Pensthorpe 2023 – Cranes and Flamingos

The final installment in my series about Saturday’s excursion to Pensthorpe, featuring Cranes and Flamingos.

Welcome to the final post in my mini-series about the excursion to Pensthorpe on Saturday. Our subjects are cranes and flamingos. The former are the subject of one of Pensthorpe’s major conservation efforts.


As you enter the area where the cranes and flamingos are the flamingo pool is in one direction, open and visible, and the birds themselves, clustered together in numbers, are even more so. In the other direction is the crane hide, with wide, shallow windows each of which you can observe a different species of crane through. I actually managed to visit this part of Pensthorpe twice in the course of the day, near the beginning and near the end (visiting it also means passing within sight of the Monet inspired bridge, pictures of which featured in my introductory post, which is a bonus).

Pensthorpe 2023: Ducks and Geese

Continuing my mini-series about my visit to Pensthorpe with a look at the ducks and geese that I saw there, which include some exotic species as well as some commonplace ones.

This is the second post in my mini-series (the first is here) about my visit to Pensthorpe yesterday as part of a West Norfolk Autism Group excursion.


A huge variety of duck and goose species were on show all around Pensthorpe. The Barnacle Geese (black and white coloured and smaller than any other variety of goose at Pensthorpe) were notably aggressive. There were goose families of one sort or another on or around virtually every pathway. Ducks of varying species were using pretty much every available body of water.


We start with the ducks…

Now for the geese:

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: Greenery

A ‘greenery’ XI and a photo gallery in two parts.

As my photo galleries indicate I enjoy spending time in and around greenery, so for today I am creating an XI of cricketers whose names connect with greenery in some way, shape or form.


  1. John Berry Hobbs (right handed opening batter, outstanding cover fielder, occasional right arm medium pace bowler). More commonly known as Jack Hobbs, aka ‘The Master’, but it is that middle name ‘Berry’ that qualifies him for this XI.
  2. Les Berry (right handed opening batter). A long and distinguished career for Leicestershire, though typically for a player at an ‘unfashionable’ county scant recognition from the England selectors.
  3. *Andrew Flower (left handed batter, occasional wicket keeper, occasional off spinner, captain). At the height of his career the world number one ranked batter. Also had a distinguished coaching career, albeit England’s rise to number one in the test rankings under his stewardship was accompanied by a number of the players suffering in terms of personal well being.
  4. Grant Flower (right handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner). A fine batter and a useful bowler, well worth his place in this side.
  5. James H Parks (right handed batter, right arm slow medium bowler). The only cricketer ever to score 3,000 runs and take 100 wickets in the same first class season. I have included his middle initial to distinguish him from his son James M Parks, a batter/ keeper.
  6. Cameron Green (right handed batter, right arm fast bowler). Still young, but the tall Aussie is very rapidly establishing himself as a multi-format star.
  7. Wilfred Flowers (right handed batter, off spinner). A good enough all rounder to have done the season’s double five times in the course of his career and to have had a respectable test record.
  8. +Dick Lilley (wicket keeper, right handed batter). A long serving England keeper of the late 19th and early 20th century and a useful lower order batter. Although the plant is spelt differently it is of course the lily that gets him in.
  9. William Lillywhite (right arm fast bowler, right handed batter). The ‘nonpareil’, one of the first masters of ’round arm’, the bowling style that developed from under arm and led to over arm, along with his county colleague James Broadbridge. Again it is the lily that gets him in.
  10. Dennis Lillee (right arm fast bowler, right handed batter). The lily gives the side another great opening bowler.
  11. Eric Hollies (leg spinner, right handed batter). Our line up is completed with a leg spinner, using the fact that his surname looks like the plural of ‘holly’.

