In each of our regular New Bulletins the Chairman, Nigel Hancock, writes his observations on Cricket Society matters. You can read the latest edition below.
What in common have Johnny Bairstow, Clare Taylor, Graham Thorpe, Nigel Briers, Ian Salisbury, Alec Stewart, Mike Atherton, Neil Foster, Mike Hendricks, Mike Brearley, Jim Parks and Mickey Stewart? Yes, they are all former Wisden cricketers of the year, and were present at April’s launch of this year’s Cricketers’ Almanack. Of the 2018 vintage, the three women recipients were preparing for cricket the following day in India, but Essex’s Jamie Porter was there and Shai Hope had flown in from Barbados to collect his leather-bound Wisden. Miles Jupp spoke entertainingly at his second favourite London Test ground.
Wisdens do adorn a wall but I wonder how many of them are read and how often. “This year’s edition seems a bit slimmer”, opined Derek Barnard when lovingly picking-up the copy placed upright just north of his place setting. The late night underground journey home from St John’s Wood was probably not the best time to dip into my copy, as usual for the (too short) book reviews this year compiled by novelist Kamila Shamsie (pages 121-135). But the print size seemed particular small, and did not get any bigger by the following morning. Perhaps the 2019 issue should include a magnifying glass. To help Wisden readers among you with navigation, there is an advertisement for The Cricket Society on page 175 and Cricket Society Awards are listed on page 1444.
Did you know that Wisden is now printed in Italy but bound for the leather issue in England? As with the UK passport, let’s hope Brexit doesn’t affect this. This titbit of information fell my way whilst seated between Digby from Grafica Veneta and Cricket Society member (and leather-bound subscriber) Peter. How many Wisdens a year are now published? I recall editor Lawrence Booth giving us plenty of information about such matters a few years back. Digby was not allowed contractually to divulge current print runs, except that numbered leather-bound ones remain at about 150.
The food at the Wisden Dinner was pretty good, but less so I thought than at our Spring Lunch at The Oval in March. Peter, a regular supporter of our London events, agreed. There has been much reaction, most of it full of praise, for the Lunch. 214 people attended, including 24 award winners and guests. We had to adjust the running-order to cater for the commitments of our three main guests - Jonathan Agnew, Ian MacLaurin and Charlotte Edwards - but remained within target times and the technology worked well. Most of you reading this will not be attenders of our London events. But I hope that you support the Executive Committee’s wish to maintain and improve our awards programme as an important aspect of Society business. We are striving to get the right balance between establishing an annual lunch or dinner as our key award-giving event that helps raise the Society’s profile AND running an event that remains as accessible to as many as possible of our members who wish to be there. For those who cannot be there, plans include for the website to have recordings of the key parts of functions like this.
The back page of this Bulletin includes details of Cricket Society meetings in our various locations. Our West of England branch is growing fast, the Midlands and North East branches are holding their own at a challenging time for cricket societies generally. The Cricket Society meetings are open to all our members wherever you are based. Please bring along guests and encourage them to join or treat them to a membership. There are no plans to increase our very low membership rates, for which you would struggle to buy a decent bottle of wine in a pub.
Congratulations to Harry Pearson for winning The Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award 2018. Details of the award evening at Lord’s on 17 April will appear on the website and in the next Bulletin. Harry has agreed to address member meetings and details when available will appear on the website and in the Bulletin. Vic Marks is stepping down as Chair of the judges and the name of his successor for the 2019 competition will be announced as soon as possible.
The Cricket Society’s trip to Sri Lanka in November, to include the Colombo Test match, is going ahead. The date for securing the initial offer has now passed but you can still opt to join the tour on the terms our partner LycaFly quote you at the time. Please see the website for the LycaFly contact details; and remember to keep us informed when you change your preferred email address so that we can keep you informed on key Cricket Society matters.
Nearer to home, tickets remain available for this year’s ‘Day at the cricket’ at Grace Road on Thursday 21 June: a re-invigorated by Paul Nixon Leicestershire - the membership mailing included a fierce-looking Nico mask prompting renewals - against a Middlesex side hoping to make a swift return to the top division. The package we have agreed will include: entry into the ground; private use of the Illingworth Suite; a car parking space per five guests booked (eight spaces); arrival tea, coffee and biscuits; a two course buffet lunch; and a cricket afternoon tea. The type of weather cannot be guaranteed but, like recent visits to Worcester and Taunton, you can expect good company and food and a warm and welcoming ambience. We’ll see if we can get a cricketer or two to join us at some point during the day. I have in mind a recently discovered Indian restaurant for those who will be in Leicester for the evening of 20 June. There with friends recently, we were plied with several complimentary offerings to supplement those that we paid for.
The package for 21 June is available at £40 per person and cheques made payable to The Cricket Society, with preferred email address or SAE, should be sent please to Nigel Hancock, Flat 14, 124 Charles Street, Leicester LE1 1LB.