutes after this incident.

The best known, and more serious, collision occurred at Kandy in 1999 during the first Test between Sri Lanka and Australia when Steve Waugh's face met Jason Gillespie's leg at deep square leg as they both raced for a catch from Mahela Jayawardena's sweep shot.

The collision was so violent Waugh felt he was lucky not to have broken his neck, escaping with wrecked nose. Gillespie broke his left wrist and right leg, both players having to be airlifted to hospital.

CHARLIE SAYS: It has happened to me in a Radlett club match in the 1970s, running full tilt for a lofted straight drive from long-off. The converging collision with the Herts fast bowler Nick Draper came as a shock I still remember to this day. My shoulder hit his sternum and he was severely winded, when the incident could have been far worse for either of us.

Posted by Charlie Randall
02/12/2010 12:21:05

Epps book bought for £150,000-plus

AN anonymous buyer has paid a stunning £151,250 for a single edition of William Epps’s Cricket. A Collection of All the Grand Matches played in England from 1771 to 1791 . The price, a record for one cricket book, more than doubled the experts' prediction when the tome was auctioned at Christie's on November 17.

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Published in Rochester in 1799, Epps's book was considered by many as the most important historical publication on cricket in the later 18th century. It was intended to supplement the publications of Samuel Britcher, which ran from 1790 to 1805, and was compiled from the manuscripts of noblemen such as the Duke of Dorset and Earl of Tankerville.

Not even the British Library holds a copy, and the MCC, who sold off a list of items for £685,225, possessed two copies before the auction.

The painting called The Young Cricketer – Portrait of Lewis Cage by Katharine Lloyd, was sold for £28,750 at well above the eestimated price of £4,000-6,000. This charming portrait, having hung in the Pavilion at Lord’s for the past 60 years, is after an original by Francis Cotes RA and was commissioned to coincide with the opening of the Lord’s Museum in the 1950s. MCC offered the painting following the acquisition of the original portrait.

Other highlights from the auction included Samuel Britcher's A Complete List of All the Grand Matches of Cricket in the Year 1793 , selling at £55,250. Britcher was an official scorer for Marylebone Cricket Club, and the first person to produce an annual scorebook on a regular basis. MCC recently secured a seemingly unique volume of his work, which means that the club now owns the only complete series of his scores.

Adam Chadwick, curator of collections at MCC, said: `MCC is delighted with the results of the sale. All lots offered at Christie’s were duplicate items from the MCC collections and the considerable funds realised will be dedicated to future acquisitions as the club seeks to broaden and strengthen what is the world’s finest museum, library and archive devoted to cricket.’

Posted by Charlie Randall
22/11/2010 15:33:56

MCC 'grand matches' up for auction

THE MCC are putting some fabulously valuable and rare cricketana up for auction with Christie's in November, including three books on 'grand matches' published in 1799 with an estimated value of more than £50,000.

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The MCC announced that their auction of sporting books and pictures would take place at Christie’s auction house in South Kensington on November 17. It would hardly take a master salesman to say that the occasion offers a unique opportunity to own a piece of cricketing history from a curated selection of 100 lots.

A complete set of Wisden Almanacks seems likely to be the most valuable lot, but the outstanding items of great rarity would be the William Epps set Cricket: A Collection of All the Grand Matches played in England from 1771 to 1791 , published in Rochester, Kent.

Also on offer will be the almanack's less well known predecessors, most notably three editions of the rare scorebooks produced by Samuel Britcher (1792, 1793 and 1796). Estimates for these are £40,000-60,000, £40,000-60,000 and £20,000-30,000 respectively. The importance of these works is highlighted by the fact that their author, Britcher, was an official scorer for Marylebone Cricket Club, and the first person to produce an annual scorebook on a regular basis.

Epps's books are considered by many as the most important historical publication on cricket in the later 18th century, compiled from the manuscripts of noblemen such as the Duke of Dorset and Earl of Tankerville. His work was intended to supplement the publications of Britcher, which ran from 1790 to 1805.

All the MCC lots to be offered at Christie’s are duplicate items from the collections, and proceeds will be used by MCC to sustain and care for the core collections and facilitate further strengthening through acquisitions.

