A special post to celebrate my 48th birthday.

This post looks at the number 48 for reasons which will become apparent.


48 has the most factors of any number under 50, nine other than itself (24, 16, 12, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1). It is therefore an ‘abundant number’ – abundant numbers are those whose factors add up to more than the number itself, while deficient numbers have factors that add up to less than the number itself, and perfect numbers have factors that add up to exactly that number. In the case of 48 its factors add up to 76, giving it an abundance of 1.583.

48 squared is 2,304, and 2*3!*4+0 = 48, while 48 cubed is 110,592, and ((11+0)*5)-(9-2) = 48.


As a cricket fan I look at occurrences of the number 48 in the game. In 1907 Colin Blythe, Kent’s left arm spinner of the era, conceded just 48 runs while claiming 17 Northamptonshire wickets in one single day’s play. This is the cheapest ever match haul of 17 wickets, and the joint most ever taken in a day in first class cricket.

In the 1925 first class season Nottinghamshire skipper Arthur Carr hit 48 sixes. The following season he would captain England in the first four matches of the Ashes series, before Percy Chapman was brought in as skipper for the last match of the series.

In 1896, WG Grace scored 301 against Sussex at the age of 48, still the oldest ever first class triple centurion.

In the ‘Jubilee Match’ early in 1980 Ian Botham claimed 7-48 in India’s second innings, noteworthy as he had already taken 6-58 and scored 114*, the first man to combine a century and a ten wicket match haul at test level, although a few months earlier Enid Bakewell had achieved the same feat for England Women against West Indies Women.

At Edgbaston in 1981 against Australia England captain Mike Brearley managed the highest individual score of the match with 48 in England’s first innings. This was the first completed test match since 1935 to not feature an individual half century. Australia had the better of most of it, but then collapsed from 87-3 to 121 all out in the final innings to lose by 29 runs.

Why I have I produced a post the text part of which focuses on the number 48? Because today is my 48th birthday.


I have decided to select a single image with which to end this post…

Glamorgan’s Record Breaking Resistance Act

A look at a resistance act by Glamorgan that has rewritten the first class record books and a substantial photo gallery.

As the 2023 County Championship heads towards a break for the Vitality Blast (which kicked off yesterday, overlapping with this round of matches), the match between Sussex and Glamorgan is heading towards a draw, but today’s action has seen several Glamorgan records go and one all time first class record. The Glamorgan innings is still ongoing at the moment.


Kiran Carlson was sixth out, having reached a career best 192, and when Chris Cooke also fell in the morning session it looked like Sussex would have a gettable target. However, Michael Neser and Timm van der Gugten saw Glamorgan through to lunch with no further loss.


It has been since lunch that the assault on the record books has been happening, spearheaded by Neser, supported first by Van der Gugten, then by James Harris and now by number 11 Jamie McIlroy. As I write this Neser has completed his maiden Glamorgan century and brought Glamorgan’s score past 700. The first class record came when Glamorgan reached 675, 552 more than the first innings score, relegating Barbados (175 and 726-7), Middlesex (83 and 634) and Pakistan (106 and 657-8) to joint second in this category with a 551 differential, though Pakistan still hold the test record, theirs having happened against West Indies. Glamorgan have beaten their previous record against Sussex, though their overall record, against Leicestershire last season is probably out of their reach at 795. There are some mitigating factors for Sussex – Ollie Robinson has an ankle problem and has not been on the field during this innings, and regular skipper Pujara has a stiff neck and is likewise off the field, Tom Alsop leading the side in his absence. Nonetheless, Glamorgan’s response to facing a deficit of 358 on first innings has been utterly extraordinary. Sussex will be recording a fifth successive draw after coach Farbrace had said they would always go for a win.


My usual sign off…

Surrey and Somerset Record big Wins

A look at the victories recorded by Surrey and Somerset today and a splendid photo gallery.

The county championship is heading towards its break for the Vitality Blast, and all though today is only day three of four a lot of matches have reached their conclusions. This post looks at two that I followed on the radio.


