England’s Test Tours

A look at England’s tests in 2021 and forward to the future. Also a very important petition and a related post on Tax Research UK and some deserved mentions of successes by Women’s cricket teams.

This post looks back at the six test matches England have played in India and Sri Lanka and forward to the future.


England won both matches in Sri Lanka against a side with a very unthreatening bowling attack, although there were warning signs in the form of Embuldeniya, a left arm orthodox spinner who caused England such problems as they experienced on that tour. In India England started with a victory in the first match, but then lost three in a row as their problems against spin on turning pitches were cruelly exposed. English cricket officialdom has a phobia of turning tracks, as shown by the punishment recently inflicted on Somerset. This combined with the fact that a large proportion of English first class cricket is confined to the margins of the season means that there are not many really good spinners in the game and that in consequence the batters rarely face much if any spin. Anyone shown Axar Patel’s figures in this series and not told who had recorded them would be forgiven for thinking it was Hedley Verity or Derek Underwood operating on rain affected pitches. There were other causes of problems besides this…


Some element of rotation was going to be necessary due to the circumstances in which these test matches were being played, but I think England took things too far in that regard, and the side became unsettled as a result. In particular the handling of the Moeen Ali/ Dom Bess situation was shocking. England had planned to play Moeen Ali for both Sri Lankan matches and the first two matches in India before resting him prior to the limited overs element of the Indian tour. Had that plan been operable it might have made sense, though Moeen Ali’s test record is unconvincing to put mildly. As it was he caught Covid and by the time he had recovered and quarantined himself for the required period the only match he would be available for was the second of the Indian series. Bess had not bowled especially well but had been picking up wickets, and the logical thing to do in the changed circumstances was send Moeen home earlier than intended and play Bess straight through or promote one of Parkinson or Virdi from the reserves. Moeen Ali was rushed into the XI for that one match, and on brute figures had a decent game, capturing eight wickets and scoring 49 runs. The problem was that most of the good things he did came after he had virtually bowled England out of contention by conceding 94 runs from his first 20 overs on a pitch that was offering assistance to spinners from the start of the game. In selecting Moeen Ali England had directed some harsh words in Bess’ direction (doubtless some even harsher ones in private than the ones we heard about), and then after the game they tried to persuade Moeen Ali to stay on, abandoning his plans to visit his family in England, and allowed this to become public knowledge. Then, still reluctant to promote Parkinson or Virdi, and unwilling to risk Bess, they went into the third match of the series with three specialist quicks plus Stokes and only Leach as a front line spinner. Inexplicably Chris Woakes was also entirely ignored, though with the party the entire time, and he was sent home after the third test. England then had a massive knee jerk reaction to the humiliating defeat they suffered in that third match and brought Bess back, and also brought Lawrence in to strengthen the batting, going into the game with three specialist bowlers plus Stokes. Lawrence had a fine match, showing fight in both innings to amass 46 and 50, but apart from Stokes (55 in the first innings, four wickets), and Anderson, who was his usual self and therefore always formidable, and with a nod to the ever reliable Leach who toiled hard with the ball, basically no one else did. Bairstow, a flawed selection, as I pointed out in December when rumours of a test recall for him first surfaced, needed a bit of luck to make 28 in the first innings and gave his wicket away first ball in the second to one of the softest dismissals in test history. The other problem besides basic disruption and his own inadequate performances with the selection of Bairstow was that he pretty much replaced Burns, which forced Crawley up to open, when the latter has done his best test work from no3.

One or other of Parkinson or Virdi, with a preference for the former, since as a leg spinner he brings something new to the team, should have been promoted from the reserves to partner Leach, rather than the obviously untrusted Bess being recalled. The treatment of Olly Stone, who bowled well in the second match on a surface that did not suit him in the slightest and was thereafter resolutely ignored is also hard to fathom.


In terms of the batting two things have happened this tour that are of any significance: Lawrence has surely moved ahead of Pope, who seems to have regressed from the good start he made to his test career, in the pecking order, and Bairstow must finally have blown one opportunity too many for even this England management to recall him to the test ranks, though he remains an integral part of the white ball set up. Leach is now established as first choice spinner, and given the unlikeliness of any English test pitch warranting the selection of two specialist spinners (I would put such a pitch being prepared in England rather below a meteorite strike in the betting stakes), and the fact that the next tour is Australia where English off spinners have not fared well (see here for some detail on the spin options in England’s successful Ashes tour parties) I am looking at Leach as sole spinner for the home summer, and Leach and Parkinson as spinners for Australia (unless England go the radical route of inviting Sophie Ecclestone to plat alongside the men). Virdi may well merit an England call up as well, but probably not for Australia. Bess needs to have at least one seriously good season for his new county, Yorkshire, before his credentials can even be considered again, so should not be a factor in England terms before the 2022 home season at the earliest.

Unless someone has a string of superb performances at the top of a county order to start the season I do not see much point introducing another newcomer to the batting order – chronically ill equipped though they were to handle India’s spinners these batters are by and large the best available to England at present. I might consider Buttler as a specialist batter, but he has been so indulged by the England management in recent times that I refuse to officially nominate him for one of my teams. In view of the fact that Anderson and Broad need to be rotated to some degree, and that I prefer not to have four out and out tailenders in the team my XI for the first test of the home season if nothing significant changes mean time would thus be something like: Sibley, Burns, Crawley, *Root, Stokes, Lawrence, +Foakes, Woakes, Stone, Leach, Anderson. Archer or Wood if fit and firing could replace Stone, though I would like to see the latter given a proper chance, and similarly Broad may play instead of Anderson if conditions seem likely to favour him. Woakes in England is a formidable all round cricketer, and as indicated earlier in this piece he may well have proved useful at times in India had he been given the chance.