Adam Chadwick, curator of collections at MCC, commented: "MCC Collections continue to attract an increasing number of admirers, and in 2009 we set a record having welcomed 60,000 people through the doors. We are committed in our aim to continue developing the accessibility of the collections, and to maintaining them as the world’s most important celebration of the history of cricket.

"Following advice from the arts and library committee, the MCC committee has authorised the sale of a number of duplicate items from the collections. The majority of items will come from the MCC Library collection and we are pleased to offer international cricket enthusiasts, as well as MCC members, the opportunity to bid on items from the library at Lord’s. The proceeds will provide MCC with the much needed funds required to enhance and conserve the core collection."

A familiar sight for any Lord’s visitor is a portrait of The Young Cricketer – Portrait of Lewis Cage by Katharine Lloyd, which has hung in the pavilion at Lord’s for the past 60 years (estimate: £4,000-6,000). The charming portrait is after an original by Francis Cotes RA and was commissioned to coincide with the opening of the Lord’s museum in the 1950s. It is offered by MCC following their recent acquisition of the original portrait.

The first independent works on cricket ever published were verse accounts of cricket matches, mock heroic poems in the genre established by Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock (1714). Highlights of the MCC auction include the first of these humorous poems, James Dance’s Cricket. An Heroic Poem , London (1744), and three other rare cricket, which appeared as 18th Century pamphlets.

John Duncombe’s Surry Triumphant and John Burnby’s Kentish Cricketers were both written by clergymen and both published in 1773, and MCC are offering a magnificent volume, in which these two poems are bound together. Estimates range from £18,000 to £25,000. The fourth of these 18th Century poems is the anonymous The Noble Cricketers … addresss’d to Two of the Idlest Lords in His Majesty’s Kingdom - estimate £7,000-10,000 - a 1778 satire on two indolent, cricket-loving aristocrats, the Duke of Dorset and the Earl of Tankerville. They were accused of preferring to play cricket while England was losing the war against the American colonies.

Public viewing:

Saturday November 13: 11am - 5pm

Sunday November 14: 11am - 5pm

Monday November 15: 9am - 7.30pm

Tuesday November 16: 9am – 5pm


Wednesday, November 17: 10.30am

Posted by Charlie Randall
23/10/2010 09:53:49

Revolver game has 'egalitarian' plus

REVOLVER cricket, a soft ball training game started in Queensland this year, has been received well in England so far since its introduction in May. It delivers what the inventors claim -- that all players are involved all the time, which does not happen in orthodox formats.

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A coach from Stanmore CC in Middlesex described Revolver as an "egalitarian" game, because all players, even the weaker ones, make important contributions. One of the flaws of orthodox cricket is that a batsman might face only a few balls, even in the Ken Barrington pairs, and might not even reach the crease at all.

In existing formats such as Kwik Cricket,the strongest players tend to dominate at the expense of the less able. This causes frustration (and anger sometimes), and periods of boredom discourage young players from the age of about 10 to about 15. Revolver solves this problem.

Revolver is interesting and ingenious because it is real cricket with a competitive edge. The idea of splitting 15 players into three teams is the key. Every batsman faces 12 balls, no more and no less, and the game is rigorously logged on a special scoresheet. Numbered coloured bibs are required and the game works best with revolving stumps and a dead soft ball such as Incredi-ball.

Revolver has been trialled by Charlie Randall at Radlett CC, the Hertfordshire club, and at Stanmore. Anyone interested in seeing this game in action is welcome to contact for a demonstration. This is one of the most potent developments in club cricket for a long time. If you think this must be an exaggeration, you would believe it after seeing the children enjoy a competitive Revolver game.

Graham Pulsford, a watching Radlett parent, noted that the movement in an under-10 Revolver game kept the boys on their toes. "All were involved and it seemed to hold their interest. That is very unusual at this age," he said. "Last week in a more orthodox game half the boys were lying around on the ground looking bored. Usually at the end of training the boys start rushing off when they see others starting to leave, but the boys playing Revolver didn't seem to notice."

Mark Shashoua, parent watching the same game, said: "The tracking on the scoresheet is amazing. At this age they're facing a large amount of deliveries. Otherwise they usually face much fewer. It's very good."