Kent went into day three at The Oval trailing by three runs with six second innings wickets standing. Both overnight batters fell quickly, both to Tom Lawes who claimed his third and fourth wickets of the innings. Kent were still in arrears at that point. Lawes completed a maiden first class five-wicket haul with the seventh wicket of the innings. Sean Abbott claimed the eighth wicket of the innings, and Jordan Clark snapped up the last two. Kent had mustered a paltry 141, leaving Surrey needing 58 to win. Burns and Sibley saw Surrey home by ten wickets, just before the scheduled lunch interval. Surrey look wellnigh unstoppable – they were not by any means at their best this match and they still won it by 10 wickets.


Somerset came to Lord’s having not won any of their last six matches. Midway through day three of their encounter with Middlesex they had ended that unhappy sequence in some style, routing their opponents by an innings and 13 runs. Craig Overton claimed five second innings wickets, while the rout was completed by Jack Leach. Middlesex now look absolute certainties to be relegated back to division two. I am now following the action between Sussex and Glamorgan. Sussex had an enormous first innings lead (over 350), but Glamorgan are back in credit with only three wickets down, Labuschagne and Carlson in a partnership that is closing on the 3o0 mark. Carlson has had a curious season – this is his third century of it and all of his other innings have been under 20.


I have a splendid gallery for you…

A First Innings Lead In Unorthodox Fashion

A look at the events in Surrey v Kent, particularly the transformation wrought by the Surrey lower order, plus a huge photo gallery.

In this last round of championship fixtures before a break for the Vitality Blast T20 tournament Surrey are playing neighbours Kent, and day two is entering its closing stages. Surrey are about where they would want to be, but not in the way they would have expected.


Kent had been restricted to 278 in the first innings, and when Surrey reached the 100 with only one wicket gone things seemed to be going well for them, but then Kent had their best period of the game, and by the time Surrey reached 200 they were six wickets down. With a seventh wicket falling not very long after the 200 was reached Kent may have expected a significant advantage, especially with number eight Sean Abbott being Surrey’s senior remaining batter. However, Surrey moved close to parity in a stand between Abbott and Tom Lawes, and then surged clear as Abbott and Gus Atkinson cut loose. Abbott was ninth out for 78, and then with last man Daniel Worrall at the other end, Atkinson blasted three sixes in the space of a single over to complete a 42 ball half century. Surrey had tallied 362 for a first innings lead of 84. Kent are currently 20-0 in their second innings, but Crawley has already enjoyed one moment of good fortune – a massive lash out drive at the second ball of the innings met fresh air – had there been a fraction of contact then, as has happened so often in Crawley’s career the slips would have been in business. The other opener, Ben Compton, has just gone as I type this, caught by Pope after Will Jacks missed it but fortunately sent it upwards, enabling Pope to atone for the mistake. Surrey thus lead by 64 with Kent having nine second innings wickets standing.


My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Before the County Championship

A look at the best players from before the official inauguration of the county championship, some comments on the selection of England test squad for the one off match against Ireland and a large photo gallery.

Today I create an XI of the best players most or all of whose careers took place before there was a county championship. Incidentally, there is a page from which all my posts about Saturday’s excursion to Pensthorpe can be accessed. Before I get into the main business of today’s post there is a brief section about…


The squad for the first test match of the home season, against Ireland is now out, and there are three areas of concern, two selections and an omission. Zak Crawley, a proven failure at test level, retains his slot at the top of the order. Far worse, Ben Foakes has been dropped to make way for the return to test action of Jonathan Bairstow. There may be a case for picking Bairstow, though in a test career which stretches back to 2012 he has blown hot and cold, and more often cold than hot, but there is not even the shadow of a case for dropping Foakes, the best current keeper by far, and someone who has been scoring big runs for Surrey in the championship this season, including a century at better than a run a ball when Surrey were looking for a declaration. Many people have posed this as being a challenge about how to accommodate Bairstow, and I have two options, listed in order of preference:

  1. Opt for what C Auguste Dupin would call “the sagacious and comprehensive expedient of making no attempt to accommodate Bairstow”. England are coming off a very successful winter without Bairstow, and Bairstow’s overall test record is that of a mediocre middle order batter, certainly not sufficient to warrant discarding Foakes.
  2. Have Bairstow open the innings as he does in white ball cricket and drop the proven failure Crawley (I would prefer to see a proper opener such as Ben Compton or Ali Orr picked in Crawley’s case, but at least Bairstow would probably be an improvement were he coming in in place of Crawley).