This XI has a powerful line batting line up and a varied bowling attack – Lillee, Lillywhite, Green and Parks to provide pace, seam and swing, and Hollies, Flowers and G Flower providing a full range of spin options


Graham Rose, the Somerset bowling all rounder, was a clear candidate. James M Parks, like his father James H would have his advocates, but I preferred the finer keeper in Lilley. Had Grant Flower not had a place already then left arm spinner Holly Colvin, a former world cup winner for England Women, would have been up for consideration. Another Holly who some might have considered was Aussie Women’s pacer Holly Ferling. Arthur Bush, Gloucestershire wicket keeper in WG Grace’s early days (and best man at the latter’s wedding as well), was not quite good enough to displace Lilley. New Zealand women’s seamer Lea Tahuhu could have been included by way of her first name – lea is a poetic word for meadow.


My usual sign off comes in two parts because today was a Just a Cuppa Autism Acceptance morning at King’s Lynn Library. As an autistic person, a founder member of the West Norfolk Autism Group and a big library user I enjoy these mornings hugely – my preferred activity during them is lego architecture…

Now for my regular pictures…

England XIs: WWII – 1962

A look at the best England men’s cricketers of the immediate post war era and a large photo gallery.

I continue my look at the England men’s cricket team through the ages with a look at the immediate postwar era. I have chosen 1962 as the endpoint because the 1963 season was notable on two grounds: it was the first season in which players were not divided between amateurs and professionals (or “Gentlemen” and “Players”) and it also saw the first staging of the first professional limited overs tournament, the Gillette Cup, and from these beginnings limited overs cricket, and subsequently very limited overs cricket in the form of T20 would come to play an ever increasing role in professional cricket.


  1. *Leonard Hutton (right handed opening batter, captain). In 1938 at Trent Bridge Walter Hammond became the first officially appointed England captain to have played cricket as a professional. In the very first England XI he led out on to the field was the man who would become the first to be appointed official England captain while still playing as a professional, Leonard Hutton. Hutton was comfortably England’s best batter of the immediate postwar years (the only remotely credible challenger, Denis Compton, actually wrote in one of hs books that Hutton was the greater batter of the two). What makes Hutton’s performances between 1946 and 1955, which stand among the greatest of anyone in the game’s history in any case, even more extraordinary is that as well as having lost six years of cricketing development to the war he had suffered a training accident which left him with one arm shorter than the other.
  2. Cyril Washbrook (right handed opening batter). The best of Hutton’s various opening partners. In 1956 after Hutton had retired, Washbrook, then a 41 year old selector, was chosen for the third test of the series against Australia and scored a crucial 98, paving the way for further successful recalls for David Sheppard (4th test, century from number three) then Bishop of Woolwich and Compton (5th test, having had his right kneecap surgically removed and fought his way back to fitness, 94).
  3. Colin Cowdrey (right handed batter, ace slip fielder, occasional leg spinner). The first cricketer to earn 100 test caps and by the end of his career scorer of 22 test centuries, at the time a joint England record with Hammond.
  4. Denis Compton (right handed batter, occasional left arm wrist spinner). Even with a long term knee injury, ultimately necessitating the removal of the kneecap he achieved some outstanding performances for England, including a century in each innings at Adelaide in the 1946-7 Ashes, four centuries against the visiting South Africans in 1947, two against Bradman’s 1948 Invincibles and a 278 against Pakistan at Trent Bridge in 1954.
  5. Peter May (right handed batter). In test cricket’s slowest scoring decade this naturally aggressive batter averaged 46.77, including a 285 not out that effectively terminated Sonny Ramadhin as an effective bowling force (Ramadhin ended up toiling through 98 overs in that innings, as West Indies, having led by 288 on first innings ended up clinging on for a draw with seven wickets down in their second innings).
  6. Trevor Bailey (right handed batter, right arm fast medium bowler). A genuine all rounder.
  7. +Godfrey Evans (wicket keeper, right handed batter). One of the greatest keepers of all time and a good enough batter to have scored two test centuries.
  8. Jim Laker (off spinner, right handed lower order batter). 193 wickets at 21 a piece in 46 test appearances. In 1956 he claimed 46 wickets in the Ashes series at 9.6 a piece, including the best match haul in first class history, 19-90 at Old Trafford (9-37 in the first innings, 10-53 second time round).
  9. Johnny Wardle (left arm orthodox spinner, left arm wrist spinner, left handed lower order batter). 102 test wickets at 20.39. He was often passed over in favour of Tony Lock, and his career came to a premature end after he expressed forceful opinions about Yorkshire’s choice of captain in 1958. His robust late order hitting was also of value to England more than once.
  10. Fred Trueman (right arm fast bowler, right handed lower order batter). The first bowler of any type to claim as many as 300 test scalps, 307 in 67 matches.
  11. Brian Statham (right arm fast bowler, right handed lower order batter). 252 test scalps at 24 a piece, most of them bowling from the less favourable end as either Trueman or Frank Tyson (in the 1954-5 Ashes) had first choice of which end to bowl from.