Among those who may force their way into contention in the not too distant future are Tom Abell and Tom Lammonby of Somerset, Sam Hain of Warwickshire, Liam Livingstone of Lancashire and Haseeb Hameed of Nottinghamshire. Ben Coad may claim a bowling slot (he pays about 20 per wicket in FC cricket, but England have plenty of pace bowling options). Jordan Cox is an outside chance if he can prove the double century he scored against Sussex last season was not just a one off. Lewis Goldsworthy, a left arm orthodox spin bowling all rounder, may make some sort of mark for Somerset with Leach on England duty. He has yet to play first class cricket but impressed at the Under 19 World Cup last year and has a decent record in the handful of T20s he has played for Somerset. It is also possible that Liam Patterson-White (bowling average 21.00 from five FC games) and Dan Moriarty (17 wickets at just under 21 each from two first class games) will prove that their currently impressive bowling averages are not freaks.


My first link is to a petition calling on the government to award NHS nurses a 12.5% pay rise. To sign this you have to be a UK citizen or resident. If you are please do so. A screenshot is below:

My second link is related to the above, being to a blog post by Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK that started life as a twitter thread, in which he takes Johnson to task for his derisory 1% offer. The start of what is a longish piece is shown below:

Finally congratulations to the England Women’s team who completed a clean sweep of the T20Is in New Zealand to go with their earlier triumph in the ODI series. Katherine Brunt was Player of the Match, while Tammy Beaumont, as in the ODI leg of the tour, was named Player of the Series. Also, South Africa Women won the first ODI of their series in India, with Laura Wolvaardt making a fine 80. Now it is time for my usual sign off…

All Time XIs – The Literary Clash

Today’s all time XI cricket themed post uses fictional characters for its inspiration. Also featured are #NHSPayRise and #BlackLivesMatter.


Welcome to another variation on an ‘all time XI‘ cricket theme. Today I pit two XIs whose players share names with characters from fiction against each other.


  1. Arthur Morris – left handed opening batter. 46 test matches yielded him 3,533 runs at 46.48, and Don Bradman rated him the best left handed opener he ever saw. King Arthur has been fictionalized by many writers, arguably beginning with Geoffrey of Monmouth. In primary school I read “Swords and Circles” by Rosemary Sutcliff, and almost equally long ago I first read “The Once and Future King” by TH White, but it is particularly Stephen Lawhead’s “Pendragon” series that I wish to flag up.
  2. Alec Stewart – right handed opening batter. I have commented on his success in this specific role before. The literary connection is to Alan Breck Stewart, who features in two of Robert Louis Stephenson’s novels.
  3. Jimmy Sinclair – right handed batter, occasional medium pacer. He registered the first test century for South Africa. His literary alter ego is Sabrina Sinclair, the female lead in Magda Josza’s “Sherlock Holmes and the Femmes Fatales”, the sequel to “The Private Diaries of Doctor Watson”.
  4. Eoin Morgan – left handed batter. England’s current One Day International captain. One of Colleen McCullough’s novels is titled “Morgan’s Run”, and the Morgan in question is Eoin’s literary alter ego for this purpose.
  5. Jamie Dalrymple – right handed batter, occasional off spinner. When he first appeared on the first class scene big things were expected of him, but he ended with a respectable rather than genuinely outstanding record. His alter ego is Carola Dunn’s series character Daisy Dalrymple.
  6. Ben Stokes – left handed batter, right arm fast bowler. He was already established as one of England’s finest before 2019, but his deeds that year moved him into the category of all time greats. His literary connection is a slightly convoluted one involving Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the D’Urbervilles”. Unlike Tess, who is a direct descendant of the real D’Urbervilles the villain of the story, Alec D’Urberville owes his surname to his grandfather, Simon Stokes, who changed his name by deed poll and purchased a coat of arms to back it up.
  7. *Roly Jenkins – leg spinner, right handed batter. 386 first class matches brought him 10,073 runs at 22.23 and 1,309 wickets at 23.64. His problem with the bat was a failure to convert fifties to hundreds – he reached 50 on 41 occasions, but only once went on to the hundred. He has a part share in a first class record: in a match between Worcestershire and Scotland the county’s keeper Hugo Yarnold accounted for six Scotland second innings wickets in a row – all stumped! Four of those six stumpings were effected off the bowling of Jenkins. His literary namesake is Tilly Jenkins of Mandy Morton’s “No2 Feline Detective Agency” series of novels. Tilly Jenkins is one of the two detectives in said agency, along with Hetty Bagshaw.
  8. +Godfrey Evans – wicket keeper, right handed batter. He played 95 test matches, scoring 2,439 runs at 20.49, taking 173 catches and making 46 stumpings. While in his 465 first class appearances he scored 14,882 runs at 21.22, took 816 catches and made 250 stumpings. Bradman named him as England wicket keeper in “Bradman’s Best Ashes Teams”. His literary alter ego is ‘Killer’ Evans, villain in “The Adventure of the Three Garridebs”, one of the stories that appears in the collection “The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes”, the fifth and last book of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes short stories.
  9. Percy Jeeves – right arm fast medium bowler, useful lower order batter. 50 first class matches brought him 1,204 runs at 16.05 and 199 wickets at 20.03. He took 12 five wicket hauls, with a best of 7-34, and achieved one ten wicket match. He is not merely a namesake of famous fictional character, his performance for Warwickshire v Gloucetsreshire at Cheltenham, witnessed by PG Wodehouse, actually inspired the naming of Jeeves the valet.
  10. Edwin Tyler – left arm orthodox spinner. A one-cap wonder for England, against South Africa at Cape Town in 1896 – he took four wickets at 16.25 in that sole international appearance. His 185 first class appearances brought him 895 wickets at 22.09, with 77 five wicket innings hauls and 22 10 wicket matches. His best innings figures were 10-49, the first all-ten by a Somerset bowler. He gets in on a childhood memory – at primary school one of the books I read was Gene Kemp’s “The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler”.
  11. William Mycroft – left arm fast bowler. 138 first class appearances yielded him 863 wickets at 12.09, with 87 five wicket innings hauls and 28 10 wicket matches. His namesake is of course Mycroft Holmes, elder brother of Sherlock, who appears twice in the original Holmes stories, with a mention in a third (“The Greek Interpreter”, “The Bruce-Partington Plans”, and a walk on role in “The Final Problem”) and many times in pastiche/ new Holmes stories by other authors.