It is now time to get back to the main meat of the post…


  1. *WG Grace (right handed opening batter, right arm bowler of various types through his career, captain). Had a quarter of a century of first class experience by the time of the first official county championship, so even though he played his last first class game as late as 1908 he qualifies.
  2. Arthur Shrewsbury (right handed opening batter). The man WG rated as the second best batter around (himself obviously no1), and since he played 15 years of FC before the inauguration of the Championship and 12 afterwards he just qualifies.
  3. James Aylward (left handed batter). In 1777, just eight years after John Minshull had scored the first recorded century in any form of cricket, he hit the Hambledon record score of 167, which remained an all comers record for 43 years.
  4. William ‘Silver Billy’ Beldham (right handed batter). In an era when centuries of any kind were rare he hit three in matches of indisputably first class status.
  5. Fuller Pilch (right handed batter). Acknowledged as the best batter of the 1830s and 1840s, a period when scoring was very low.
  6. Alfred Mynn (right handed batter, right arm fast bowler). “The Lion of Kent”, an absolute man mountain, and a great all rounder. He was quick enough that on one occasion someone fielding at long stop (directly behind the keeper) to his bowling once had to be hospitalized after being hit in the chest by several of his deliveries.
  7. Vyell Walker (right handed batter, right arm slow underarm bowler). One of only two cricketers to have scored a century and taken an all-10 in the same first class fixture (the other, WG, is also in this XI). As an underarm bowler any turn he got would have been the equivalent of an overarm bowler bowling leg spin, which makes him a good slow bowling partner for the next guy in the order…
  8. Billy Bates (right handed batter, off spinner). A massively impressive career record, probably equating in the modern era to averaging 32 with the bat and 25 the ball (actual averages were 21 and 17). He was even better in his brief test career, averaging 27 with bat and 16 with the ball, which probably equates to 41 and 24 in the modern era.
  9. +Tom Box (wicket keeper, right handed batter). He appeared in every fixture that Sussex played for an unbroken 24 year period, and although his batting average looks very low to modern eyes it is about 60% of that of Fuller Pilch, rated the best batter of the era.
  10. William Lillywhite (right arm fast roundarm bowler, right handed lower order batter). Rated the best bowler of his era (he was referred to as ‘the Nonpareil’, one half of my envisaged new ball pairing.
  11. William Mycroft (left arm fast bowler, right handed tail end batter). 800 first class wickets at 12 a piece.

This side has a powerful batting line up, with everyone down to Bates at number eight definitely capable of playing a match winning innings. The bowling, with Mycroft, Lillywhite and Mynn to bowl pace, and Bates and Walker two contrasting types of slow bowler, plus of course the redoubtable WG is magnificent, having both depth and variety.


The two chief rivals to Shrewsbury for the position of Grace’s opening partner were John Small of Hambledon and EM Grace. Lambert, scorer of twin centuries in a match in 1817, a feat which stood alone for half a century until WG Grace emulated it might have had a middle order slot. George Osbaldeston was a fine fast bowling all rounder, but not I reckon the equal of Mynn. Had I been going to pick an overseas player it would have been Dr ME Pavri (India), who visited England in the 1890s and achieved remarkable things as a pace bowling all rounder (once in his native land he decided in advance that team mates weren’t needed, took on an XI on his unaided own, and beat them). Among the great bowlers who missed out were David Harris (Hambledon), the Notts duo of Alfred Shaw and Fred Morley, James Broadbridge and John Wisden both of Sussex and two Yorkshire speedsters, Tom Emmett (left arm) and George Freeman (right arm). Sam Redgate, John Jackson and George Tarrant would all also have their advocates.


My usual sign off…

All Time XIs: Consistent Come Rain or Shine

An all time XI of cricketers who achieved on a massively consistent basis in the county championship.

This is a sort of follow up to the post I have just published – I pick a team of players who were consistently great in the county championship over very long periods, with one single exception – a kind of wild card pick I allowed myself, which I will tackle more fully when I come to him. This is an all-English XI.


