The scorecard was something you purchased on the day, so not only was it proof of your visit, but it was also something for you to write on to record who got the runs and who took the wickets. Obviously these days every statistic and match detail can be found on the web in an instant but in those days everything had to be written down.
I can't remember the first match I saw, or any subsequently come to that, but the earliest scorecard I have is June 1965, England v New Zealand. Looking down the opposition team, I can't see the name of anyone I can remember, certainly nobody famous, but the England team was full of my childhood favorites.
Geoff Boycott, who is probably more famous now than he was then but was the backbone of the team - could bat all day for 25 and be happy about it. Flamboyant Ted Dexter and Colin Cowdrey who would always be good for a century. Dependable all rounder Peter Parfitt and spinner Fred Titmus, both who played for Middlesex. Ever present Jim Parks behind the wicket. Who could forget the sight of Fred Trueman careering in off his long run which was almost back to the pavilion ? And finally, never aging fast bowler John Snow who was there in 1965 for one of my first matches and in 1976 for one of my last. The full team in 1965 was :
- South Africa in 1965.
- The West Indies, including those feared fast bowlers Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith, not to mention the one and only Gary Sobers in 1966.
- India with Farouk Engineer, the Nawab of Pataudi and, unusually for those days, turbaned Bishen Bedi in 1967, followed by Pakistan in the same year.
- New Zealand again in 1969, this time with the dangerous Richard Hadlee
- Pakistan in 1971
- Richard Hadlee returned with New Zealand in 1973
- Pakistan again in 1974, and finally a name I know, Imran Khan. Also India with Sunil Gavaskar, Farouk Engineer and Bishen Bedi again.
What about Australia I hear you cry ? I must have seen them play at least one Test Match against England but the only scorecards I have are from 1968 when their team included Bill Lawrey, Ian Redpath and one of the best players I've seen, Ian Chappell.
All these players were my childhood heroes who I tried to emulate when occasionally asked to play for the House and School ..... probably in the third or fourth team ! From an early age I realised I had limited potential and because nobody else wanted to open the batting, it became my position in the team - I was a Boycott without the ability to score runs or stay in !
Before finishing this blog here are a few more of the players I saw, both playing for England and Middlesex.
I have tried to put together my dream team for that era. Not easy because there were so many good players. A number slot into place without a moments thought – Boycott to open, Trueman and Titmus to bowl, Knotty to keep wicket. Other positions have been more tricky and quite often, because I want it to be a team, some don’t make it. I have selected D’Oliveira as my all rounder. The biggest dilemma I had was who would get the captain’s place. There were a number of options. In the end I decided that the team must come first so I chose Mike Brearley who, to my mind, was the best tactition, man manager, leader in this or any other era. That meant no place for other great captains – Ray Illingworth, Brian Close, or Tony Greig. All better batsman or bowlers than Brearley but my team deserves to have the best captain.
The team in batting order is :
- G. Boycott
- J.H. Edrich
- K.F. Barrington
- J.M. Brearley (C)
- A.P.E. Knott (W)
- B. D’Oliveira
- F.J. Titmus
- D.L. Underwood
- F.S. Trueman
- J.A. Snow
- S.C. Bird bringing out the refreshments !