This team has a respectable batting order, and a strong bowling line up, with Mycroft and Jeeves likely to share the new ball, Stokes third seamer, Jenkins and Tyler as front line spinners and Dalrymple as sixth bowler.


  1. Bobby Abel– right handed opening batter. 13 test match appearances yielded him 744 runs at 37.20, with two centuries and a best of 132 not out. In all first class cricket he scored 33,128 runs at 35.46, with 74 centuries, including the Surrey individual record 357 not out. His literary namesake is Abel Whittle who appears in Thomas Hardy’s “The Mayor of Casterbridge.”
  2. Vince Wells – right handed opening batter, occasional medium pacer. He once scored three double centuries in the same season for Leicestershire, but typically his England call up did not occur during this purple patch, but a little later in his career. He ended with 9,314 first class runs at 32.79 and 302 wickets at 26.22. He owes his place here to being a namesake of Daisy Wells, president of the Wells & Wong Detective Society from Robin Stevens’ “Murder Most Unladlylike” series.
  3. *Peter May – right handed batter, captain. In a difficult decade for batting, the 1950s, he averaged 46.77 in test cricket, captaining his country 41 times along the way. His literary namesake is John May of the Peculiar Crimes Unit, the May of Christopher Fowler’s “Bryant and May” series of novels. Another May, John’s grand-daughter April, also appears in those books.
  4. Willie Watson – left handed batter. The only person to have played in a football world cup and for England in test cricket. His most famous innings was his five and three quarter hour century at Lord’s in 1953 which helped England to a draw, the full value of which was brought home at The Oval in the final match of the series when England’s victory secured them the Ashes for the first time since surrendering them in 1934. In his 468 first class matches he scored 25,670 runs at 39.86 with a best of 257. He is of course namesake of Dr John H Watson, narrator of the original Holmes stories.
  5. Toby Colbeck – right handed batter. He played 32 first class matches between 1905 and 1913-4, in which he scored 1,368 runs at 24.87, with three centuries, and a best of 175 not out. I would not normally select someone with a record of this nature, even given the allowances that can be made for him, but I was willing to stretch a point to be able to include a namesake of Inspector Robert Colbeck, aka The Railway Detective, star of a series of novels by Edward Marston. I have given these books coverage elsewhere on this blog (here, here and here).
  6. Vic Wilson – left handed batter, brilliant close fielder. 502 first class matches brought him 21,650 runs at 31.33 and also 549 catches in the field. He was the first professional to be officially appointed as captain of Yorkshire. His literary alter ego is Daniel Wilson, one of the two stars of Jim Eldridge’s ‘Museums’ series of murder mysteries (“Murder at the Fitzwilliam Museum”, “Murder at the Ashmolean”, “Murder at the British Museum”, and one that I have yet to read, ‘Murder at the Manchester Museum’) – the other being Abigail Fenton.
  7. +Jock Cameron – wicket keeper, right handed batter. 26 test appearances brought him 1,239 runs at 30.21, with 39 catches and 12 stumpings. In all first class cricket he made 107 appearances, scoring 5,396 runs at 37.47, and took 155 catches and made 69 stumpings. He once took 30 in an over from the great Hedley Verity, an onslaught that got the bowler some ‘Yorkshire brand sympathy’ from keeper Arthur Wood “tha’s got ‘im in two minds Hedley, he doan’t know whether t’hit thee for fower or six.” His position in this line up is by way of a nod to Cassandra ‘CJ’ Cameron, hero of Matthew Reilly’s “The Great Zoo of China”, with an acknowledgement also to the journalistic couple Pete and Alison Cameron in “Ice Station” by the same author.
  8. Johnnie Clay – off spinner, useful lower order batter. He played for Glamorgan when they were promoted to first class status in 1921, and was still in the team when they won their first county championship in 1948! He played 373 first class matches, taking 1,317 wickets at 19.76 each with 105 five wicket innings hauls and 28 10 wicket matches, and scored 7,186 runs at 15.45, with two first class hundreds. His literary analogue is John Clay, villain of “The Red Headed League”, who also appears in “Sherlock Holmes and the Femmes Fatales” as partner of Sabrina Sinclair’s sister, in Hugh Ashton’s novel “The Darlington Substitution”, and also one of Ashton’s collections of short stories, presented as an autobiography.
  9. Frank Holmes Tyson – right arm fast bowler. A meteor who blazed through the cricketing skies in the 1950s, he played 17 test matches, taking 76 wickets at 18.56 and being the star of the 1954-5 Ashes, and also scoring 230 runs at 10.95. He played 244 first class matches in all, taking 767 wickets at 20.89 and scoring 4,103 runs at 17.09. I have given his full name including middle name, because of course it is that middle name of Holmes that gets him in here.
  10. Joel Garner – right arm fast bowler. A magnificent servant of Barbados, Somerset and the West Indies down the years. 58 test match appearances saw him capture 259 wickets at 20.97 and score 672 runs at 12.44. His total first class record was 214 matches, 881 wickets at 18.53 and 2,964 runs at 16.74. His literary namesake is Paul D Garner, from Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”.
  11. Shannon Gabriel – right arm fast bowler. 45 test matches have yielded him 133 wickets at 30.63, with a best of 8-62. In all first class cricket he has played 103 matches, taking 289 wickets at 29.67. His literary alter ego is Gabriel Oak, the shepherd in Thomas Hardy’s “Far From The Madding Crowd”

This team has a strong top four, Colbeck at five, Wilson a respectable six, a keeper who can really bat and four fine bowlers. There is a shortage of spin options, with only Clay available in that department, but Tyson, Garner and Gabriel look a fearsome trio of quick bowlers (I suggest Tyson and Garner with the new ball, Gabriel on when Tyson needs a breather).