  1. Jack Hobbs (right handed opening batter, outstanding cover fielder, occasional medium pacer). The scorer of more first class runs and more first class hundreds than anyone else in history.
  2. Herbert Sutcliffe (right handed opening batter). Although he was even better at test level than at county level he still has a case to be regarded as the greatest of all county championship batters, as I argued in the previous post.
  3. Walter Hammond (right handed batter, ace slip fielder, right arm medium fast bowler). The third leading scorer of first class hundreds, and one of seven players to have scored over 50,000 runs in first class cricket.
  4. Phil Mead (left handed batter). The fourth leading scorer of first class runs and first class hundreds.
  5. Patsy Hendren (right handed batter, outstanding fielder). The second leading scorer of first class hundreds, the third leading scorer of first class runs.
  6. George Hirst (right handed batter, left arm fast medium bowler, outstanding fielder). Rated by his skipper Lord Hawke as the finest of all county cricketers, he achieved the season’s double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets on 14 occasions, including the only ever ‘double double’ of 2,000 runs and 200 wickets. 10 of those 14 doubles were achieved in successive seasons, the greatest display of all round consistency in the history of cricket.
  7. Vallance Jupp (right handed batter, off spinner). He achieved the double eight times in succession in the 1920s, second only Hirst’s great sequence mentioned above.
  8. +Bob Taylor (wicket keeper, right handed batter). More dismissals than any other keeper in first class history.
  9. Frank Tyson (right arm fast bowler, right handed lower order batter). The wildcard pick, probably the fastest bowler England has ever produced, and a few brief years he did brilliantly, including blitzing the Aussies in their own backyard in 1954-5.
  10. *Wilfred Rhodes (left arm orthodox spinner, right handed lower order batter). Rhodes had an amazing career comprising at least five distinct phases – specialist bowler, all rounder, specialist batter, all rounder, specialist bowler – but it his bowling that this side needs, and it as the taker of more first class wickets than anyone else that I have selected him. I have also named him as captain, reckoning that he would be an outstanding skipper had he had the chance. He once said of an England skipper “aye ‘ee wor a good un – he allus did what me and Jack (Hobbs) telt him”.
  11. Derek Shackleton (right arm medium fast bowler, right handed lower order batter). Only one bowler managed to take 100 or more first class wickets in each of 20 successive seasons, and it was him. Rhodes achieved the feat 23 times in all in his astonishing career.

This side has a super powerful top five, two outstanding all rounders at six and seven, a great keeper who was a better bat than he was often given credit for being and a well varied trio of great bowlers to round out the order. A bowling attack that has Tyson, Shackleton and Hirst to bowl seam, Rhodes and Jupp to bowl spin and Hammond as sixth bowler is more than amply equipped to claim 20 wickets.


This section has multiple subsections, starting with:


This post is about cricketers who were in their prime when the championship was on an organized footing, and as mentioned in the previous post WG was past his prime by 1890.


Frank Woolley had a truly outstanding record, and I would not argue against selecting him. It was a coin toss between him and Mead and I went for Mead.


A very great batter, but I felt the Hobbs/ Sutcliffe combo, the greatest opening pair in history, had to be kept together.


While his record with the bat was outstanding, it was too often not accompanied by success for his team, and for that reason he had to be disqualified.


The second leading wicket taker in first class history, the only bowler to take three first class all-tens, the only bowler to take 300 first class wickets in a season. However, while he habitually destroyed the ‘rest’ there was a notable falling off in his record even against the strongest counties – he paid over twice as much for his Surrey and Lancashire wickets as he did for his Northamptonshire and Somerset ones.


Had I been going to pick a specialist captain I would have gone with Stuart Surridge, who captained Surrey for five seasons and won five county championships, but I felt I could not accommodate a specialist skipper in this XI. Had I not decided to allow myself the wildcard pick of Frank Tyson I would have had two choices for a fast bowler who had a very long and consistent career: Tom Richardson or Fred Trueman. Maurice Tate might be considered unlucky to miss out, and everyone will have their favourites who they feel I have neglected.


My usual sign off…

What Makes A Great County Championship Batter?

This post, the first of two related posts I shall be producing today, was prompted by a piece I saw via social media about just who was the greatest of all county championship batters. I was not satisfied with the methodology used in that piece, so decided to do my own version.