This XI has a powerful top five, a genuine all rounder at six, a legendary keeper, two of the greatest spinners of all time and two great fast bowlers who were moreover a regular combination at test level.


I start this section with two name checks as the players concerned deserve more than a standard honourable mention:


A fine right handed batter and a useful right arm fast medium bowler. However I could only accommodate him in one of two ways: play him as an opener in place of Washbrook, or class him as an all rounder and give him Bailey’s slot, and neither of those seemed right to me.


For the first few years after the war he carried England’s bowling almost single handed, and at the time of his retirement he was test cricket’s leading wicket taker with 236 scalps. However I wanted two spinners, and considered the claims of the fast bowlers Trueman and Statham to be unanswerable, so I could not accommodate him.


Although Ken Barrington and Ted Dexter both played for England during this period I considered them to belong more properly to the next. No other keeper of this period was close to Evans with the gloves, though the more determined members of the “look at the batting first” school of thought might opt for James M Parks (his father James H Parks, a batting all rounder, also played for Sussex and England), a quality batter, but several classes below Evans with the gloves.

The brilliant but meteoric Frank Tyson might have had a fast bowling slot. Tony Lock’s bowling action for most of his England career was to put politely of dubious legality, and he could bowl only finger spin, whereas Wardle could also bowl wrist spin. Leg spinner Doug Wright could be devastating on his day (he claimed a record seven first class hat tricks), but when things weren’t going his way he was often very expensive. I end this section with one of cricket’s ultimate ‘might have beens’: Maurice Tremlett of Somerset (father of Tim, grandfather of Chris) who had a dream first class debut, claiming eight wickets in the match and then playing a splendid cameo innings to see his side over the line by one wicket against the team who would be that season’s champions, Middlesex. Unfortunately he fell victim to well meaning coaches who tried to turn a fast-medium who liked to give the ball a wallop into a genuine fast bowler and succeeded in destroying his confidence and interest in bowling, and within a few years he was playing for Somerset as an exciting middle order batter who was occasionally used as a partnership breaker with the ball.


My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – The Letter N

Continuing the exploration of the all-time XIs theme with a look at the letter N.

Welcome to this latest installment in my exploration of the ‘all time XIs’ theme. This time the team all have surnames beginning with the letter N.