Both squads have strengths and weaknesses. I think that the presence of the genuine all rounder in Ben Stokes just tips the odds in favour Roly Jenkins’ XI but I would expect it to be close.


A little while back I signed up to get a free poster from 38 degrees calling for NHS workers to be given a pay rise, and it arrived in today’s post and is now on display in my front window. Regular readers of this blog will know that I have been through a very serious illness, and my experiences then have served only to underline the extent to which I value our NHS (see the posts you find following this link), and it is long past time they received a pay rise. Their efforts during this pandemic have been amazing.

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The window I chose, the most prominent I have.

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A close up of the poster.


Maureen Fitzsimmons has produced an excellent twitter thread on what the #BlackLivesMatter protests have accomplished thus far, the beginning of which is screenshotted below – click to view full thread:


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Literary Clash
The teams in tabulated form.

All Time XIs – Pioneers v Developers

Some cricket history in today’s twist on the ‘All Time XI’ theme as ‘The Pioneers’ take on the ‘The Developers’, a couple of bonus cricket links, a measure of mathematics, some important stuff about the NHS and of course photographs.


A new month starts today, and in keeping with the theme of beginnings my latest ‘All Time XI’ variation features various milestones from the beginning of cricket’s history. For those of a geological turn of mind it can be thought of spanning the cricketing equivalent of Cambrian to Cretaceous. The scene thus set, we can introduce the teams, beginning with…


  1. Jack Brown – right handed opening batter. Brown scored two triple centuries for his native Yorkshire in the course of his career, but his greatest innings came for England. The 1894-5 Ashes saw England leap out of the blocks by winning a thriller in Sydney and then more comfortably in Melbourne (this was the first ever five match Ashes series, and Sydney and Melbourne each got two games, with the middle match being played at Adelaide) before Australia hit back by winning in Adelaide and in the second Melbourne game. In the final match of the series (all tests in Australia at the time were played out until a definite result was gained, so a draw was not a possibility, and in any case England needed to win the series to recapture the Ashes, held by Australia) England were set 297 to win, lost two very early wickets, which brought Brown and Albert Ward together. Brown responded to crisis by reaching 50 in 28 minutes (still the fastest in time times by an Englishman in test cricket), and though he could not main this hectic pace he reached his hundred in a then test record 95 minutes, and his stand with Ward (93) was worth 210. Brown ultimately scored 140 in that innings, falling as victory beckoned, but the Australian resistance had been well and truly broken, and England won by six wickets to win the series and the Ashes. In travelling to Australia without the urn and returning with it England’s captain for that series, Andrew Stoddart, had achieved a feat since duplicated among England captains only by Warner (1903-4), Douglas (1911-2, with a sick Warner masterminding from his sickbed), Jardine (1932-3) and Illingworth (1970-1). In addition to his own role as a stalwart opener, Brown was one half of the game’s first recognized great opening pairs along with…
  2. John Tunnicliffe – right handed opening bat, brilliant slip fielder (667 catches in 408 first class games). Tunnicliffe was the first Pudsey product to open the innings for Yorkshire, and as such a forebear to more illustrious Herbert Sutcliffe and Len Hutton. In 1898, against Derbyshire, he and Brown shared an opening stand of 554, accumulated very rapidly. This was the record first class stand for any wicket until Herbert Sutcliffe and Percy Holmes opened up with a stand of 555 against Essex in 1932. After he had retired from playing Tunnicliffe became a coach, working at among others, Cirencester Grammar School where his charges included a certain Walter Reginald Hammond. Unusually for a long serving Yorkshire opener he never got to play for England.
  3. James Aylward – left handed bat. In 1777, a mere eight years after John Minshull scored the first century recorded at any level of cricket, in a local derby match between Wrotham and Sevenoaks, Aylward playing against an England side racked up 167 in an innings which saw him occupy the crease for two whole days. This score stood as the first class record for 43 years, and the fixture in which William Ward who beat it scored his 278 would not today be regarded as first class.
  4. William ‘Silver Billy’ Beldham – right handed batter. I covered him in detail in my ‘one cap wonders v nontest stars‘ piece earlier in this series. He was the first to be anything approaching a consistently big scorer.
  5. William Lambert – right handed batter, brilliant close fielder and sometimes wicket keeper. In 1817 William Lambert, playing for Sussex, became the first ever to score twin centuries in a match, a feat next achieved by WG Grace over half a century later. His fielding skills are attested to by his partner in more than one double wicket game…
  6. George Osbaldeston – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler (underarm). The first acknowledged great all rounder. In his autobiography, which did not see the light of day until 1926, Osbaldeston describes a couple of matches in which he teamed up with Lambert, and mentions that the latter took catches and executed stumpings off his bowling, the fastest around at the time. In one of these encounters Osbaldeston and Lambert got the better of the decidedly ignoble Lord Frederick Beauclerk, one of the most unsavoury characters from that period of cricket’s history.
  7. +Jack Blackham – wicket keeper, right handed bat.  The Aussie stumper who appeared in the first 17 test matches ever played, before missing a game due to a dispute and then returning to the side for another 10 years, was the first to habitually do without a ‘long stop’ fielder behind him – and he pulled of stumpings of the bowling of Fred ‘The Demon’ Spofforth on occasion. Blackham was also the first keeper to score fifties in both innings of a test, a record that remained solely his for half a century before Dilawar Hussain equalled it.
  8. *William Clarke – right handed (under arm) bowler, captain. Clarke established Trent Bridge (he was landlord of the Trent Bridge inn as well as a cricketer), and also founded the first of the great itinerant XIs who flourished until the mid 1870s. The MCC were sufficiently worried by the travelling elevens that WG Grace was proposed for membership of that club at the age of 21 (by the treasurer, with the secretary seconding) in an effort to secure the game’s biggest drawcard. Grace duly joined the MCC, but also until 1879 captained the United South of England XI, and earned good amounts of money from doing so. Clarke played high level cricket until his mid-fifties, continuing to bag hatfuls of wickets right up to the very end.
  9. William Lillywhite – right arm fast bowler (round arm). ‘The Nonpareil’ featured in my post about nicknames, and is here is the fast half of the first recognized great bowling partnership, along with…
  10. James Broadbridge – right arm fast bowler (round arm). His partnership with Lillywhite as pioneers of the then new craft of round arm bowling enabled Sussex to take on and beat The Rest of England.
  11. David Harris – right arm fast bowler (under arm). The first universally acknowledged master bowler, I included him in my T20 Clash post.