The first requirement is obviously to have a great record over a long period of time. Secondly, the County Championship was only put on an official footing in 1890, so we are looking at careers after that year only. Thirdly, cricket is a team game, so runs that contribute to championships count for more than other runs.


Although he had an outstanding season in 1895 and a very good one in 1896 WG Grace’s greatest days were done by the time there was actually a county championship, so he is not eligible.

Geoffrey Boycott twice averaged over 100 for an English season, but both these tall scoring years have a massive asterisk against them – on each Yorkshire fared worse in those seasons than they had done the year before when Boycott was less prolific – a nine place drop from 4th to 13th in the first of them, and a smaller drop from 4th to 7th in the second.

Jack Hobbs had an outstanding record, but Surrey didn’t win many championships during his playing career.

Walter Hammond never won a county championship for all his great record with the bat, and his poor captaincy was partly to blame for that.

Phil Mead of Hampshire likewise never helped his side to win a championship, though he holds the records for most runs and most centuries for a single first class team.


Herbert Sutcliffe had his entry into first class cricket delayed by one world war and his first class career terminated by the outbreak of the other. In the 20 years he did play he was a consistent, huge run scorer, more often than not top of the Yorkshire batting averages, although as I have pointed out elsewhere his test record was better than his overall first class record, and his Ashes record was better still. In keeping with this ‘big occasion’ temperament, nine of his championship centuries came at the expense of bitter rivals Lancashire. Also, if we turn to the element of contributing to championship success, Yorkshire were champions in 1919, won four successive titles in the 1920s, and won the championship a further seven times in the course of the 1930s, giving Sutcliffe a playing role in the winning of 12 county championships. I end this section with one example of Sutcliffe scoring runs that altered the outcome of the match. The match in question was against Kent, whose bowling was dominated at that time by leg spinner Tich Freeman. In the final innings of a low scoring affair Yorkshire needed 192 on a pitch that had not previously allowed a total that high. Yorkshire won by two wickets, and 110 of those 192 came from the bat of Herbert Sutcliffe, with the only other innings of significance coming from skipper Sellers (34 not out at the death).


Leonard Hutton, who shared some of Sutcliffe’s triumphs in the 1930s and was the best English batter of the immediate post-war era was probably the closest rival to Sutcliffe, though Peter May scores well when it comes to helping his side win titles. Most overseas players would not qualify due to not playing enough, although three who did were Roy Marshall and Barry Richards (both Hampshire) and Mike Hussey (several counties in the recent past). Most of the best present-day English batters would be unlikely to qualify because international commitments restrict them to only a few championship appearances in any given season.


Even with two blog posts to cater for I have a big photo gallery (please note I will out for most of tomorrow, on a West Norfolk Autism Group outing to Pensthorpe, where I expect to get some particularly impressive photos).

Watching The Metronomes In Action

An account of a day trip top Broxbourne to watch the Metronomes in action.

On Sunday the Metronomes, a cricket club who raise funds for charity and who I follow on twitter, were playing at Broxbourne and since that is close enough to me that I can get there and back in a day, even on the Sunday before a bank holiday Monday I decided to go and watch. This post describes the day from my point of view.


I arrived at King’s Lynn station in good time for the train I intended to catch, noting immediately that it was terminating at Ely, which meant a replacement bus service would be operating between Ely and Cambridge. Fortunately this did not materially affect the outward journey, and I arrived at Broxbourne at 13:16. The walk from the station to Broxbourne cricket club is short and scenic, much of it being within sight of the river Lea. Among the highlights were Canada Geese.


I found a seat with a decent view of the action, and ate my lunch and drank my bottle of water. Later I bought a good but seriously overpriced pint of beer. The opposition, the Three Graces batted first, and they did not fare especially well. During the innings break Mark Puttick, a keen statistician and part of the Metronomes introduced himself. Later, during the Metronomes response, their founder, Bex Coleman, also introduced herself. Mark had expressed his belief that Metronomes could chase down the total without needing him to bat, and that proved to be the case – a superb opening stand set them up, and there only ever looked like being one outcome. I left shortly after the handshakes, to ensure that I could get home at a sensible time.