  1. Stan Nichols (Essex, England). Left handed batter, right arm fast bowler. He didn’t play many games for England, but he was an Essex stalwart for many years, and he did on occasion open the batting for the county, a role I have given him in this.
  2. Mudassar Nazar (Pakistan). A stubborn right handed opening batter and occasional purveyor of medium pace. He forms an excellent counterpoint to the flamboyant Nichols.
  3. Seymour Nurse (West Indies). An excellent batter with test HS of 258. He is the first of a powerful trio of middle order batters for this team.
  4. Arthur Dudley Nourse (South Africa). A test average of 53, maintained through a long career.
  5. Arthur William ‘Dave’ Nourse (South Africa). A left handed batter and left arm medium pace bowler. He was Dudley’s father, but never coached his son. Once an argument about how to hold the bat broke out in a game of street cricket that Dudley was playing, and Dudley took the matter to his father. Papa Nourse, completely composed, told Dudley “Son I learned to bat with a fence paling – now you go and do the same”. From that moment on Dudley did things his way.
  6. *Monty Noble (Australia). A right handed batter and off spin bowler, he was one two notable all rounders to play for Australia in the early 20th century, Warwick Armstrong being the other. He was highly regarded as captain of the side, a role I have given him in this XI. He was the third victim of arguably the most notable test hat trick ever taken, when at Headingley in 1899 JT Hearne accounted for Clem Hill, Syd Gregory and him in successive balls – one great batter, one very good one and one all rounder. He was the bowler when Albert Trott hit his famous blow that carried the Lord’s pavilion. His accounts of the 1924-5 and 1928-9 Ashes series are both excellent reads. His full record can be viewed here.
  7. +Paul Nixon (Leicestershire, England). Years of sterling service for his county did not translate into many England caps, but he was a superb keeper, and good enough with the bat to have scored 1,000 FC runs in a season – the first Leicestershire keeper to reach that mark since 1935.
  8. Makhaya Ntini (South Africa). Over 300 test wickets confirm his status as a top notch fast bowler.
  9. Shahbaz Nadeem (India). A left arm orthodox spinner with a fine FC record whose international opportunities have been limited by the fact that he is a contemporary of Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel, both of whom are quite rightly ahead of him in the pecking order.
  10. Sarfraz Nawaz (Pakistan). Not a genuinely fast bowler, but a highly effective operator at fast medium. His greatest moment came with Australia 305-3 chasing a target of 382 – they were 310 all out, Sarfraz Nawaz taking all seven of those wickets, to give him nine in the innings, at a cost of one run.
  11. Anrich Nortje (South Africa). One of the fastest bowlers of the current era, no opponents relish facing him.

This side contains a somewhat make shift opening pair, a powerful trio at three, four and five, a genuine all rounder, a keeper who could bat and four fine specialist bowlers. It is not one of the strongest XIs in this series, but it is certainly not the weakest either. If forced to choose I would always prefer a strong bowling side with slightly questionable batting over a powerful batting side that will struggle to take 20 wickets – the former combo is much more likely to win matches, while the latter will probably be made to settle for a draw when its batting fires and be defeated when it does not.


I will start with the question of openers: the main alternatives to using Nichols in that role were Scott Newman, who never played international cricket though he was fairly prolific at county level, and Imran Nazir of Pakistan, most of whose greatest successes came in limited overs matches.

Henry Nicholls of New Zealand is a gritty batter but not quite of the necessary class to displace Nurse or either of the Nourses from this XI.

Otto Nothling was a fine all round athlete, and a good cricketer at state level in Australia, but when the chance came at test level he did nothing. Had I not settled on Noble as skipper I would have considered Shelley Nitschke for the all rounders slot – her being a left arm spinner would have made selecting the specialist spinner somewhat easier.

The only alternative to Nixon for the keeper’s slot that I could think of was another player with Leicestershire connections, Tom New. He was perhaps a little better with the bat than Nixon but he was not as good a keeper, and that settled the issue.

Rana Naved of Pakistan at number eight would have strengthened the batting (none of my four chosen bowlers would be likely to make a major contribution in that department), but while his record at FC level and in limited overs internationals was good, he paid over 50 a piece for his test wickets. Australian brothers Lisle and Vernon Nagel both bowled medium fast, making use of their height (6’6″) to generate awkward bounce. Lisle once took 8-32 in an innings in a tour match vs MCC (during the 1932-3 tour), but he did not deliver for the test team. Buster Nupen, the only test cricketer born in Norway, came close, but he paid 32 a piece for his wickets at the highest level, just too much. Australian pacer Ashley Noffke was never a regular at international level, and similarly current Indian pacer T Natarajan has yet to establish himself at the highest level.

Mark Nicholas could only have made the XI as a specialist captain, a notion I do not especially approve of, and with Noble available to skipper one that was hardly necessary. He would however get to lead the comms team when this XI was in action.