This team features a solid opening pair, a magnificent looking three, four and five, a genuine all rounder, a keeper who can bat and four varied bowlers. Clarke can provide the craft to go with the pace of the others, and the differing angles of attack offered by these bowlers will also pose a problem. Osbaldeston, as the all rounder and a very quick bowler will be used in short bursts as a shock weapon, while the front four will bowl more overs.


  1. *WG Grace – right handed opening bat, right arm bowler of multiple types, captain. I covered him in my Gloucestershire post.
  2. Victor Trumper – right handed opening bat, fine fielder. The first to score a hundred before lunch on day 1 of a test match, the Aussie opener revolutionized batting in his own country.
  3. Frank Woolley – left handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner. He defined the image of Kent cricket, based on attacking batting and slow bowling, throughout his long career.
  4. Charles Macartney – right handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner. The second batter ever to score a hundred on the first morning of a test match, what made Macartney’s performance even more extraordinary is that he was a blocker in his early years, before becoming more expansive and aggressive in approach as he grew older.
  5. Kumar Shri Ramjitsinhji – right handed batter, occasional right arm slow bowler, slip fielder. I covered him in my Sussex post, and he is in this squad as the pioneer of the leg glance.
  6. Bernard Bosanquet – right handed batter, right arm leg spinner. I covered the inventor of the googly in my Middlesex post.
  7. Gilbert Jessop – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler, brilliant fielder. This man has been in a number of my previous XIs, and he is here for his unique approach to batting, based on “doing everything we are taught not to – with consummate success”.
  8. +Ted Pooley – wicket keeper, right handed bat. Pooley (Surrey) should have been England’s keeper in the first ever test match, except that he was cooling his heels in a Kiwi prison at the time. He had got into a fracas with one Ralph Donkin over a bet. Pooley had bet Donkin at a shilling to a penny that he could nominate the scores for match England were playing in. Donkin took the bet, and Pooley simply wrote a duck against each batters name, which even in a first class match would have seen him a comfortable winner, while in a game against odds, which this one was it was even more of a certainty. Donkin refused to pay, and heated words and ultimately blows were exchanged. There was some sympathy for Pooley on the grounds that “a bet is a bet” and also because Donkin was notorious for being a trouble maker. Pooley set a first class match record while keeping for Surrey that stood unchallenged for over a century when he caught nine and stumped three of the opposition in a single game.
  9. Sydney Barnes – right arm fast medium, right handed bat. Never has a piece of cricket terminology been more unfit for purpose than that standard descriptor of Barnes’ bowling method. The truth is he bowled every type of delivery then known save the googly, and that his special weapon, of his own creation, was a fast-medium leg break. Ian Peebles, in a chapter called ‘Barnes the Pioneer’ which appeared originally in “Talking of Cricket” and reappears in “The Faber Book of Cricket”, where it starts on page 12 and ends on page 15 explains Barnes’ methods in some detail. I have previously covered Barnes in the Lancashire and ‘Staffordshire Born‘ posts in this series.
  10. George Simpson-Hayward – right arm off spin (under arm). I mentioned him, and the possibility of reviving under arm, both slow in his manner and fast in the manner of the likes of Harris and Osbaldeston in my ‘Eccentrics‘ piece. The brief revival of under arm that he was the star of was initiated by Digby Jephson of Surrey who bowled fast under-arm, and must have come close to being picked for England. However, the crafty Simpson-Hayward (Worcestershire) not only did get to play test cricket, he was one of the stars of a series in South Africa (1909-10), when he took 23 wickets at 18 in the five matches, so it is he who I honour with a place in this XI. No one took up the cudgels on behalf of under arm after him.
  11. William Mycroft – left arm fast bowler. The first bowler ever to take 17 wickets in a county game, for Derbyshire v Hampshire in 1876, a game that I featured in my Derbyshire post, he rounds out this XI.

This XI features a power packed and all attacking top five, a fine and innovative all rounder at six, the inimitable Jessop at seven, a class keeper who was no mug with a bat in Pooley and a splendidly varied trio of specialist bowlers in Barnes, Simpson-Hayward and Mycroft. The bowling is equally varied, with left arm speed, the all-purpose maestro Barnes, right arm speed for Jessop, leg spin from Bosanquet, under arm off spin from Simpson-Hayward, two purveyors of left arm orthodox spin in Woolley and Macartney (each had a ten wicket haul in a test match in their day) and the types of bowling pursued by Grace in his day, which included fastish round arm at the start of his career.


This contest would be a splendid affair, red blooded in the extreme (Grace and Osbaldeston on opposing sides would guarantee that even of the other 20 players were all anodyne, which they are most certainly not) and featuring a vast range of skills. I cannot even attempt to pick a winner.


The pinchhitter blog has honoured me not just with a mention, but with the official title of their post this morning – check out their offering here.

The above blog introduced me to cricblog who have a post up analysing the England men’s ODI revival post 2015. I recommend you have a read.


I give you another problem from brilliant.org, one which I solved very easily this morning:


In it’s original setting this was a multiple choice question, but I reckon that makes it far too easy.