The train from Broxbourne to Cambridge stopped at every station along the way, and I had a bit of a wait for the onward bus connection to Ely, and then a substantial wait at Ely for the train to King’s Lynn (fortunately the weather was very pleasant – Ely is a nice station, but in bad weather it is a horrible place to have to wait – the wind can be vicious in East Anglia and Ely is very exposed. I got home just before eight o’clock.

All Time XIs – “Bazball”

An all time XI picked to play in the style of Ben Stokes’ England test team and a large photo gallery, including a new bird sighting.

Welcome to my latest offering. I am studiously avoiding paying any attention whatsoever to events in London today, and this sentence will be the only hint of anything to do with those events you get in this blog. Today I select an all time XI that I would trust to play cricket with the same approach as Ben Stokes’ current England test side. I am following my “county” rules in terms of selection – one overseas player allowed, the rest English.


  1. *WG Grace (right handed opening batter, right arm bowler of various types through his career, captain). A batter who always looked to score runs and scored huge numbers of them, his approach to captaincy was also fundamentally attacking.
  2. Lionel Palairet (right handed opening batter). A dashing opening batter who scored 10o+ runs in a morning session on five separate occasions in 1901, one of them against that years champions Yorkshire when Somerset trailed by 238 on first innings and came back to win by 279 runs.
  3. Frank Woolley (left handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner, ace slip fielder). The only cricketer ever to score 10,000+ FC runs, take 1,000+ FC wickets and pouch 1,000+ FC catches, and noted for feats of fast scoring with the bat.
  4. Denis Compton (right handed batter, occasional left arm wrist spinner). A top drawer entertainer with a magnificent record.
  5. Garry Sobers (left handed batter, left arm bowler of every type known to cricket, ace fielder). There was really only one candidate for the overseas player in an XI of this nature – the most complete player there has ever been, and very attacking by inclination.
  6. +Les Ames (right handed batter, wicket keeper). He won the Lawrence trophy for the fastest first class century of the season twice in the first three years of its existence.
  7. Gilbert Jessop (right handed batter, right arm fast bowler, ace fielder). He scored 53 first class hundreds, yet only once did he bat for more than three hours in a single innings, for a score of 240. He still has the record for the fastest test century by an England batter, though there have been several recent challenges.
  8. Arthur Wellard (right arm fast medium bowler, right handed lower middle order batter). In 1935 he hit 66 sixes in the first class season, a record that stood for half a century. A quarter of his 12,000 FC runs came in sixes, and he was a good enough bowler to set the Somerset record for most first class wickets in a season.
  9. Jim Laker (off spinner, right handed lower order batter). With Woolley, Sobers and Compton able to cover every variety of left arm spin and the next player in the order famed for bowling what was effectively a quick leg break I felt that an off spinner was called for, and Laker was clearly the answer.
  10. Syd Barnes (right arm fast medium bowler, right handed lower order batter). Probably the greatest bowler there has ever been, a must pick.
  11. William Mycroft (left arm fast bowler, right handed tail end batter). My envisaged new ball partner for Barnes, he just missed out on the start of test cricket, being 35 years old when the inaugural such match was played, though he had had a fine season in 1876. He took over 800 first class wickets at 12 a piece.

This squad has a powerful batting line up, with all of the top seven save Palairet (two caps in 1902) test match regulars, and the only non-bowlers are keeper Ames and Palairet, though Compton would be unlikely to be called on for many overs in this line up. The bowling attack is richly varied, and that Barnes was well suited to sharing the new ball with a left arm pacer is proven by the great success he had in the 1911-12 Ashes when opening the bowling with Frank Foster, just such a bowler. I would expect this side to score big totals at a rapid rate and not to have any problems taking 20 opposition wickets.


Of course there are hundreds of potential qualifiers for this XI. My biggest regret was not being able to accommodate an under arm bowler – there were three outstanding candidates, David Harris, the first authentically great bowler, Digby Jephson who might have had Wellard’s slot and George Simpson-Hayward, the last of the breed to play at test level. If you want to suggest other players go ahead – as I have said there are many possibles, but do consider how your choices would affect the balance of the side.


I have a fine photo gallery, including a new bird sighting – I saw a pair of shelduck where the Nar flows into the Great Ouse while out walking this morning. Also, I will probably not get a post up tomorrow as I will be out for most of the day since the Metronomes are playing at Broxbourne. Now for those photos…