A Personal Memory of Godfrey Evans
I once met Godfrey Evans, Kent and England wicketkeeper throughout the 1950s, and one of the greats of England cricket. Not a Somerset memory but a memory to be treasured nonetheless.
It was at a cricket event in London. I have long since forgotten which. It was not too long before Evans died. He was presented to the event and said a few words but his voice was weak and he looked very tired. I had taken my cricket-playing, barely teenage son to the event. I managed to corner Evans at the end of the event to introduce my son to him so that he could at least say he had met the great man. “This is my son, he is a leg-spinner,” I told Evans. Evans’ tired eyes lit up and he suddenly became animated. “Leg spinner! Leg spinner! Loved leg spinners. Lots of chances. Lots of chances, Stick with it young man.” And with that Evans went his way and we went ours, but with another jewel of a cricketing memory to bank.
County Championship. Somerset v Kent. 20th, 22nd and 23rd June 1959. Taunton. First Day.
My father was a musician and a good one by the account of those who knew about such things. The consequence was that his entire sense of timing was applied to his music. He had none left for anything else. As a result we were late everywhere we went and for everything we did. Cricket was not spared.
20th June 1959 dawned full of expectation and my heart beat fast. It was the day of my second visit to the County Ground. My grandfather and father had come armed with Somerset membership cards. The only flaw in the plan was that getting to the ground depended on my father driving us. His sense of time absent, as always, we arrived 35 minutes late. Details like that stick in the mind when it is only your second Somerset match.Read More »
County Championship. Somerset v Worcestershire. 23rd, 25th and 26th July 1977. Taunton.
The prospect of Marcus Trescothick opening the Championship batting for Somerset at the age of 43 in 2019 brought back memories of two other emeritus England batsmen playing in a Championship match at Taunton. It was in a different age and the nature of Championship cricket was as different as the age.Read More »
Gillette Cup Semi-Final. Middlesex v Somerset. 17th, 18th, 19th, 24th, 25th and 26th August 1977. Lord’s.
Somerset’s last match in the group stages of the 2017 Royal London One Day Cup against Middlesex was due to be played at Lord’s on 17th May. The forecast was poor and I decided against attending. The heavens emptied and the match was rained off without a ball being bowled. There was nothing to report and so I reported my memories of another rained off one-day match at Lord’s 40 years previously which I had travelled to watch.
The reason for the string of dates above will become apparent. So too will one of the more bizarre succession of circumstances in English domestic cricket.
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John Player’s County League. Somerset v Yorkshire. 10th August 1969. Taunton.
Some memories of the format of the iconic John Player League in its first season and of the first match attended by the author. An Australian teenager by the name of Greg Chappell had been signed as Somerset’s overseas player.
Toss. Somerset. Elected to field.
2019 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the John Player League, or as it was formally called in 1969, the John Player’s County League. Like T20 three and a half decades later the new competition was designed to attract a new audience.Read More »
Gillette Cup Semi-Final. Kent v Somerset. 14th August 1974. Canterbury.
As the ECB confirm arrangements for the ‘100’ competiton in 2020 a return to a different world in my ‘Memories’ series. Return to 1974 for images imprinted on my memory of a gripping match which was played in a 60 overs a side competition at less than three runs an over.
Toss. Kent. Elected to field.
The 1974 Gillette Cup semi-final at Canterbury is burned into my memory and vivid images abound there. I re-run them often. The impact it made perhaps reflects the importance of Semi-Finals, and for that matter Quarter-Finals, in the two one day cups of the time. They were major set piece events which bestrode the domestic cricketing landscape like Glastonbury Tor, Dunkery Beacon or the Wellington Monument bestride the landscape of Somerset.
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Maurice Tremlett was one of Somerset’s greatest captains. In the late 1950s he wrought a renaissance in Somerset cricket comparable with that wrought in the 1970s by Brian Close and in the 2000s by Justin Langer. In each of the three cases the renaissance continued into the following decade under different captains.
Here the author recalls some imaginings of his young self about a player he had at that time never seen.
Somerset v Derbyshire. County Championship. Bath 1958
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