Our two teams, dubbed ‘pioneers’ and ‘developers’ have made their appearances, there have been a couple of bonus cricket links, and a mathematical teaser. Before proceding my usual sign off I have a couple of related links to share:

And now, here is my closing flourish:

P1320332 (2)P1320333 (2)P1320335 (2)P1320337 (2)P1320338 (2)P1320339 (2)P1320340 (2)P1320341 (2)P1320342 (2)P1320343 (2)P1320344 (2)P1320345 (2)P1320346 (2)P1320348 (2)P1320350 (2)P1320351 (2)P1320352 (2)P1320353 (2)P1320354 (2)P1320355 (2)P1320356 (2)P1320357 (2)P1320359 (2)P1320360 (2)P1320361 (2)P1320362 (2)P1320363 (2)P1320364 (2)P1320365 (2)P1320366 (2)P1320367 (2)P1320368 (2)

Pioneers v Developers
The two teams, in tabulated form with abridged comments.





Hello Again Everyone

A brief account of my illness, treatment and fledlgling recovery from cancer.


I have been undergoing treatment for cancer under the aegis of Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge for over two months, and today is the first time sime I started receiving hospital treatment that I have been online (I have done a massive bulk delete of accumulated emails and will now start paying proper attention once again. In the rest of this post I will set out a rough timeline of events over the course of this illness. Unusually for one of my posts there will be no pictures.


On September 29th I attended the wedding of a cousin in Sheffield. This was the last occasion on which I recall feeling truly well. During the following week I became noticeably ill, on on the Friday I left work early (an almost unheard of thing for me) because I just could not go on. On Saturday morning I cried off an intended visit to my mother at Godalming where she has recently been working because I was too ill to even consider it. On the Sunday evening having not ingested anything other than water since Friday I projectile vomited and realised I was in serious trouble, although not as yet just how serious.


On the Monday I collapsed between the bathroom and the bedroom of my old flat at about lunchtime, and by the evening of that day was in such a dreadful state that I could only be got into an ambulance by being out on a saline drip and assisted down the stairs that separated me from street level. Another day before receiving hospital treatment might well have been my last. On the Friday of that week, my body still unable to accept anyhthing other than fluids, but the real problem now known about I was referred on from QEH (my local hospital) to Addenbrookes (one of the best hospitals in the world for cancer treatment) just in time to avoid an operation that in my weakened state would very likely have finished me. The root cause of the mischief was a hugely swollen testicular tumour that had metastasized into large tumours on each lung (one of these was threatening a vein), a small tumour on the spleen and four small tumours in the brain.


I accepted the opportunity to be part of a clinical trial at Addenbrooke’s and by good fortune (and yes, I regard it as such, gruelling though the resulting treatment program was) got put into the group receiving accelerated treatment (chemo on a two-week rather than the usual three-week cycle). I am pleased that my treatment will have contributed in a small way to the advance of medical science (similarly I was delighted to be of assistance to student nurses and doctors when they accompanied their mentors – why wouldn’t I want the NHS workers of the future to be better able to do their jobs?!)

My treatment consisted of five days of intensive chemo one week, followed by a dose of bleomycin the Monday afterwards (always the toughest day of the cycle) and then the rest of week 2 of the cycle quiet. I have also been on huge quantites of pills and have had many scans and x-rays to monitor progress. 

Because my flat was unsuitable in several ways for someone convalescing from cancer (isolated by the stairs that separate it from street level and afflicted by damp) somewhere had to be found for me to go instead, and faced with a crisis the local council came up trumps with a bungalow just north of the town centre on an estate run by Freebridge Community Housing (the nearest there is to social housing in Tory Britain). Because the tenancy of the bungalow only became available just as I was due my fourth and last week of intensive chemo I remained an in patient until after the follow-up bleomycin which was on Tuesday December 11th (delayed by the fact that on the Monday my platelet count was too low). That same evening I was taken to my new home and became an outpatient.


I remain extremely prone to tiredness and although I walk about my bungalow with no great difficulty I need assistance to venture outside. However, I had a very long Monday at Addenbrookes, because I needed more blood transfusions (the amount of new blood I have been given in the course of this illness would send Dracula green with envy) in addition to the bleomycin, and yesterday I not only managed to stay out of bed the whole day for the first time since the illness took hold, I was also able to watch and enjoy the autism friendly performance of the Christmas pantomime at the Corn Exchange. 


I am on the mend, though it will be a while before I am back to anything like my old form. My camera battery is charging and I hope to be sharing some new pictures with you before very long. My thanks to all who have waited patiently for the resumption of activity on this blog, and especial thanks to those who have read the whole of this relaunch post.


Important Items to Share


This post is going to be made up entirely of Links and Infographics (I have a lot of important and interesting stuff to share).



Tax Research UK in spite of the uninspiring sounding name is often a source of good stuff, and today I provide links to two of their recent stories:

1)The need to eliminate competition from the NHS.

2)A piece about electoral reform, which connects to…

2a)This blog post from the Electoral Reform Society.


My first piece in this section comes courtesy of Patheos, and just before highlighting the link I wish (as someone who is a very strong supporter of theirs) to criticise them for publishing under their banner a piece by Russell Shaw in which he has the nerve to claim the American Christians are being persecuted. The piece to which I include a link concerns the use in science classrooms in Louisiana of a book that has no place there.

My next three pieces are linked, both being concerned with countering environmental damage:

1) Faraday’s Candle on bees.

2) Oxfam on dumping coal into the dustbin of history.

3) An Avaaz petition about climate change.


A devastating comparison of the difference between actual inflation and rail fare inflation since 1994.
A devastating comparison of the difference between actual inflation and rail fare inflation since 1994.

This is our feature image.
This is our feature image.


This is my final set of links, starting with this piece from Jayne Linney. Huffington Post, a regular source of good stuff, provide this piece from Laura Roche. Although I am not an ebay user, and therefore not able to take direct action, I was of course thoroughly disgusted to come across this from Vox Political about disability hate products being sold via that site, and I urge those of you who do use ebay to complain loud and clear as VP suggest. This blogpost from Natalie Leal provides some shocking detail about deaths related to DWP sanctions. Finally, to end this section, a post from Autism Mom, which features Alan Turing.


I hope that you have all enjoyed this post, and that you have followed up some or all of the links I have shared. I encourage people to share any or all of this post.