Nasim-ul-Ghani who was the first nightwatcher to score a test ton did not do enough with his left arm spin to merit inclusion. Sunil Narine, formerly of the West Indies and now plying his trade in short format leagues around the world is an off spinner thus with the presence of Noble doubly disqualified. Similar arguments apply to Afghan legend Mohammad Nabi.

I fully expect that ten years or so from now the young Afghan left arm wrist spinner Noor Ahmad will have taken his place among the cricketing elite, but at the moment, not altogether surprisingly for a 17 tear old he does not have enough of a record to be worth a place. He may suffer somewhat because his country have such a glut of quality spinners: Rashid Khan, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Qais Ahmad and Zahir Khan are just four of those he is up against for international honours.


Our cricketing journey through the letter N is at an end and it remains only to apply the usual sign off…

All Time XIs – The Letter L

A couple of pieces of news and a continuation of my exploration of the All Time XIs theme with a team whose surnames all begin with L.

Before I get to the main meat of this blog post – another variation on the all time XIs theme I have a couple of pieces of news to share.


Yesterday I got the news of my stewarding commitment for Heritage Open Day (Sunday 11th September), and I regard it as a plum posting: the Red Mount Chapel, between 10AM and noon. I have visited this remarkable place a number of times, including during last year’s Heritage Open Day.


Your Local Paper have produced an article about the Beer Festival at Stewart House raising funds for the West Norfolk Autism Group.

Now we move on to the main meat of the post, a look at the greatest cricketers to have surnames beginning with the letter L.


  1. Bill Lawry (Australia). A dour left handed opener, his test record speaks for itself.
  2. Marnus Labuschagne (Glamorgan, Australia). One of the best contemporary test match batters in the world. He generally bats at three, but I am moving up one place to open due to the number high quality batters I have to accommodate and the fact that there are not many regular openers of quality who had surnames beginning with L.
  3. Brian Lara (Warwickshire, West Indies). The only person to twice hold the world record individual score in test cricket and one of only two (Bradman being the other) to simultaneously hold the world FC and test record individual scores.
  4. VVS Laxman (India). A monumental 281 vs Australia in 2001 helped set up only the third instance of a team coming back from being made to follow on to win a test match. He was part of a massively strong middle order, playing alongside Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly in their prime.
  5. *Clive Lloyd (Lancashire, West Indies). A shoo-in for the captaincy of this side, as one of the two greatest West Indian skippers ever (Frank Worrell being the other). 110 test matches yielded him 7,515 runs, and he quite often only had to bat once because of the immense strength of his West Indies side.
  6. James Langridge (Sussex, England). A left arm spin bowling all rounder, his international opportunities were limited by him being a contemporary of Hedley Verity who had first dibs on the left arm spinner’s spot. Nonetheless his test averages were the right way round, while in the course of his long first class career he averaged 35 with the bat and 21 with the ball.
  7. +Gil Langley (Australia). One of the many great wicket keepers produced by Australia over the years. He was the first keeper to make as many as nine dismissals in a single test match, a feat later equalled by Rodney Marsh and bettered by Jack Russell.
  8. Ray Lindwall (Australia). One of the greatest of all fast bowlers and a handy enough lower order batter to have scored two test centuries.
  9. George Lohmann (Surrey, England). The cheapest wicket taking average of anyone to have claimed 100+ test wickets – 110 at 10.75 each, also by far the quickest strike rate of any taker of 100+ wickets at that level – one every 34 balls.
  10. Jim Laker (Surrey, Essex, England). For my money the greatest off spinner ever to play the game. 193 wickets in 46 test matches, at 21 a piece. His absolute peak was the 1956 Ashes when he took 46 wickets at 9.60 a piece in the series, including a test AND FC record match analysis of 19-90 at Old Trafford. In the tour match for Surrey v Australia he took 10-88 in the first innings of the match, bowling 46 overs on that occasion. His most shattering single piece of bowling came at Bradford in 1950 when playing for England against The Rest he took 8-2 (one of the singles being a gift to Eric Bedser) as The Rest collapsed to 27 all out.
  11. Dennis Lillee (Northamptonshire, Australia). A former holder of the record for most career test wickets – 355 in 71 test matches. He was at least two great bowlers – a fire and brimstone quick in his younger days, and a superbly accurate fast-medium bowler late in his career.

