New review of Where’s Sailor Jack? : ‘‘…romantic, poignant, and extremely funny, exactly what I want from a family saga.’ – Stephen Carver, Blot the Skrip and Jar It

Archives: Lancashire CCC

Lancashire Born v Lancashire Adopted

Seeing how Where’s Sailor Jack? follows, in passing, the fortunes of Lancashire cricket from 1950 to date, I thought I’d have a bit of fun picking two teams from the whole period, one born and bred, one from anywhere outside the county. In the latter case, I’ve only picked players who played at least three seasons for us, so sadly no place for Graeme Pollock or Michael Holding for instance. I’ve made one or two startling omissions, such as Mike Atherton, as we have a surfeit of Lancastrian-born opening bats and his major contribution was to England. I’ve tried to find a balance between the fine players of the early fifties, the great one-day era of the late sixties, the years where we drifted, and the championship winning team of 2011.
The home team lines up in batting order as: Cyril Washbrook, Winston Place, Geoff Pullar, Neil Fairbrother, Andrew Flintoff, David Lloyd, Jack Simmons, Geoff Clayton (wk), Roy Tattersall, Brian Statham, James Anderson. The away team is Farokh Engineer (wk), Barry Wood, Jack Ikin, Clive Lloyd, Ashwell Prince, Stuart Law, Wasim Akram, Glenn Chapple, Ken Higgs, Gary Keedy, Muttiah Muralitharan.
Only Geoff Clayton, Glenn Chapple and Gary Keedy are uncapped.I make no apologies for the inclusion of so many of the Gillette Cup winning generation, when the rest of the country used to play each other to see who played Lancashire in the final. I particularly wish I could have found a place too for Harry Pilling. Some fine bowlers have had to be ignored, but with Statham, Anderson and Flintoff, the likes of Shuttleworth and Allott just couldn’t get in, and similarly with Peter Lever from whichever side of the bed in Todmorden he was born on. Warren Hegg was close to the wicketkeeper slot, but Geoff Clayton brings back the late fifties and early sixties. I’d have loved to have found a spot for Peter Marner, but like Frank Hayes, he wasn’t quite consistent enough. And regrettably, nothing for Steven Croft and Karl Brown, Blackpudlian and Boltonian, at the wicket when paradise was regained on that glorious day of redemption, which partly gave me the idea for Bob and Richard in the novel. But thank you all for the memories.

Chanting

Seeing all the footage from the past shown on television since Corbyn’s accession, I’ve realised that I have a character trait which prevents me from ever being on the extremes of politics. I’d never be able to chant at a protest rally. Admittedly, it’s pretty unlikely that I’d ever be seen at such an event, disliking as I do the right’s greed and the left’s sanctimony. Before I had the luxury of my own web page and the consequent capacity to write blogs that no-one ever reads, I would have satisfied myself with describing the nature of my complaint to a bored wife and family over tea, or supper if I have to acknowledge how middle-class I’ve become. (Supper when I was a kid was a banana sandwich before I went to bed, tea was the cooked meal at about half past five and dinner was the revolting mess of lumpy mash, stringy beef and overcooked cabbage served at school every day for the thirteen years I went. The puds were terrific though. Before I went to school, lunch was the mid-morning snack also referred to as baggin.)
I consider myself the archetypical north Englishman, though maybe I’m not. I’ve been following Bolton Wanderers since late 1952, shouting advice and encouragement but the one time I joined in with “Bolton, Bolton, Bolton…” I felt acutely embarrassed. When the habitual and deafening “We’re the one and only Wanderers” is bellowed ad nauseam, particularly in the Wolves game, I want to stick my fingers in my ears. I could manage a round of “Oh Lanky, Lanky, Lanky, Lanky, Lanky, Lanky, Lancashire” at Lords back in the day when the other sixteen counties played each other to see who met Lancashire in the Gillette Final but then that had a semblance of a tune. I can say, or even sing if the organist pitches low enough, the responses in church without thinking that I’ve given up on my identity and free will, perhaps because they have the advantage of being in sixteenth century English. I’m less happy with modern English responses. I could never chant either “Marxist Morons” or “Tory scum”.
Delusionally, I like to think it’s because I’m in the yeoman tradition, deciding things for myself. So I’ll be available to defend the country if really needed but once it’s over, I’ll go back home to my family. People often wonder how to define what is liberal. My rule is simple. When you chant, you’re not being one.
It’s a while since I blogged. I’ve no idea if there’s anyone reading me. If you are, please use the link to Twitter or Facebook on my home page and let me know.