Stuff to Share

This post is going to be dominated by things to share (I have a lot of them).



Two important developments concerning this project:

1)Council reconsidering their decision to cut all its funding and

2)A chance for you to help them secure funding.


I will lead into this section with an excellent infographic courtesy of Vox Political...


Naturally,our next link is to a post that features the above picture.

Glynis Millward provides a post that full lives up to its title “Read it and Weep”

Press Gang UK offer an excellent post about Catherine Shuttleworth, ‘undecided voter’

Another UKIP candidate makes the news for the wrong reasons – threatening to put a bullet in one of his rivals on this occasion.


First of all, a link to a very important petition from change.org.

Secondly, an excellent piece from someone with very real chance of unseating Jeremy Hunt tomorrow, Dr Louise Irvine of the NHA.


Three links here, first of all to the petition that is at the heart of this campaign and then two more to articles that have been published in

1) The Mirror.



A couple of related posts here, first Faraday’s Candle on vulcanology and second, from space.com a piece about possible volcanic activity on an exoplanet.



Having been very successful at the Custom House, there are now six different light shows available around King’s Lynn at night, and here in the form of four pictures is the official publicity…

DSCN4983 DSCN4984 DSCN4985 DSCN4986


Coming up on the 16th and 17th of May is the Hanse Festival in King’s Lynn, and I will again let a picture (just the one this time) do most of the talking…



For my British followers don;t forget that tomorrow is the General Election – your chance to kick out the worst government of my lifetime. In King’s Lynn we also have Borough Council elections to vote in. In the nick of time (last day before polling) I picked up a delivery which enabled me to enhance my window display looking out on to the High Street…


I encourage everyone to continue the sharing process.

NHS Action Yesterday

Some very important links, an account of yesterday’s petitioning activity around the NHS and some pictures.

I have a variety of other things to share with you before I get to the main meat of my post…


First of all a family of related links. Autism Mom’s latest post “autism-respect-the-beautiful-otherness-of-the-autistic-mind” is the original post that attracted my attention, and it in turn was inspired by two articles:

1)A piece published by the Royal Society and authored by Francesca Happe and Uta Frith.

2)A piece published on medicaldaily and written by Lecia Bushak.

Next, news of a major victory in the battle to save the world’s bees, in pictorial form. While on the subject of conservation, I have a petition to share with you about that horror known as the ivory trade.

My next link is to a piece written by a lawyer who courageously and correctly stood up for his neighbours when they were being bullied by the DWP – it provides insight into just how vicious this department has become since the Idiotic Delusional Sociopath (IDS for short) took control. This post is simultaneously disturbing and inspiring. A natural follow on from that is a link to this post from refuted.org.

Moving on, Tom Pride gives details of some vicious anti-semtism from a Tory candidate.

My next two links are related both referring to matters connected with LGBT rights. The first one was written in response to Nick Clegg publicly ruling out (a rather grandiose thing for soon-to-be ex MP to do in any case) any coalition involving the SNP, and points out just who he might find himself helping if he supports a coalition of the right – the gang of bigots officially known as the DUP. The second concerns the case of an asylum seeker facing deportion back to Jamaica and certain death – anyone actually carrying out this threat will be an accessory to murder and should be punished appropriately.

My penultimate link comes courtesy of julijuxtaposed and is counterblast to the increasingly rabid Scotphobia being shown by the right.

Finally, I include a link to an establishment being run by my latest twitter follower, which seems to be an excellent thing.


This card was sent to me by Rocio Watkins, an American researcher who  I have been of some assistance to - it contained a small cheque for which I have thanked her.
This card was sent to me by Rocio Watkins, an American researcher who I have been of some assistance to – it contained a small cheque for which I have thanked her.

DSCN4496 DSCN4497

This is the stamp on the envelope in which the car was sent. Although being current issue it is not yet of interest to philatelists I feel that I may be so eventually as circular stamps are not all that common.
This is the stamp on the envelope in which the car was sent. Although being current issue it is not yet of interest to philatelists I feel that I may be so eventually as circular stamps are not all that common.


Between 11AM and 1PM yesterday about 10 of us took to the streets of King’s Lynn to collect signatures for a petition which is at the heart of a campaign to Save Our NHS. Our numbers were a little less than they may have been because of late withdrawals and the fact that some people who would ordinarily have been with us were campaigning in Hunstanton as part of Jo Rust’s election campaign (including Jo herself who would certainly have been with us otherwise).

The weather was decent, and lots of people signed. I, and accosting people I do not know with a petition is something that having Asperger;s definitely does make more difficult, personally got 20 and must have had 10 times that number tell me they had already signed. Given how many others were also collecting signatures and the near certainty that I will have gathered the fewest of any of them we are certainly talking in terms of several hundred new signatures.

Finally, a few more pictures to end the post:

DSCN4346 DSCN4493

Look up and across from outside King's Lynn Debenhams and you will see this window display!
Look up and across from outside King’s Lynn Debenhams and you will see this window display!

Details of a post-election public meeting that will very likely be the occasion of my next visit to the fine city of Norwich.
Details of a post-election public meeting that will very likely be the occasion of my next visit to the fine city of Norwich.

This is my enlarged version of the victory for bees picture.
This is my enlarged version of the victory for bees picture.

Yesterday’s #SaveOurNHS action in King’s Lynn

A good turnout helped ensure the success of yesterday’s signature collecting session in King’s Lynn. Although it was grey with the King’s Lynn ‘lazy wind’ (cannot be bothered to go round you so goes straight through you) blowing the response was excellent. Even I, though I rarely fare particularly well gathering signatures (this is one area where having an Autistic Spectrum Condition does make things difficult), collected over 20, and received some kind comments even from some of those who did not sign. The total number of signatures gathered in central King’s Lynn yesterday will certainly be in the high hundreds.

Here some pictures from yesterday’s activities, some of them taken for me by the photographer from the Lynn News who took team pics for that publication…

?????????? ?????????? Team Pic in Frame ??????????

