Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Gods and Flannelled Fools - A History of English Test Cricket - Episode 9 (Worrell's West Indies)

Episode 9 is now available on YouTube.

Gods and Flannelled Fools is a new series in which I take a trip through the history of English test match cricket. If you are curious as to the myths and legends of the game, or perhaps a follower of the limited overs format and can't work out what the fuss is all about when it comes to test cricket, this might be of interest to you!

In each episode I will pick up on a specific test series, starting with the very first test matches and continuing through to the present day, including at least one series from each decade. Each episode will focus on a series, match or individual of note, perhaps looking at a famous incident, performance or a great line up.



Episode nine covers the 1963 home series against the West Indies. While the form of the English cricket side tailed off towards the end of the 1950s and especially the start of the 1960, the West Indies were on their way up with a team packed full of talent and character. Leading the side was their first “established” black captain, Frank Worrell and the team featured the opening pace attach of Wes Hall and Charlie Griffiths, along with Sir Gary Sobers, a player regarded by many as the finest all-rounder to have played the game. The England side were captained by Ted Dexter, but had seen many of their star names retire and the side was at best unsettled – though did feature the ever-dependable Fred Truman as their leading wicket-taker and the solid presence of Ken Barrington in the top order.

The 1963 series ended up as a West Indies away win (thereby winning the inaugural Wisden Trophy), but was played in fine spirit and the second test at Lords is still regarded as one of the great test matches, with Colin Cowdrey coming out to bat with a broken arm right at the death, all four results still in play. The success of the series established the West Indies as one of the best sides in the world and paved the way for the concept of “twin tours” in order to ensure that the test match calendar was able to cater for the number test-playing nations.

England would continue to struggle for form and consistency for much of the decade, though the West Indies’ template for a fast opening bowling attack would prove to be the successful formula that future captains from all countries would aspire towards in the decades that followed.

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Blog: https://godsandflannelledfools.blogsp...
Twitter: @gffpod


Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Gods and Flannelled Fools - A History of English Test Cricket - Episode 8 (Laker's Ashes)

Episode 8 is now available on You Tube.

Gods and Flannelled Fools is a new series in which I take a trip through the history of English test match cricket. If you are curious as to the myths and legends of the game, or perhaps a follower of the limited overs format and can't work out what the fuss is all about when it comes to test cricket, this might be of interest to you!

In each episode I will pick up on a specific test series, starting with the very first test matches and continuing through to the present day, including at least one series from each decade. Each episode will focus on a series, match or individual of note, perhaps looking at a famous incident, performance or a great line up.


In episode eight I turn my attention to the fifties, a decade in which England enjoyed a sustained period of success following the immediate post war series. This period bore a rich seam of talented players, many of whom would go on to become legends of the English game. This included the great Denis Compton and Bill Edrich from Middlesex and Len Hutton from Yorkshire, all of whom would go onto break batting records, despite losing part of their careers to the Second World War. When they retired, their places were taken by equally talented batsmen such as Peter May and Tom Graveney who combined graceful stroke play with the determination to clock up the runs.

Following on from the consistent Alec Bedser, England also benefited from a conveyer belt of fast bowlers, most notably Frank “Typhoon” Tyson who terrorized the Australian team in 1954-55 and paved the way for the Roses duo of Brian Statham and Fred Truman to form their much celebrated opening partnership over the next decade. However, in the 1956 home Ashes series, it was an off spinner by the name of Jim Laker who reached the summit of bowling perfection when he helped England to retain the urn with match figures of 19 for 90 at Old Trafford, figures that have never since been recorded in first class cricket.

Laker followed in the footsteps of Sydney Barnes, having learnt his trade at Saltaire Cricket Club in the Bradford League. Whilst he didn’t quiet manage the 49 wickets in the series that Barnes did against South Africa in 1913, his 19 wickets overtook his previous record of 17 in one match in the same series. The 1956 Ashes series was an unhappy one for the Australians who finished second best to England for much of the decade.

Please subscribe to my channel and leave comments and feedback.

Blog: https://godsandflannelledfools.blogsp...
Twitter: @gffpod

Monday, 22 July 2019

Gods and Flannelled Fools - A History of English Test Cricket - Episode 7 (Bradman's Invincibles)

Episode 7 is now available on YouTube!

Gods and Flannelled Fools is a new series in which I take a trip through the history of English test match cricket. If you are curious as to the myths and legends of the game, or perhaps a follower of the limited overs format and can't work out what the fuss is all about when it comes to test cricket, this might be of interest to you!

In each episode I will pick up on a specific test series, starting with the very first test matches and continuing through to the present day, including at least one series from each decade. Each episode will focus on a series, match or individual of note, perhaps looking at a famous incident, performance or a great line up.



In episode seven I take a look at the English game in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War with a particular focus on the 1948 home Ashes Series. Whilst England had suffered from the war years, Australia emerged with a very strong side, led by the legendary Don Bradman and featuring the likes of Ray Lindwell and Keith Miller. The 1948 series would prove to be an unhappy summer for England but was a magnificent achievement for Bradman’s team, who remained unbeaten for the entire tour – often controversially given the nature of some of the lesser tour matches. Don Bradman would retire at the end of the series and despite finishing with a phenomenal record, failed at the final hurdle to score the four runs or more required to maintain a batting average of 100.