This team has a strong top five, albeit one of them batting out of position, a great all rounder, a great keeper and four great and well varied bowlers. Two genuine quicks in Lindwall and Lillee, a very crafty medium pacer in Lohmann, Laker’s off spin and Langridge’s left arm spin represents a strong and superbly balanced bowling attack.


I considered two specialist openers in addition to Lawry. John Langridge, brother of James, scored 76 first class hundreds and tallied over 34,000 FC runs but never gained an England cap. The other possibility, as a rebuke to Cricket South Africa for their treatment of her, was Lizelle Lee, hounded into international retirement by her board. However, although I recognize that there is an element of a gamble in playing a regular number three as an opener I would challenge any who insist on selecting one of these openers to say who out of Lara, Laxman and Lloyd you will drop to accommodate Labuschagne in his preferred number three slot.

Another fine middle order batter who had to miss out was the little West Indian battler Gus Logie.

The choice of James Langridge as all rounder meant that two high quality left arm spinners missed out: Tony Lock and Jack Leach. Left arm wrist spinner Jake Lintott may well merit consideration for this XI in a few years time, but he has played very little long form cricket as yet.

The best quick bowlers to miss out were Bill Lockwood and Harold Larwood. Lockwood was one of the pioneers of the slower ball, but as fine a cricketer as he was he could not dislodge Lindwall. Harold Larwood had one great test series (the 1932-3 Ashes when he claimed 33 wickets), but otherwise a fairly ordinary international career, and could hardly therefore be seen as a challenger to the consistent excellence of Lindwall and Lillee. Brett Lee was quick but somewhat erratic, reflected in his slightly high test bowling average. Geoff Lawson had a patchy career and was not worth serious consideration.


Our look at the letter L is at an end and it remains only to produce my usual sign off…

All Time XIs – The Letter K (Plus Metronomes’ Debut Match)

A dual purpose post – a brief account of the Metronomes inaugural match and continuing my exploration of the all-time XI theme with a look at the letter K.

This is a two part post – I will begin with an account of yesterday’s match between Spen Victoria and The Metronomes to raise funds for the National Autistic Society and awareness of autism, before continuing my exploration of the all time XIs theme with a team of players whose surnames begin with the letter K.


The much anticipated ‘match for autism’ between Spen Victoria CC and The Metronomes took place yesterday. Spen Victoria’s scenic home ground was the venue. Most of the players involved were enthusiastic club cricketers, though the Metronomes had one overseas star, Roberta Moretti Avery, captain of Brazil.

Michael Coleman, one half of the couple whose idea this match was and who did so much to bring it to fruition, along with his wife Bex, took the new ball, with initially nine slips posted. 10 runs accrued of the first over. Mark Puttick who had done much to keep the occasion in people’s minds with a 100-day countdown featuring cricket statistics relating to each number opened the bowling at the other end and bowled a respectable first over. However, it was first change bowler Isaac Lockett who took the first wicket (actually he claimed the first three wickets taken by the Metronomes), while Moretti Avery had her first impact on the game with a wicket. There was a playing condition that anyone reaching 30 had to retire, and two Spen players reached that landmark, one of them very quickly indeed. In the end Spen tallied 175-8 from their 20 overs, a fine score.

It was soon apparent that Metronomes would struggle to chase this, they got away to very a slow start. The chief culprit was an opener by the name of Himsworth, who faced 19 dots out of his first 21 balls. Dugnutt, who had claimed a wicket with his spinners scored a spirited 26, while Moretti Avery completed a fine all round effort by becoming the third player in the match to reach 30. Ben Bonney holed out off the last scheduled delivery with Metronomes well adrift, but an extra over was bowled, which enabled WG Rumblepants, creator of several magnificent pictures of well known cricketers, to have a bat, and he managed a single. Metronomes ended up losing by 20 runs. We wait to find out how much money was raised.