Arif Rahman, assistant coach at Radlett and a parent, commented: "It's quite interesting the way the game is set up. Everyone gets a fair go at bowling, batting and fielding, and I could see that the children enjoyed the game. The only thing is to get used to it."

Pulsford added: "With Revolver, however good or bad you are, you get a go at bowling and batting -- and the players know that. One young boy was virtually shunned last week in a normal game because he wasn't very good at all. He was very reluctant to play Revolver at the start. Now he says he wants to play next week. It's remarkable."

Posted by Charlie Randall
11/06/2010 12:43:50

Rare Wisdens to benefit Oxfam

OXFAM stands to gain thousands of pounds from the proceeds of the first four editions of Wisden almanacks on offer at Bonhams book sale in Oxford on June 29.

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The books have been put up for sale with the auctioneers on behalf of the charity, and the first edition alone, published in 1864 by the cricketer John Wisden, could raise about £4,000. The three subsequent annual editions have usually attracted lesser bids, but all four carry the title The Cricketer’s Almanack before the name was changed in 1869 to Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack , still familiar to this day.

Wisden has been published without interruption since 1864, even during the two world wars. This makes it the world’s longest running sports reference book as well as the most famous. "In all that time," Bonhams say, "it has only had 18 editors and has carried articles by all the great names in cricket writing." Including Charlie Randall.

In contrast to recent editions, with their 1,500 or so pages, the first edition had only 112 pages and contained non-cricketing information such as the winners of the Oaks and the dates of the battles of the English Civil War. The Bonhams book specialist at Oxford, David Walker, said: "It’s a thrill to be able to offer such wonderful, historic books especially in such a good cause."

Full sets of the almanack attract big money. An unbroken set from the first year 1864 to 1984 was auctioned at Bonhams in London in November 2009 for £90,000, well above the expected price. Though this was not a full set up to the year of sale, the books were handsomely bound and offered in fine condition as the top lot.

A proper full set was sold at auction by Graham Budd at Sotheby's for £120,000 in 2006. The following year a price of £144,000 was apparently achieved at auction, the highest on record. Certainly early gaps can be expensive to fill. For example the year 1896 is notoriously rare, once fetching £24,160 in 2007 as an original hardback with surface wear.

Posted by Charlie Randall
08/06/2010 10:20:03

Song releases Caribbean party time

THE official song for the ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies, Bring It by a duet of Mr Vegas and Fay Ann Lyons, has been released and has already been given air time on Caribbean radio stations and dance halls. To many pop music lovers the sound might be disappointingly hip-hop until the song warms up about halfway through.

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And it is noticeable that soca queen Fay sings better than Mr Vegas, but the package should prove catchy enough when amplified at the cricket grounds in May. The ICC describe Bring It as "contagious", which might be taking the effect a bit far. Nearer would be 'slightly catchy'.

The audio of Bring It can be heard on

Tickets for April 30 through to May 16 are all reasonably priced -- in fact dirt cheap by UK standards. They have been on sale since last October, and the ICC have reported a good take-up in the West Indies and from further afield for this popular global event, potentially the biggest contributor to the Caribbean economy for a long time unless the wounds of the last World Cup have not healed. It depends whether fans are prepared to forget the bad mistakes by the ICC in 2007 such as excessive restrictions on crowd behaviour and over-priced tickets that kept the locals away.

This time, everyone has been assured, will be different. The ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: "We want this event to be a celebration of nation-versus-nation cricket with all the atmosphere, fun and excitement traditionally associated with the game in the West Indies. So, we are calling on the people of the Caribbean to ‘Bring It’."

"We invite you to bring your biggest voices. We invite you to bring your loudest noise makers. We invite you to bring your most outrageous costumes and facepaint. The world will be playing. The world will be watching. It’s time for Twenty20 international cricket, West Indies style."

First-time visitors to the West Indies might be shocked at the frequent lapses of grammar they hear, but they will enjoy the experience after a few rum punches. And an official message to "the cricket fans of the world" has been broadcast on the event website by the Bring It Posse, the tournament's cricket-loving gang and the nearest equivalent to the Barmy Army.

