All Time XIs – Steam Trains and London Underground

Today’s ‘all time XI’ cricket themed post meshes two special interests – cricket and trains.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to another variation on the ‘all time XI’ cricket theme. Today we look at two forms of rail based transport. One team consists of players who share a name with one of the locomotives in the stories by the Reverend W Awdry, while against them is a team of players who can be linked to London Underground. Hwoever, before getting to the main body of the bost I have one other piece of business to attend to.

AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Within a few moments of yesterday’s post going live up popped a twitter correspondent with the name of Johnny Wardle. Wardle should certainly have had a mention and a strong case could be made for his selection in place of Jack Walsh, though the case my correspondent made was less strong as he suggested Emburey the off spinner to be the one who dropped out. My name not being Dominic I tend not to edit blog posts I have already published, and I am not prepared to actually change my selection, but I freely acknowledge that Wardle coming in for Walsh specifically would be a valid decision.

THE STEAM LOCOMOTIVES XI

  1. Gordon Greenidge – right handed opening batter. His ‘Awdry Alter Ego’ is of course Gordon the big engine. His 90 first class hundreds, amassed for Barbados, Hampshire and The West Indies  provide solid back up for his inclusion.
  2. Edward Mills Grace – right handed opener, close fielder, ‘lob’ bowler. I have given him his full name, rather than the EM Grace that appears on scoresheets from the time, because the engine who has the number 2 in the Awdry stories is Edward. He was a phenomenon when he first appeared, an d he tends to miss out on his due recognition because he had a brother who was even better.
  3. Percy Perrin – right handed batter. Almost 30,000 first class runs including 66 centuries. Percy is the number six locomotive in the Awdry stories.
  4. James Horace Parks – right handed batter, right arm bowler. The only cricketer ever to score 3,000 first class runs and take 100 first class wickets in the same season. James is the splendid red engine with the number 5 in the Awdry stories.
  5. Percy McDonnell – right handed batter. He played for Australia in the 1880s, and his highlight came when he shared a partnership of 199 with Billy Murdoch, then an all time record test partnership for any wicket.
  6. Gordon White – right handed batter, leg spinner. One of the South African googly quartet of the period immediately before World War 1 (the other members of the quartet being Vogler, Schwarz and Faulkner).
  7. +Percy Sherwell – wicket keeper, right handed batter. He made one of the fastest rises up the batting order of anyone, starting his test career at no11, and three years later making a century as an opening batter.
  8. Thomas Emmett – left arm fast bowler, useful lower order batter. He was almost always known by the diminutive Tom, but his full first name is of course that of the most famous of all the Awdry locomotives, Thomas The Tank Engine, no1. He was one of the more quotable of all cricketers. On one occasiona when Yorkshire’s fielders were having a particularly unimpressive time he remarked after one drop “there’s an epidemic round here but it’s not catching.”
  9. Kirstie Gordon – left arm orthodox spinner. The only member of this XI to have been selected on the basis of her surname. The Aberdonian is at the start of would should be a long and distinguished career, but has already done some impressive things.
  10. James Anderson – right arm fast medium bowler. England’s all time leading test wicket taker, and currently the leading test wicket taker among pace bowlers.
  11. Thomas Richardson – right arm fast bowler. The man who took over 1,000 wickets in the space of four seasons (1894-7). Another known by the diminutive Tom.

This team has a good top five, a genuine all rounder, a keeper who can bat and four varied bowlers. The bowling attack, with Emmett, Richardson and Anderson to bowl pace and White and Gordon to bowl spinners also looks good.

THE LONDON UNDERGROUND XI

Just before I introduce my players I am going to give a bit more detail about the selection process for this XI. In most cases it is the name that provodes the London Underground connection, and with two thoroughly explained exceptions I have not used birthplace or geographical location in my selections. Also, I did not allow myself to select former Leicestershire wicket keeper Tom Sidwell who has the distinction of the only person ever given out in first class cricket for reasons to do with London Underground. He was not out overnight at The Oval, and on the following morning got lost on London Underground, arriving late and being given out by the umpires for not being ready to resume his innings. As you will see when we get to him I had a decent keeper available anyway.