There has been a lot of sporting action this weekend. In the six nations there have been wins for Wales against France and for Italy against Scotland. Italy should have won by more than three points but Kelly Haimona had another shocker with the boot. Likewise, the principal difference between France and Wales was that Camille Lopez had a poor game with the boot whereas Leigh Halfpenny was up to us usual stratospheric standards for Wales. The Frenchman who kicked Ireland’s Jamie Heaslip in the back has deservedly been banned for the rest of the tournament – if he ever plays international rugby again he will luckier than he deserves to be.

In the cricket world cup, England suffered another humiliating defeat, this time at Sri Lanka’s hands. Having tallied 309 from their 50, England should have been capable of putting up some sort of defence of that total, but Sri Lanka had nine wickets and three overs to spare at the end. In the battle of the co-hosts New Zealand emerged victorious. The margin was only one wicket, but with more than half of their overs unused! Australia’s batting having done a passable impression of a house of cards, their bowlers fought back well to make a contest of it.

I have some other pics from yesterday…


This clock adorns one of the towers of King's Lynn Minster
This clock adorns one of the towers of King’s Lynn Minster

This is in between those two towers....
This is in between those two towers….

...And this adorns the second
…And this adorns the second

James and Sons February Auction and NHS Action

The auction was a great success – for more detail and some images see the word document that I created about it yesterday. I also detected a good omen for the Great Centenary Charity Auction when a silver poppy commemorative coin sold for above estimate…

The  poppy coin (1)
The poppy coin (1)

The poppy coin (2)
The poppy coin (2)


And this is a jpg which will be the featured image.
And this is a jpg which will be the featured image.

Talking of commemorative coins, lot 640, the British public libraries 150th anniversary coin went to yours truly for £15. Lot 875 also fell to me for the same price, and combined well with a leaflet advertising the North Norfolk Railway for a composite image…

The coin imaged in a way not open to me until it was my property.
The coin imaged in a way not open to me until it was my property.

A public library montage featuring the only one of the public libraries I regularly use to have any architectural merit.
A public library montage featuring the only one of the public libraries I regularly use to have any architectural merit.


3 sunset shots taken through the windows of an X8 heading back from Fakenham
3 sunset shots taken through the windows of an X8 heading back from Fakenham

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North Norfolk Railway route map
North Norfolk Railway route map




Lot 875 - railway buttons
Lot 875 – railway buttons

A close up og one of the two British Railways buttons!
A close up og one of the two British Railways buttons!

"Railway Montage"
“Railway Montage”

I received my pack from 38 Degrees for tomorrow’s NHS action in King’s Lynn tomorrow. It came with yesterday’s post. The A2 window poster is on display above the High Street – a look up from directly outside Debenhams might catch it (here’s hoping). I end with some images from the auction room, none of which have yet featured in my personal twitter account…

This is a wall decoration in a Fakenham coffee shop.
This is a wall decoration in a Fakenham coffee shop.

The James and Sons banner.
The James and Sons banner.

The banner and the TV kindly lent to us by Hughes Electrical
The banner and the TV kindly lent to us by Hughes Electrical

Lot 782 set out for display.
Lot 782 set out for display.

James and Sons regular auction venues
James and Sons regular auction venues

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All three of these tables were quite light and easy carry (even with the very small one having a full set of cutlery stored inside its top), and even better all three sold.
All three of these tables were quite light and easy carry (even with the very small one having a full set of cutlery stored inside its top), and even better all three sold.

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Some copper pots and a large coin cabinet
Some copper pots and a large coin cabinet

This warming pan failed to sell.
This warming pan failed to sell.

I am not sure as yet whether it was a museum or a dramatic group (for a production of Cinderella) but somebody bought this spinning wheel.
I am not sure as yet whether it was a museum or a dramatic group (for a production of Cinderella) but somebody bought this spinning wheel.

The display case full of medals is a regular sight at James and Sons events, but lot 4, an essay VC, was pleasingly unusual.
The display case full of medals is a regular sight at James and Sons events, but lot 4, an essay VC, was pleasingly unusual.

Yet more copper!
Yet more copper!

This very large quantity of very small cutlery did not sell (there six boxed sets as well as this newspaper wrapped one).
This very large quantity of very small cutlery did not sell (there six boxed sets as well as this newspaper wrapped one).

The James and Sons advertising board
The James and Sons advertising board

The Prince of Wales Suite at 5PM on Auction Day.
The Prince of Wales Suite at 5PM on Auction Day.

Press Releases, Emails and Other Stuff

I did not have time to write a post yesterday as I had an evening engagement in Norwich (a public meeting about the situation in Greece, which was excellent). Thus, I have several things to share. This is the press release I sent off in the run up to our auction on Wednesday 28th (full catalogue available at www.the-saleroom.com, from which source we have already had over 40 bidders):

A JPG of the press release
A JPG of the press release


Today I sent out a bulk email regarding the auction. I assembled the document myself with two images and several blocks of text. The stamp image was done by my colleague Andrew. Enjoy this gallery…

Owing to the  method of assembly it actually worked out easier to save the completed document as a JPG and copy and paste into the browser than to use it in its original form.
Owing to the method of assembly it actually worked out easier to save the completed document as a JPG and copy and paste into the browser than to use it in its original form.

Press Release

Going back to yesterday I resolved a query regarding lot 757 by producing these images:

I produced this montage for embedding in the body of the email just in case the recipient had a problem opening attachments.
I produced this montage for embedding in the body of the email just in case the recipient had a problem opening attachments.

?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ??????????My final image regards a demonstration taking place in Norwich…

Maximus Demo FinalIf you are going to be in King’s Lynn on February 28th and you would like to campaign on behalf of the NHS there is an event organised b y 38 Degrees happening in the town centre that day. People will be meeting up outside Top Shop at 11AM. Even if you can only spare a few moments every little helps!

If you have enjoyed this check out my twitter account, aspitweets.