In case you haven't noticed, we enjoy our cricket a little different in the Caribbean. We live it. We breathe it. We Bring It for every match. With that in mind, consider this an invitation - an invitation from some of the craziest cricket fans in the world to you. We invite you to bring your biggest cheers. We invite you to bring your loudest noise makers. We invite you to bring your most outrageous costumes and facepaint.

You call yourself a cricket fan? Well this is your chance to Bring It, West Indies style. The world will be playing. The world will be watching. It's time to Bring It!

Sincerely, The Bring It Posse

Ticket prices range from three US dollars for ground entry at single group stage matches to five dollars for double-headers and eight dollars for entry to Super Eight matches. Prices for the semi-finals in St Lucia range from $10-20, and general admission to the men’s and women’s finals in Barbados on May 16 will cost $20 with a premium stand ticket available for only $40. Under-16s will gain entry free of charge for all group stage matches and significant discounts at all other fixtures. Admission to the women’s group matches in St Kitts is free to all.

Supporters from overseas can choose from a range of official tour operators signed up with service provider Cricket Logistics.

UK: Gullivers Sports Travel, Howzat Travel, ITC Sports, The Cricket Tour Company, Sporting Getaways.

India: Cutting Edge, Pyramid Travels, Tui India, SOTC Sports, Kuoni Travel, Cox & Kings.

Australia: AST Sports, Cricket Australia, Sportsnet Holidays.

United States: PKT Tours.

United Arab Emirates: MMI Travel.

Ireland: Sadlier Travel.

If the general public would like to organise travel packages to the ICC Twenty20 2010 in the West Indies, they can find all the information they need at

Any parties interested in becoming an official tour operator are asked to contact Shirley Rattray of Cricket Logistics by email on for an information pack.

Group A: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia

Group B: Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Zimbabwe

Group C: South Africa, India, Afghanistan

Group D: West Indies, England, Ireland

Match schedule, ticket prices:

Information on tour parties:

Posted by Charlie Randall
09/03/2010 13:06:15

Hark! Spring and Wisden approach

THE content of the 147th Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack will be exceptionally interesting this spring because 2009 was an eventful year. The third edition to be edited by Sunday Telegraph cricket correspondent Scyld Berry is due to be published on April 15.

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Unrivalled writers such as Mike Atherton, Matthew Engel, Gideon Haigh, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Sir Michael Parkinson and of course Charles Randall have contributed. Among many features, there are articles on the year cricket lost its innocence, from the time the Sri Lanka bus was ambushed by terrorists in Lahore on March 3, 2009.

A lively record of the Ashes series in England includes input from Andrew Strauss, the captain, and Andy Flower, the coach. Perhaps even more exciting, by Randall, there is a look at the umpires' new bond with technology and an account of the England Lions tour of New Zealand. This alone makes the 2010 edition excellent value at £45.

Perhaps the most famous sports book in the world with its daffodil dust jacket, the almanack has been published every year since 1864.

Posted by Charlie Randall
05/03/2010 10:12:50

Adam Ball: Kent's special talent

THE Bexley all-rounder Adam Ball, 16, has been called up by England for next month's Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand to replace Calum Haggett, of Somerset, who withdrew on medical advice.

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Ball, a Kent Academy left-armer already in the ECB fast-bowling elite group, scored a 118-ball century for Bexley in the Kent League last July, an achievement at Tunbridge Wells that marked him out as a player of special promise at such a young age. The Beths Grammar School pupil was a deserved winner of the league's Young Cricketer of the Year award at the end of the season.

The England Under-19 squad, captained by the Yorkshire off-spinner Azeem Rafiq, are due to leave on Jan 1 for a week acclimatising in Wellington before reporting to Christchurch for the start of the World Cup. England play two warm-up matches against Papua New Guinea Under-19 on Jan 11 and New Zealand Under-19 on Jan 12.

England’s first match in the group stages will be against Hong Kong at Lincoln University on Jan 16, followed by Afghanistan at Queen Elizabeth II Park in New Brighton on Jan 18 and by the holders India at Lincoln on Jan 20. The top two teams in each group will progress to the quarter-finals. The final will be held at Lincoln on Jan 30.

