Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Birthday today

Today was my birthday - seen by my relatives as very special thirtieth birthday. I had a party with half sister Jo on Saturday to celebrate it, and will go with her and Ruth on Monday to get a present.

As a collector of old county cricket, I was naturally pleased at my 1927 Wisden. It offers an interesting look at England’s regaining of the Ashes in a damp summer and saw Lancashire regain the County championship despite Yorkshire being unbeaten. The role of attacking bowlers like McDonald and Freeman (after whom I name myself on many websites!) can be seen in Lancashire and Kent both winning more games than Yorkshire while conceding a higher average of runs per wicket. Both McDonald and Freeman could win games simply through enterprise.

Backed up by the fact that Yorkshire’s batting even with the utterly incomparable Herbert Sutcliffe (how on earth did Sutcliffe not get one vote in the 1999 Wisden Cricketer of the Century poll?!) was often unenterprising and that county’s loss of many days to the weather, the Championship changed hand for the first time since 1921.

Apart from 1926 to 1930 when Lancashire reigned supreme, Yorkshire won eleven of thirteen County Championships between 1922 and 1939 (they were denied 1936 by a similar situation to 1926 and 1934 by Ashes calls). This era, though is in many ways the greatest age of cricket, with a probably unrivalled number of remarkable players, many of whom can be seen in the 1927 Wisden. It was a pity Roger Page did not have a 1926 edition, which I would have found still more valuable with:
  • five bowlers taking 200 wickets - a feat last achieve by “One” Tony Lock in 1957 (I put the “One” because of James Freud's 1999 song “One Tony Lockett”. Given the terrible standard of spin in England since Underwood declined, I have always felt Freud could have deleted the “ett” and redone the verses.)
  • England’s driest month of the twentieth century in June (believe it or not, many parts of England were completely rainless that month)
  • a graphic illustration of how seventeen counties fairly well-matched in bowling could produce a very uneven competition through disparity in batting strength which ranged from Test strength with sides like Yorkshire, Surrey, Lancashire or Middlesex to Minor Counties with sides like Glamorgan, Northamptonshire, Worcestershire and Derbyshire.
The down side of my birthday was losing a library book I had borrowed from Monash University’s Matheson Library, titled Sappho: A New Translation. The loss happened in a strange manner. Whilst walking from my mother's school at Park Street, Moonee Ponds to the junction, I found a loose trolley and wanted to take it back to Safeway - largely for the coin inside. I placed my bag inside the trolley but left the 1927 Wisden and Sappho: A New Translation inside. This turned out to be foolish because, though I was able to carry the trolley without loss up Buckley Street, when I was in Puckle Street close to Safeway, Sappho: A New Translation turned vertical and fell out the back of the trolley without me being able to trace it down.

At least I contacted both Monash University (who told me I would have to pay double the price of the book for a replacement or $125 if it were lost for good) and the Moonee Ponds police about it - and what's more, my mother said she would pay for a replacement copy, which should arrive soon.

No comments: