Letter to The Wisdener.


I was at Trent Bridge on both the Friday and the Saturday of the Aussie Test and I must admit that the amount of people who spent the majority of their time on hand held gadgets amazed me. I was chatting to the woman next to me and I asked her – politely – what was she doing on her mobile phone all the time. She said just keeping up with people on Facebook and following twitter feeds about the test.
Her explanation reminded of a letter that appeared in a recent edition of The Oldie. The writer was Mr Peter White from Derbyshire:

“I haven’t got a computer but I was told about Facebook and Twitter and am trying to make friends outside Facebook and Twitter while applying the same principles.

Every day I walk down the street and tell passers-by what I have eaten, how I feel, what I have done the night before and what I will do for the rest of the day. I give them pictures of my wife, my daughter, my dog and me gardening and on holiday, spending time by the pool…And it works. I already have four people following me; two police officers, a social worker and a psychiatrist.”

My neighbor at the cricket missed at least half of the Australian wickets to fall on Day two, probably too busy on finding out what Shane Warne was telling everyone on Facebook  what he had for lunch.

Patrick Springer


The last cricket pitch in the London Borough of Islington (population: 195,000) has been saved, after being threatened with closure when a Porsche driver successfully sued the council for the cost of a broken window. Councillors agreed to erect extra netting at Wray Crescent, home of Pacific CC. Club secretary Peter Hollman said: “The residents are really happy to have us because we keep the gangs away, but there’s one guy who hates us. He’s got a Porsche and two other flash cars, and any time the ball goes near them he takes it and refuses to give it back.”
The Islington Gazette, 2011.


Letter to The Wisdener.

I think I may have unearthed a rarer Wisden than the elusive 1875. No, not a never before discovered 1863 or even a Hardback 1864, but a 2015 that has the entire contents printed upside down.  Anonymous offers are welcome, secrecy guaranteed!

Adrian Rowlinson


“A man wrote to me to say that he was in trouble. He said his Afghan hound had chewed up the inside of his Wisden, and eaten all the records! What should he do? I didn’t really see what I was expected to do about it but remember making one or two rather wet suggestions such as that he should build higher shelves or get a smaller dog.  But the obvious answer I should have given was that the Afghan hound should have his Wisden teeth taken out.”
Brian Johnston.



“Once, in a county match, when Larwood was in the middle of that glorious run-up, the batsman raised his hand and stopped him. Perhaps the dull reason was simply that he wasn’t ready. I think, rather, that the batsman, a humble enough performer, was seized with that last love of life which must have urged victims of old to address some trivial and delaying remark to the executioner. A few seconds later the blow fell, and the bails whizzed past the wicket-keeper”


Cricket, national game of…Belgium

The traditional English game of cricket was actually invented by Flemish immigrant weavers according to new research.
The sport was assumed to have evolved from children’s games played in the south of England in Anglo-Saxon times. But an Australian academic, Paul Campbell, says the first known reference to the game was made by John Skelton, a 16th century poet, who wrote that the weavers from Flanders, were the “king of creckette”.
They apparently used curved shepherds’ crooks as bats, and the term cricket has its roots in a Flemish phrase which means to “chase with a curved stick”.

Daily Telegraph – March 2009

And in response to the above, The Daily Telegraph editorial on the same day read…
What’s this? Cricket was invented by a Belgian? According to Paul Campbell, an academic at the National University of Australia, cricket was being played in 1533 by immigrants from Flanders. He says John Skelton’s poem “The images of Ipocrise” supports this theory. Of course, Flanders in the 16th century was fought over by three different empires and Belgium did not exist; but the claim that Flemish weavers were the original “kings of creckettes” is an intriguing one. The word may be based on the Flemish phrase “met de krik ketsen”, which means to chase with a curved stick. Are we to make anything of the fact that this attempt to debunk the English provenance of the game has come from an Australian academic in the run-up to the ashes? If the Aussies want to pick 11 Belgians, let them go ahead.


“I used to enjoy cricket, except for one game during the holidays when we were playing up against a telegraph pole. I was the stumper and when I turned suddenly to stop a ball I hit the pole and broke one of my front teeth clean in two. It was with me for ages because there wasn’t any question of going to the dentist. You had to pay for the dentist and we didn’t have any money”

Joe Gormley, sometime President of the TUC)


“My father always hated the idea of me becoming a cricketer, he thought I was wasting my time.”
(Imran Khan)


My one attempt at cricket was a disaster and I was sent off the field for not paying attention. As far as I was concerned, cricket was and certainly still is the most tedious and un-engaging sporting activity a man could possibly indulge in
(Christian Jennings’ autobiography Mouthful of Rocks)


Mrs Mildred Rowley, a nursing sister, of Helming Drive, Wolverhampton, was granted a decree nisi yesterday on the grounds of her husband’s unreasonable behaviour. She had complained that he was “cricket mad”

After the hearing at Wolverhampton Divorce Court, Mrs Rowley said: “Cricket was not just a hobby-it was a total obsession. I had just had enough of it.”

Her husband, Mr Michael Rowley was not in court as he was on tour in the West Country with

Stourbridge Cricket Club (Worcester Star 1976)


Was Fred Trueman A Comic Genius?

The scene was an Ashes Test with England fielding, Fred takes up the story, ….. ‘and I went back to my mark and hurtled into the wicket, a rap on the pads, Howzat? One for none.
I went back to my mark and hurtled into the wicket and the bails were off, two for none.
Then in came the great Sir Don Bradman. I went back to my mark and hurtled into the wicket, the ball was in the air, a fantastic catch on the long on boundary…
…three for three hundred and seventy six.

Trueman bowls. Batsman is trapped plumb LBW. Trueman appeals. Not out.
Next ball. Trueman ever-so-slightly irritated, bowls.  Audible snick, ball deflects and sails upward, caught behind. Trueman appeals. Not out.
Third ball. Trueman a little more irritated now, bowls again. Through the gate, stumps spread-eagled, middle stump uprooted and cartwheeling. Trueman turns to the umpire and says with a wry smile, ‘We nearly had him that time, didn’t we?’

When a Cambridge University student FS Trueman had just bowled said, ‘That was a very good ball, Mr Trueman’, he responded allegedly with, ‘Ay, ’twas wasted on thee.’

Who wants to be a media reporter?

‘Yorkshire 232 all out, Hutton ill – I’m sorry, Hutton 111’ John Snagge, BBC News.
‘In the back of Hughes’ mind must be the thought that he will dance down the piss and mitch one ‘  Tony Greig, Channel 9
‘It was close for Zaheer, Lawson threw his hands in the air and Marsh threw his head in the air’ Jack Potter, 3UZ
‘Playing against a team with Ian Chappell as a captain turns cricket match into gang warfare.’ Mike Brearley, 1980
‘The slow motion replay doesn’t show how fast that delivery was’. Richie Benaud.
That tough cricketer Brian Close was fielding close to the wicket at short leg when the batsman produced a fullblooded pull shot and the ball hit the fielder hard on the side of his face. Amazingly it flew straight up in the air and the batsman was caught at slip.

‘My God,’ said a worried fielder going up to check on Close. ‘What would have happened if he’d hit you right between the eyes?’
‘In that case,’ growled Close, ‘the bloke would have been caught at cover.’

‘Ray Illingworth has just relieved himself at the pavilion end.’ Brian Johnston, BBC Radio
‘On the first day, Logie decided to chance his arm and it came off.’ Trevor Bailey, Radio 3.
Do you feel that the selectors and yourself have been vindicated by the result?
I don’t think the press are vindictive. They can write what they want. Mike Gatting, ITV Sport.


Rahul was having a bad time. He played and missed at every ball and was becoming hotter and more flustered every minute. As the bowler was walking back; the batsman turned to the wicket-keeper.
‘Phew,’ Rahul said, ‘what couldn’t I do with a bottle of beer.’
The wicket-keeper thought for a moment. ‘Hit it with the bat?’

It was a county match in England between Somerset and Glamorgan. An unknown batsman with unknown talent, named Vivian Richards was at the crease. Greg Thomas, the Glamorgan fast bowler thundered in and beat the great man’s bat.
‘It’s red and it’s round. Can’t you see it?’, the bowler taunted Richards.
The next ball was an action replay. The ball pitched three quarters of length on middle and off, seamed away, and once again Richards was all at sea and comprehensively beaten.
‘It’s red and it’s round and it weighs four-and-a-half ounces. Can’t you see it?’, Greg Thomas quipped.
Richards took a stroll, summoned his powers of concentration, swung his arms around, took a fresh guard and got ready for the next ball.
Greg Thomas came running in. The delivery was right in the slot, and Viv launched into one of his trademark shots and smashed the ball out of the ground and straight into the river that flowed around it.
The maestro told the hapless bowler who almost died watching the ball go, ‘You know what it looks like… now go and get it!’

Dennis Lillee once commented that the arrogant natured Yorkshireman Geoff Boycott was, ‘The only fellow I’ve met who fell in love with himself at an early age and has remained faithful ever since.’
The “Father of Cricket” WG Grace was once bowled first ball in an exhibition match. ‘They have come to watch me bat, not you bowl,’ he said, before replacing the bails and resuming his innings. …………………………..
Daryll Cullinan was on his way to the wicket, Shane Warne remarked that he had been waiting 2 years for another chance to humiliate him.
‘Looks like you spent it eating,’ Cullinan retorted.
James Ormond [Leicestershire, Surrey and England] had just come out to bat on an ashes tour and was greeted by Mark Waugh.

‘Look who it is. Mate, what are you doing out here, there’s no way you’re good enough to play for England?’ JO :
‘Maybe not, but at least I’m the best player in my family.’
During the 1991 Adelaide Test, Javed Miandad commented that Merv Hughes looked like a fat bus conductor.
Big Merv dismissed the Pakistani soon after, allegedly running passed the batsman yelling, ‘Tickets please!’


Poor Little Billy

Billy was at school this morning and the teacher asked all the children what their Father’s did for a living. All the typical answers came out, Fireman, Policeman, Salesman, Chippy, Captain of Industry, etc. etc. but Billy was being uncharacteristically quiet, and so the teacher asked him about his Father.

‘My Father is an exotic dancer in a gay club and takes off all his clothes in front of the other men. Sometimes if the offer is really good he’ll go out with a man, rent a cheap hotel room and let them sleep with him’.

The teacher quickly set the other children some work and took little Billy aside to ask if that was really true. ‘No’ said Billy ‘he plays CRICKET for ENGLAND, but I was just too embarrassed to say’.

With Profuse apologies to our many Australian members, we print a selection of ‘England winning the Ashes’ Funnies:

What’s the difference between the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Aussie cricket team.
Not everyone has walked over the Harbour bridge.

What’s the difference between Cinderella and an Australian cricketer.
Cinderella knew when to leave the ball.

What do you call a world class Australian cricketer

What do you get if you cross the Australian cricket team with an Oxo cube?
Laughing stock.

The Australian bobsleigh team have asked the Aussie cricketers for a meeting. They want to know how they went downhill so fast.

What’s the difference between Michael Clarke and a funeral director?
A funeral director doesn’t keep losing the ashes.

What’s the difference between an Aussie batsman and a formula one car?
Nothing. If you blink you’ll miss them both.

What do Aussie batsmen and drug addicts have in common?
Both spend most of their time wondering where their next score will come from.

What did the spectator miss when he went to the toilet?
The entire Australian innings.

What do you call a cricket field full of Australians ?
A vacant lot.

What is the main function of the Australian coach?
To transport the team from the hotel to the ground.

Who spends the most time on the crease?
The person who irons the Australian team’s cricket whites.

Why don’t Aussie fielders need travel injections?
Because they never catch anything.

What is the most proficient footwork displayed by Australian batsmen?
The walk back to the pavilion.

What is the definition of optimism?
An Aussie batsman putting on sunscreen before going out to bat.

What’s the Australian version of LBW?
Lost, Beaten, Walloped.

Who has the easiest job in the Australian squad?
The guy who removes the red ball marks from the bats.

What do you call an Australian who can handle a bat….
A vet

Why are Australian cricketers cleverer than Houdini?
Because they can get out without even trying.

What’s the difference between Michael Clarke and a phoenix?
At the end of the ashes, the phoenix still has a future.

A bloke walks into a brothel and says:
“I’m a bit kinky, how much for total humiliation?”
The madam replies “£60″.
“Wow, what do I get for that?,” he says.
She says: “A baggy green cap and an Australia shirt”.


Cedric Rhodes used to be Chairman of Lancashire CCC and one day he asked Farokh Engineer the counties wicket-keeper, in view of the continued hostilities between India and Pakistan, if there was any likelihood that he would be going home to fight for his country.

“Only if the fighting reaches my village,” Farokh said, “then, of course, I will have to go to protect my wife and children.”
Rhodes enquired, “Which village is that?”
And Farokh replied, “Altrincham.”
(Dickie Bird, in The Wit of Cricket)
Umpire to the bowler, after W.G.Grace was called not out when bowled first ball: “They have paid to see Dr Grace bat, not to see you bowl.” Anonymous, from “A Century of Grace” by Harru Furniss

“Cricket – a game which the English, not being a spiritual people, have invented to give themselves some concept of eternity.” Lord Mancroft, from “Bees in some Bonnets.”

“What we need in Roses matches is no umpires and fair cheatin’ all round.” Maurice Leyland, from”Cricket Wit Wickets and Wisdom”

“ Let me say, however, that I never smoked until the death until my days cricket was done, I never drank anything except water for lunch then playing in a match. I do not think I am a bit old-fashioned in my opinion that there is too much smoking amongst is actually playing in first class cricket. It is not good for the eye and does not strengthen the nerves – and nurse came most havoc that even the most devastating fast bowler on the other side.”
Lord Hawke.

I found myself reflecting on the blessings and curses of the natural aptitudes, those which bestow an innate athleticism, a ball sense, the seemingly effortless power that denotes perfect timing, that physical coordination which is quite instinctive and, though cultivated, can never be taught.
Ted Dexter 

To my mind there are amenities in coaching, and if boys are either unduly scalded or drilled into unduly careful methods when batting, the only result is to sicken them of the game.
Lord Hawke

No professional drunkard has ever made a great professional cricketer, nor ever will.
Jerks in from Short Leg (1866)

Coaching is often very necessary, but great care must be taken not to curb a young player’s natural shots, which are often his chief scoring strokes.
Leslie Ames

All cricketers in their teens, aye, and afterwards, who wish to improve their batting will do themselves a great deal of good by swinging Indian clubs.
E. H. D. Sewell

“The physique of a hat-pin and the only geriatric stoop i have ever seen on a 15-year-old”

Michael Parkinson on Dicky Bird

“No good hitting me there mate, nothing to damage.”
Derek Randall skulled by Dennis Lillee in the Centenary Test of 1977

“There was nothing else to do but drink. I saw so many balls I couldn’t miss”
Frank Worrell, after his double hundred in Kanpur, West Indies tour of India, 1952/3

“i absolutely insist that all my boys be in bed before breakfast”
Colin Ingleby-MacKenzie, explaining Hampshire’s success under his captaincy

“Cricket is nothing more than baseball on tranquillizers. Basically it’s just a bunch of blokes standing around scratching themeselves”
(Letter in The Times 1979)

Former England fast bowler Harold Larwood was believed to have said, after receiving a phone call from Prime Minister John Major,
“If I’d known he was planning to throw 30,000 blokes out of the pits, I’d have given him a right ear-bashing.”

“I’m a little stiff from bowling”
“Oh, is that where you are from, I was wondering.”
Unnamed princess to Australian leg-spinner Arthur Mailey in the royal box at Lord’s in 1923

“You have done for Australian cricker what the Boston Strangler did for door-to-door salesmen”
Jack Birney, an Australian politician, in a note to Geoff Boycott after GB had batted all day at Perth for 63

“I enjoy hitting a batsman more than getting him out. I like to see blood on the pitch. And I’ve been training on whisky”
Jeff Thomson, Australian quickie, 1974

“I couldn’t have played that shot and i’m left-handed”
David Gower speaking after Kevin Pieterson’s infamous switch hit for six

“Jeez, Merv, that one went so far it should have qualified for frequent flyer points”
Dean Jones to Merv Hughes after MH was hit for six by Ian Botham at Brisbane

“Ladies playing cricket? Absurd. Just like a man trying to knit”
Len Hutton

“Pakistan is the sort of place every man should send his mother-in-law to, for a month, all expenses paid”
Ian Botham speaking after England had lost the test series 1-0 in Pakistan, 1983-84

John Arlott was certainly the easiest commentator to work with. He rarely required me to pass him anything except the bowling figures or another bottle. he did startle me once during an Ashes Test but it was after he had lunched well.
He said, “What I really want to know, Bill, is if England bowl their overs at the same rate as Australia did, and Brearley and Boycott survive the opening spell, and there are not more than ten no-balls in the innings, and assuming that my car does 33.8 miles per gallon and my home is 67.3 miles from here, what time does my wife have to put the casserole in”
Bill Frindall on John Arlott.

“There’s a disappointing crowd here today, just a few cars scattered around the boundary boards. In fact, I would say there are more cars here today than people” Johnston then remarked, “Just work that one out, did the cars drive themselves in?”
Brian Johnston, reporting on a match between Northants and Worcester and commenting on the very small crowd

“I was batting against Surrey when a bowler called out, ‘Can I have a snort leg for this guy please.’ At Sussex I heard cracks like, “keep a tight line, Ed’ and ‘That’s a snorting delivery’ But probably the best one was when I was taking a bit of stick in one match and someone called out, ‘Don’t let them get up your nose, Giddo’
Ed Giddins, after the TCCB upheld their two-year ban for his testing positive for cocaine, 1996

“I can’t really say I’m batting badly. I’m not batting long enough to be batting badly”
Greg Chappell

“Pitches are like wives-you can never tell how they’re going to turn out”
Another gem from Len Hutton.

I had entertained Denis Compton to luch during a Test match at Lord’s. After lunch we strolled around the ground and behind the pavillion we noticed Geoffrey Boycott and David Gower in a keen discussion. They were discussing how many first-class hundreds each had made.
Geoffrey said, “I told you I’ve made more than you!”
Dennis Compton quickly retorted, “And thank God I’ve only seen three of them!”
Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie.

“Not at Dorking”
19th Century cricketer Henry Jupp, bowled first ball in his home town, explains why he isn’t leaving the field

Brian Close was ambidextrous, he could play golf left or right handed and someone once asked him, how do you decide if you’re going to play right or left-handed.
“Oh,” he said, “it’s quite easy. If I wake up and my wife’s on her right side, I play right-handed and if she’s on her left side, I play left-handed. It’s as easy as that.”
Then he was asked, “Yes, but what about if you wake up and she’s lying on her back?”
“Oh,” he said, “I ring up to say I’m going to be an hour late!”
Brian Close

I would like to share a personal experience with my closest friends about drinking and driving. As you well know, some of us have been known to have had brushes with the authorities on our way home from an occasional social session over the years. After a wonderful day watching my local cricket team I went out for the evening with friends and had a couple of cocktails and some rather nice red wine. Knowing full well I may have been slightly over the limit, I did something I’ve never done before ~ I took a cab home. Sure enough, I passed a police road block but, since it was a cab, they waved it past. I arrived home safely without incident, which was a real surprise; as I have never driven a cab before and am not sure where I got it or what to do with it now that it’s in my garage.
A not so new story well told by Jack Simmons at a cricket luncheon.
Please feel free to contribute any funny stories, jokes, quotes or anecdotes that you feel will entertain and amuse us…contact