England Under-19 Squad

Adam Ball                Kent

Michael Bates          Hampshire

Paul Best               Warwickshire

Danny Briggs           Hampshire

Nathan Buck            Leicestershire

Jos Buttler              Somerset

Chris Dent              Gloucestershire

Matthew Dunn         Surrey

Ateeq Javid            Warwickshire

Jack Manuel           Worcestershire

David Payne           Gloucestershire

Azeem Rafiq           Yorkshire, capt

Joe Root               Yorkshire

Ben Stokes            Durham

James Vince          Hampshire

Posted by Charlie Randall
22/12/2009 14:35:08

Beach, bats and bullying in Madras

THE ban on informal cricket at the main beach of Madras, announced by the local government in early November, has stirred up a lively debate among the townsfolk and further afield.

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Marina beach, part of a strand extending more than seven miles, attracts thousands of visitors at evenings and weekends, and there were complaints that flying cork cricket balls and scuffing sand could spoil the day for families with young children -- except that much of the cricket takes place on the service road running along the front, and the objection to that encroachment is that parking access is reduced. One could almost assume that parking is at the root of the city council's plans.

Though the equipment is crude and the matches strictly make-up social events, the council decided to ban playing altogether for "beautification" of the area, sparking a furious response. Despite the valid objections of beach users, including joggers, the point has been made there is nowhere else in the locality for young people to play games. Another point is that the presence of such widespread activity restricts a potentially vast influx of motor vehicles, a situation that could be said to add to the appeal of the beach not reduce it.

When police broke up games and chased away the participants for a second consecutive Sunday, about 2,000 people, mostly residents along the stretch, blocked traffic in protest, supported by refreshment vendors angry at losing business. One protestor D.J Ramani, 53, made a typical comment to The Hindu newspaper. "My dad used to play cricket on the Marina when he was young," he said. "We have been playing here for so long and it is a part of our everyday life." Useful open space used to exist at the Government Estate and the May Day Park where several thousand people could play cricket, but the facility was lost to building development.

Some observers even mentioned that international cricketers used to play at Marina in their youth, though citing the beach as a breeding ground for talent might be taking a romantic notion too far.

Make-up cricket has a strong social attraction. In England a first class match at Arundel, for example, will feature several lively games in the background, depending on the size of the crowd. During meal intervals at any ground the outfield fills with people playing with bat and ball. The hard cricket ball is strictly banned, though realistic soft versions with seam can be easily purchased at low cost. A tennis ball is often used to test the skill of a batsmen -- out caught is difficult to avoid. In India players are more likely to use cork balls and bat-shaped pieces of wood.

Here are some of the comments to The Hindu on the Madras question. Sunil Kumar: "The open space in metro cities is falling prey to concrete and glass structures. It is a telling sign of our age, where a simple game of cricket cannot be played in abandon. It has become a luxury. It is sad that concerned government is not ensuring maintenance of parks and playing grounds for public. It seems to have been forgotten that playgrounds make better citizens. Beach cricket has its own charm and it should not be stifled."

Meera Srivats, an expatriate living in the United States, said what she most missed from Madras was the bhajji stalls, the aroma of agarbathi emanating from all the shops and, above all, the gully cricket. "Strolling along the beach, many a times even at my most depressed state, the shouts and laughter of those kids have planted a grin on my face. One goes to the beach to liven up one's spirits; it's not only the sea and the sand but also the people that makes our Marina a home away from home. Before our Government issues furthur orders in the pretext of making our Marina a better place to be, they should stop and think, what is it that actually makes it a better place in our hearts."

Commissioner of Police in Madras, T. Rajendran, told The Hindu it was mainly a problem of urbanisation and lack of open spaces and that a solution would be found soon. "Sports activities are very important for children," he agreed.

CHARLIE SAYS: This is amazing. There must be a compromise available to please all parties. Make-up, or gully, cricket is a wholesome pastime that should be applauded, and it can be very addictive. To their lasting shame, the MCC still do not allow spectators on to the outfield at Lord's for this purpose. Most county grounds are better aware.

Posted by Charlie Randall
03/12/2009 13:05:05
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