However, although they lost the series, the nucleus of the English team would go onto greater success in the following decade and the likes of Len Hutton, Denis Compton, Alec Bedser and Jim Laker would grow into household names and legends of the game in their own right.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Gods and Flannelled Fools - A History of English Test Cricket - Episode 6 (Timeless Tests)

Episode 6 is now available on YouTube!

Gods and Flannelled Fools is a new series in which I take a trip through the history of English test match cricket. If you are curious as to the myths and legends of the game, or perhaps a follower of the limited overs format and can't work out what the fuss is all about when it comes to test cricket, this might be of interest to you!

In each episode I will pick up on a specific test series, starting with the very first test matches and continuing through to the present day, including at least one series from each decade. Each episode will focus on a series, match or individual of note, perhaps looking at a famous incident, performance or a great line up.


In episode six I look at the career of Wally Hammond, arguable England’s greatest ever batsman and a stalwart of the side from the late twenties through to the Second World War. In additional to setting a number of batting records that would stand for many decades, Wally became captain of England in the late 1930s and lead the MCC tour to South Africa in 1938-39. The final match in this series was the last ever “timeless test” in which no time limit was set in duration and it is interesting to see how this played out and why the concept ended. This is the final episode that focuses on events prior the outbreak of World War II.

Gods and Flannelled Fools - A History of English Test Cricket - Episode 5 (Bodyline)

Episode 5 is now available on YouTube!

Gods and Flannelled Fools is a new series in which I take a trip through the history of English test match cricket. If you are curious as to the myths and legends of the game, or perhaps a follower of the limited overs format and can't work out what the fuss is all about when it comes to test cricket, this might be of interest to you!

In each episode I will pick up on a specific test series, starting with the very first test matches and continuing through to the present day. Each episode will focus on a series, match or individual of note, perhaps looking at a famous incident, performance or a great line up.

In episode five I tell the story of Bodyline during the Ashes series of 1932-33 when the pace attack led by Harold Larwood deliberately targeted the bodies of the Australian batsmen under instruction from Douglas Jardine in order to counter the prolific run scoring of Don Bradman.



Though it resulted in an England victory, the series had ramifications in terms of both the personal, the laws of the game and the change in attitude towards the concept of winning at all costs and what the Ashes urn actually meant to both sides.

Note the two errors (slip of the tongue in both cases) - I meant to refer to the MCC not the MEC and Harold Larwood died in 1995 :

Monday, 1 April 2019

Gods and Flannelled Fools - A History of English Test Cricket - Episode 4 (Hobbs and Sutcliffe)

Episode four is now available on YouTube

Gods and Flannelled Fools is a new series in which I take a trip through the history of English test match cricket. If you are curious as to the myths and legends of the game, or perhaps a follower of the limited overs format and can't work out what the fuss is all about when it comes to test cricket, this might be of interest to you!

In each episode I will pick up on a specific test series, starting with the very first test matches and continuing through to the present day. Each episode will focus on a series, match or individual of note, perhaps looking at a famous incident, performance or a great line up.



In episode four I look at the famous partnership between Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe during the twenties, with particular focus on their contributions during the Ashes series of 1928-29 when they defied the Australian bowlers on possibly the worst wicket of all time.

Hobbs finished his career with 15 hundreds at 56.94 and Sutcliffe 16 hundreds at 60.73. Together they averaged 87.81 for the first wicket with 15 century stands - the finest opening partnership in test match history.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Gods and Flannelled Fools - A History of English Test Cricket - Episode 3 (The Great SF Barnes)

Episode three is now available on YouTube.

Gods and Flannelled Fools is a new series in which I take a trip through the history of English test match cricket. If you are curious as to the myths and legends of the game, or perhaps a follower of the limited overs format and can't work out what the fuss is all about when it comes to test cricket, this might be of interest to you!

In each episode I will pick up on a specific test series, starting with the very first test matches and continuing through to the present day. Each episode will focus on a series, match or individual of note, perhaps looking at a famous incident, performance or a great line up.



In episode three I discuss the bowling of Sydney Francis Barnes, who is widely regarded as one (if not the) greatest bowlers of all time. S F Barnes played 27 test matches for England, taking 189 wickets at an average of 16.43 - and across his entire career ended up with a bowling average of just over 6!

However, his career was not without incident. S F Barnes was a difficult player to manage and often played on his terms - his test career culminating with 49 wickets against South Africa in 1913 in only 4 test matches, refusing to play the final one because the MCC did not pay for his wife's accommodation.

He continued his career at league level after the First World War and his attitude has retrospectively become regarded as the first hints towards professionalism in test cricket history.

Gods and Flannelled Fools - A History of English Test Cricket - Episode 9 (Worrell's West Indies)

Episode 9 is now available on YouTube. Gods and Flannelled Fools is a new series in which I take a trip through the history of English te...