Lionel Charles Hamilton Palairet played for Somerset from 1890 to 1909. He scored over 15000 first-class runs at an average of 33.63 in an age when pitches were far from as reliable as they are today, and when they were left exposed to the elements in inclement weather. He made 27 first-class centuries. He has often been referred to as the archetypal classical batsman of cricket’s ‘Golden Age’. He played with immense grace off the front foot with an off drive second to none. The grace of his driving could be matched by its power and it was not uncommon for him to launch a drive into the River Tone or St James churchyard. In this poem I have tried to capture what it would be like to be transported back in time to watch Palairet – the nonpareil …
Come with me down to the County Ground
Where we’ll cast our sight to its past.
We’ll take a breath, then glaze our eyes
And make the moment last.Read More »
This poem was originally posted on grockles.com ahead of the first round of County Championship matches played with a pink ball in June 2017. I am not sure why I did not think of the simple solution to finding rhyming words for poems earlier. Use the same word 43 times in 12 lines, well, if you include the plurals…
The Pink Ball Blues or The Batsman’s Lament
Swinging ball, seaming ball, spinning ball, skidding ball.
Old ball, new ball, soft ball, hard ball.
No ball, wide ball, dead ball, lost ball.
Quicker ball, bouncing ball, slower ball, flighted ball.Read More »
The weather forecast for Somerset’s RLODC 50-over match against Middlesex at Lord’s in 2017 was cataclysmic to biblical proportions. A series of low top order partnerships had led to much discussion among Somerset supporters about where in the top order Dean Elgar, Somerset’s then overseas player, should bat. His sharing of a name with England’s greatest composer (discuss) led to him being referred to by some as ‘Nimrod’.
I penned a ditty to mark the prediction. The prediction of the forecasters and my poem came to pass and the question of Elgar’s batting position was never resolved.Read More »
As England continue to struggle in the West Indies I have decided to follow up my acrostic poem, ‘Hildreth for England’, hint to the selectors of a week ago with a more direct nudge in the form of a six verse song penned two years ago. For those old enough to remember try this to the tune of ‘The British Grenadiers’.
Some talk of Vivian Richards and some speak of Gimblett,
Of Botham and Bill Alley and many others yet.
But of Somerset’s great heroes, there’s none finessed and played
With the glorious art and poetry that Hildy’s bat arrays. Read More »
After England’s first innings 77 in Barbados I couldn’t resist this 18 line ditty with a (barely) hidden message…
How can this have come to pass so emphatically?
In days of calculated selection, and analysis done scientifically.
Laptops with propensity to algorithmic complexity
Describing biochemistry, giving weight to muscularity.Read More »
Another poem with a message. This one involves two great Somerset slow left arm spinners, J.C. ‘Farmer’ White and Jack Leach. Both the poem and the message were requested by a reader. Four verses, each with a word of the message. The message is decipherable without reference to Bletchley Park. Just in case there is any doubt start at the beginning and keep left.
TWO SOMERSET JACKS
Just suppose our spinning Jacks could meet awhile
And swap their tales of batsmen put to flight.
Confer about the dip and drift and the secrets of their style.
Keeping the faith of the art of spin, keeping it shining bright.Read More »
A poem for the New Year. A poem with a riddle contained within it. The answer to the riddle is contained within the poem. The answer should be easy for any Somerset supporter to arrive at. But where is it in the poem? In the interests of New Year goodwill that is not too difficult either. At least it isn’t if you know where to start looking…Read More »
As we move from one year into the next here is a short five stanza poem to take us from one to the other … again
Six months moping,
Six months hoping,
Six months dreaming,
Six months awaiting
October’s heart is exhausted.
November’s heart tormented.Read More »
As Somerset have floodlights installed at the heart of this festive season a vision of the future comes to visit…
FLOODLIGHTS AT THE COUNTY GROUND
THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS FUTURE
It’s Christmas Day at the County Ground and the lights are shining bright
But some elves were in and hatched a plan in the middle of the night.
They smirked their knowing smiles around as they scaled the pylons’ heights.
Then removed the leds and replaced them all with sparkling fairy lights.Read More »
The first ‘poem’ on this site and the first of an occasional series I posted on grockles.com. Appropriately the first poem to appear here is about the great man himself, JC White, or at least about the original gates bearing his name at the St James Street entrance to the Taunton ground and plans to remove them…Read More »