Thursday, 2 March 2017

March means...

That for the first time you can say that the cricket starts next month. Great eh?

In days gone by, I would have had my gear down from the loft and been cleaning and checking it, ahead of indoor nets and then the start of the season. By that time, hopefully, the creaking in my shoulder had stopped and rediscovered muscles had ceased to pain me quite so much.

Which was why I stopped playing, of course. The recovery from games was taking longer and the bruises took longer to disappear. There were mixed feelings when I came to call it a day, but I had played the game for 47 summers and anyone who gets that long from a hobby can consider themselves a fortunate man.

Now, it is looking around websites and news feeds for stories and things of relevance. We have had a good winter, but there should still be at least two signings to come before the season starts - the new Broom and a T20 player. The latter may perhaps not be announced for a while, especially if engaged in the IPL, but I am sure that discussions with one or two players will be well advanced at this stage.

42 sleeps until the first game...

Finally tonight, in what has been a quiet cricket week and a busy personal one, just a few words about the passing of John Hampshire.

He was by some distance past his prime when he joined Derbyshire in 1982 and expectations were lowered accordingly when he signed at the age of 41.

Runs were harder to come by and harder earned than in his prime, but he managed around 2,500 first-class runs in three summers before calling time on his playing career to become a first-class umpire of some distinction.

He was an experienced and useful lieutenant for the young Kim Barnett and, as former captain of Yorkshire, brought valued experience into the Derbyshire setup.

For Yorkshire he brought panache and grit in equal measure, proving a key member of an all-conquering side of the 1960s.

Rest in peace John.


Old Supporter said...

Very much enjoyed reading your selection of the best overseas cricketers to represent Derbyshire, Peakfan. In the late '50s and early '60s one of the few Derbyshire batsmen worth watching was the West Indian Laurie Johnson. He was a fine off-side player, especially on the cover drive and managed a succession of thousand runs in a season at a decent average in those days of playing on uncovered pitches, occasionally on small club grounds.

He was comfortably Derbyshire's best outfielder - always a run-out threat from his position in the covers - and even replaced an injured Bob Taylor behind the stumps a few times.

Laurie will be 90 in November, possibly Derbyshire's oldest surviving cricketer. If he is in Barbados and still in good health, a phone interview would be interesting.

Peakfan said...

Laurie is much closer than Barbados, Old Supporter. He leaves near Birmingham and I hoped to interview him for my last book. Sadly he didn't feel up to it, but you are right, he was an excellent batsman after a long apprenticeship.
Not strictly overseas of course, having qualified to play in England during years playing for Swarkestone and in the Derbyshire Seconds.
I would have loved to have seem him as, like you, my Dad rated him highly