Wednesday, 12 October 2016

All Wickets Great and Small

Well the English cricket season is over, the flasks and Tupperware's, washed and packed away. Umbrella's and anoraks stored safely and blanky had the last wash and put back in the airing cupboard, what on earth would I find to do with myself????............

........and then a parcel dropped onto my doorstep and I was asked to read a book..................a cricket book to be precise. 'All wickets, Great and Small' to be even more precise.

This book has been written by John Fuller, who many of you will know is the head honcho of the 'Cricket Yorkshire' website.

Now, I am an avid reader and have at least 4 books on the go at any one time ( a throwback to A'level English studies). However from the moment that I read the introduction, I knew that I would not be reading any other book until this one was finished.

How could I possibly put down a book that in the first few paragraph, extolled the virtue of the cricket tea ladies ( a job that I held with two clubs for over 4 seasons). As well as singing the praises of scorers, whose job is of  vital importance but rarely given the recognition it deserves.

Yes this book had my attention.

It  is about the passion that Yorkshire has for  all things cricket, from back yard, through the club system to 'HQ' at Headingley.It is about the people who play and work behind the scenes.  The highs and lows of clubs, regeneration and cessation.

Yes for any cricket lover ( and not necessarily from Yorkshire) this is an interesting read.

Outside of Yorkshire ( actually outside of Bradford) who would have known that there was Sunday School Cricket League?
Yes the Bradford Mutual Sunday School cricket league has been around since 1896 and is still going strong.
But do they sing 'This little light of mine' in the club houses after the game?
Sadly the answer is no as the 'Sunday School' side of it died out many years ago, but they have been warned not to get changed in public!
makes you wonder what goes on!!!

And whilst on the subject of Religion this book shows how cricket transcends any denomination and culture, which in this day and age is a joy to hear.

It also highlights how social media has been the friend of the clubs and helped them to get their message across, some of them proving that they are lyrical geniuses!

As you take a tour  around the clubs and  grounds, which make up the many tiered league system, that is Yorkshire cricket, from the faded glory of Park Avenue, Bradford, scene of past international and county matches, (which is hoping to be reborn in several  phases), to the plight  and  the struggle that some clubs have just to survive another season ( with some failing), it makes you realise that cricket in Yorkshire is not just a passion it is ingrained.

One part of the book filled me with an uncontrolled rage, as I read about the wilful destruction, vandalism and  theft from cricket clubs, ( and this is country wide problem).

How  hearts are ripped out of clubs along with copper piping,  I still do not understand how burning kit,bats and mowers in the centre of the field could make anyone feel that they had, had a good night out!

When I finally got to the chapter on North Marine Road,Scarborough, I was in my own personal nirvana.
Scene  of many epic cricket battles when Yorkshire CCC head to the  town for the festival.
But for  myself, finding out more about this  fabulous ground with the 'proper' pavilion was a revelation.

The description of some of the ground has spurred me to plan my own 'odyssey' next season to have a peep at some of these little gems.
This shouldn't be too difficult as I now know the public transport system around Yorkshire very well, thanks to the information  provided in the book.

I am not going to give too much away about this  wonderful, well researched and written book by someone  with a  love of all things cricket.

All that I will say is I hope that the passion and fervour of cricket in Yorkshire continues to be nurtured.

If you haven't read this book yet, get it on your Christmas list or better still just buy it now.

All Wickets Great and Small  by John Fuller is published by Pitch Publishing and available now!

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