As a dividing line between the two segments of the post here are some pictures of my most recent purchases:


We now move on to the second part of the post, the continuation of my exploration of the theme of all time XIs. We look today at players whose surnames begin with K.


  1. Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka). Finding openers for this XI was not easy, but the gritty Sri Lankan left hander has a test average of almost 40 and has not always had a lot of support from down the order.
  2. Majid Khan (Glamorgan, Pakistan). Had a similar average to that of his opening partner, but was otherwise very different, being a flamboyant right hander.
  3. Rohan Kanhai (Warwickshire, West Indies). We have the word of CLR James who watched him in action that he was a genius with a bat in his hands, and the evidence of over 6,000 test runs at 47 to provide the hard fact that justifies his place in this side.
  4. Virat Kohli (India). Though he has struggled recently, not scoring a century since November 2019 he remains India’s greatest batter of the post-Tendulkar era.
  5. Jacques Kallis (Middlesex, South Africa). One of the two greatest ‘batters who bowl’ ever to play the game (his record reads similarly to that of Sir Garry Sobers, although he did not master as great a range of skills as the Barbadian).
  6. *Imran Khan (Sussex, Pakistan). With a batting average of 37 and a bowling average of 22 he is firmly established as one of the greatest of all all rounders, and he was also an excellent captain, a role I have given him in this team.
  7. +Syed Kirmani (India). This one will arouse controversy, but as you will see in the honourable mentions I felt it necessary to overlook the most obvious choice of keeper whose name begins with K. I went for Kirmani over his compatriot Budhi Kunderan because he was a much finer keeper than the latter, and this side is strong in batting.
  8. Bart King (USA). He took over 400 wickets at 15 a piece, most of them for Philadelphian touring teams in England, and also averaged 20 with the bat. He was the original ‘king of swing’.
  9. Rashid Khan (Afghanistan). Probably the best leg spinner currently playing the game.
  10. Anil Kumble (India). One of only three bowlers ever to take all ten wickets in a test innings, and the fourth leading taker of test wickets in history with 619 scalps. He was a very different type of bowler from Rashid Khan, relying mainly on top spin and bowling at almost medium pace.
  11. Charles Kortright (Essex). One of the fastest bowlers ever to play the game, and perpetrator of the harshest put down that the legendary WG Grace ever found himself on the end of: “Surely you’re not going already Doctor, there’s still one stump standing.”

This team has a contrasting pair of adequate if not great openers, a power packed 3-5, one of the greatest all rounders ever, a keeper who can bat, and four well varied bowlers, all of whom had some ability to bat – no order with Kumble at 10 can be considered shallow! The bowling with a pace trio of Kortright, King and Imran Khan, plus Kallis as fourth seamer, and two very different types of leg spinner in Kumble and Rashid Khan also possesses both depth and variety.


Before moving on to the standard honourable mentions two explanations are warranted:


Many would have given this man the number three slot that I gave to Rohan Kanhai, but he is more needed for the letter Y, which is much tougher to fill than K, so I have held him back until then.


One of the greatest keepers ever to play the game and a fine middle order batter, he missed out because of his decision to go on the first rebel tour to apartheid South Africa. Regular readers of my posts will know that I take a very dim view of these rebel tours, and the one Knott signed up for, having told England that he was no longer willing to tour, was the first of them all, and carries extra opprobrium for that reason.


Two others I considered for the opening slots were Mohsin Khan of Pakistan, whose test average was similar to those of Karunaratne and Majid Khan, and Michael Klinger, who never managed to earn a baggy green cap. His FC average was on the wrong side of 40, so he missed out.

Probably the two best middle order batters I overlooked were Alvin Kallicharran and Vinod Kambli. JH King of Leicestershire and briefly England was a gritty left handed batter and a left arm medium fast bowler who would have brought extra variety to the bowling attack, but I had no way to accommodate him. Heather Knight has a remarkable test record, and her off spin would have given an extra bowling option, but I could only accommodate her by playing her as an opening batter, a role that as far as I am aware she has never performed.

Jim Kelly who kept for Australia around the turn of the 20th century was a fine performer in that role, but probably not the equal of Kirmani. Dinesh Karthik would have been in the mix for the gauntlets had I been picking a limited overs side, but unless otherwise stated I always have long form cricket in mind, though there might be room for him in the commentary box.

There were two other contenders for Kortright’s slot: JJ Kotze, South Africa’s first genuine express paced bowler and Neville Knox of Surrey and England. Both were of limited effectiveness at test level, and Knox only had two really good FC seasons before knee trouble got the better of him. Michael Kasprowicz was not a regular pick for Australia in his playing days. Aristides Karvelas, Sussex’s Greek international doesn’t yet have the weight of achievement to merit serious consideration, but he may enter the conversation in future. I would have liked the variation in the spin attack to be greater than between two admittedly different leggies, but Murali Kartik (SLA) did little at international level, Tom Kendall (SLA), first holder of the best bowling figures in test cricket (7-53 in the fourth innings of the inaugural test), played only two tests, and a mere nine FC matches in total, Zahir Khan (left arm wrist spin) doesn’t yet have the weight of achievement to force his way in.


The cricketing journey through the letter K is at an end, and it remains only to provide my usual sign off…

Pensthorpe 3: The Pensthorpe Explorer

The final installment in my account of the West Norfolk Autism Group’s trip to Pensthorpe.

Welcome to the final post in my mini-series about the West Norfolk Autism Group‘s visit to Pensthorpe Natural Park (click here and here to visit the other posts in this series).


The journey on the Pensthorpe Explorer was very scenic, and the guide provided excellent commentary. There was stuff about the area’s wildlife and things Pensthorpe do to encourage said wildlife, some local history and an explanation of the significance of the River Wensum which flows through Pensthorpe.

There were a couple of parts of the route that made use of an old railway line (aeons go part of the Midland & Great Northern, colloquially referred to as the Muddle & Go Nowhere – East Anglia was home at one time to a vast number of railway companies, with in addition to this one the five companies who ultimately amalgamated to form the Great Eastern Railway) which added to the interest of the experience.

The Wensum is of special significance because it is a chalk river, of which there only about 200 on the planet (although about 170 of those are right here in the UK, including another significant Norfolk river, The Gaywood). Unfortunately the bunch of clowns who are collectively known as Norfolk County Council are hellbent on building a new road through the Wensum valley which among other things will damage two important bat colonies (we are talking rare species of bat here). Also, as to the notion that building a new road will ease congestion, I give you one letter an two numbers appropriately arranged: M25. There is a campaign group doing their best to prevent this ghastly project from going ahead, and you can view their twitter page and also sign a petition they are running. The biggest problem that Norfolk has is not with its roads, but with the frankly scandalous state of public transport in the county, which causes people to feel compelled to drive, which in turn feeds into the county council’s ‘cars are everything’ agenda. Green Party representation is increasing in Norfolk, which provides grounds for hope that eventually the county council’s make up will change and it will move into the 21st century.

The trip on the Pensthorpe Explorer was a splendid end to a splendid day.


Here are the pictures from this section of the day:

Pensthorpe 2: Up to Lunch

The second of my three part series about the West Norfolk Autism Group#s visit to Pensthorpe Natural Park.

Welcome to the second of my three posts about the West Norfolk Autism Group’s inaugural activity, a visit to Pensthorpe Natural Park (click here to see the first post).


I followed the paths onward from the Monet inspired bridge, taking a few detours along the way, until I arrived back near the entrance. I had brought food and water with me, and I consumed them at this point, and finished my book while waiting for the next stage of the day, the ride on the Pensthorpe Explorer.


The same question/challenge that I introduced yesterday’s photo section with applies today…