  1. Charlie Barnett – right handed opening batter. He came closer than any other England batter to reaching a hundred before lunch on the opening day of a test match, being on 98 when that interval arrived at Trent Bridge in 1938. I got him in because if you take the final t off his surname you get Barnet, and the northern terminus of one of the two outer branches of the Northern line is High Barnet.
  2. Cecil John Burditt Wood – right handed opening batter. Carried his bat through 17 first class innings, including twice in the match v Yorkshire. Wood Green is a station near the northern end of the Piccadilly line, while Wood Lane is nowadays an interchange between the Central line and the Hammersmith & City line.
  3. Tom Shepherd – right handed batter for Surrey in the early part of the 20th century. He averaged 39.81 in first class cricket, very respectable for his era. In a crucial match versus Middlesex which helped settle that year’s County Championship he was outsmarted by Middlesex skipper Pelham Warner. Warner had declared setting Surrey 244 to win three hours, and Warner spotted his opposite number Percy Fender signal the ‘general chase’ to the batters Shepherd and Sandham. Warner dropped Patsy Hendren back from short leg to long on, and a few minutes later Shepherd holed out to Hendren. He qualifies by way of Shepherd’s Bush, a Central line station and Shepherd’s Bush Market, a Hammersmtih and City line station.
  4. Alex Blackwell – right handed batter. The Aussie qualifies by way of her full first name, Alexandra. Although the current Alexandra Palace is a railway station with no official underground interchange (although Wood Green is walkable from there) there was at one stage a plan to incorporate various suburban lines in north London into London Underground, and one of the stations that would have been on a branch of the Northern line had that come to fruition would have been another station called Alexandra Palace which was the terminus of one the branch lines that featured in the plan. Also, as the District line approaches Wimbledon it runs parallel for the last stage of the journey with Alexandra Road.
  5. Jack Parsons – right handed batter, right arm medium pace bowler. It is his skill with the bat that gets him in, but he did also take his wickets at under 30 each, did once take seven in a first class innings. Parsons Green is a station on the Wimbledon branch of the District line. At one time there was a plan to create a new line running SW – NE which would have taken over the southern end of this branch, with District line trains terminating at Parsons Green, and then after cutting through London slightly to the east of the Victoria line would have taken over the southern portion of the Hainault loop.
  6. Vyell Walker – right handed batter, right arm underarm bowler. Vyell Walker is one of only two cricketers ever to score a century and take all ten wickets in an innings of the same first class match, the other being WG Grace. He is also one of a famous set of cricketing brothers who were referred to as ‘The Walkers of Southgate’, and Southgate is the third to last stop at the northern end of the Piccadilly line (followed by Oakwood and Cockfosters). Southgate station is in a hill, which gives it a unique feature of having platforms that are in a tube tunnel but from which daylight can clearly be seen – both ways no less. The Walker Ground at Southgate is sometimes used by Middlesex, when their landlords at St John’s Wood cannot spare Lord’s.
  7. +Jack Russell – wicket keeper, left handed batter. Russell Square is a station on the Piccadilly line, in between Holborn and King’s Cross St Pancras. The platforms are accessible either by lift or by stairs (175 in total, and these days of you use them you trigger a recorded messgae that tells you that this is equivalent to a 13 storey building). Among other places it serves the British Museum, Great Ormond Street Hospital and Coram’s Fields, a park which because of its purpose only allows adults in if they are accompanying children.
  8. Charles Kortright – right arm fast bowler, useful lower order batter. One of the fastest and nastiest of all fast bowlers. He was known as ‘The Demon of Leyton’, and Leyton is a station that nowadays is near the eastern end of the Central line (it started life as part of what was then the Eastern Counties Railway). On one occasion he took exception to a youngster cocking his toe in his stance, and when warnings that WG Grace was the only person he allowed to do that fell on deaf ears the offending toe was smashed by a yorker.
  9. Gordon Parsons – right arm medium pacer. The Leicestershire bowler paid just over 30 each for his first class wickets.
  10. Alex Hartley – left arm orthodox spinner. She gets in on the same grounds as Blackwell at no 4. Although she has been overtaken in the England pecking order by the likes of Sophie Ecclestone and Kirstie Gordon she has a fine record at the ighest level, and at 26 years old it is not impossible that she will add to it.
  11. *Tich Richmond – leg spinner. He paid just 21 each for some 900 first class wickets, one of the better records for someone consistently ignored by the England selectors of his day (he got in one test appearance, at Trent Bridge, his home ground,  in 1921). Richmond is the terminus of one of the branches of the District line, and between Kew Gardens and Richmond the railway crosses the Thames on a bridge, one of only two occasions on which a London Underground line crosses the Thames above ground level (the other being the Wimbledon branch of the same line). Between 1877 and 1910 there was a branch of what is now the Hammersmith and City line which connected to the Richmond branch by means of a station at Hammersmith Grove Road and a descent the remains of which can still be seen at the approach to Ravenscourt Park, while a London Overground line joins the branch at Gunnersbury (the other terminus these days is Stratford – it used by North Woolwich, but that latter section became part of a Docklands Light Railway branch which terminates at Woolwich Arsenal.

This team has a fine top five, a genuine all rounder, a keeper who can bat and four varied bowlers. Kortright and Gordon Parsons, backed if necessary by the other Parsons, should combine well with the new ball, while Richmond, Hartley and Walker command a fine range of trickery between them.

THE CONTEST

This one should be a fine contest. I think the ‘Steam Locomotives’ team has the edge on account of their bowling resources. However, I would fully expect this contest to go the distance.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Having set the scene, made a necessary acknowledgement and introduced the teams it remains only to provide my usual sign off…

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Two days before the actual day my 45h birthday present from my parents (thank you) arrived – note the swivel screen for ease of seeing what one is photographing. The battery is charging at the moment, but I should be able to start using it properly by tomorrow morning…
IMG_0001 (2)
…after which this, which has served me well for several years, will become my back up camera.
Steam v Underground
The teams in tabulated form.

Autism Events I: Norwich

The first in a series of posts about a couple of autism events that I ahve attemded recently.

INTRODUCTION

I have had the good fortune to attend two autism events in the last few days. NAS West Norfolk, of which I am branch secertary funded my attendance at both events, and so I travelled with a bundle of NAS West Norfolk leaflets as well as my own personal cards. This is the first of  a series of blog posts I will be writing about these events, and therefore includes a…

TIME LINE OF THE LAST FEW DAYS

  • Thursday daytime: Autism Anglia information sharing event at the Theatre Royal, Norwich.
  • Thursday evening: public meeting on trans liberation at the Vauxhall Community Centre, Norwich
  • Friday daytime: work day.
  • Friday evening: supper at my aunt’s house.
  • Saturday all day: Anna Kennedy Autism Expo at the Eastern Gateway Building, Brunel University, nr Uxbridge

I hope that the above makes it clear why I am only just starting this series of posts and why I still have a large number of photos from the last few days to edit.

THE AUTISM ANGLIA EVENT

The bus ran a bit late, which meant that I arrived at the venue later than I would have liked. However, I was in time to get into the first talk I had booked for, Alan Bicknell of Autism Anglia talking about “The Uniqueness of Autism”. I impressed the speaker with three useful interventions – first up responsing to his request for a ‘guess’ as to how many people in the UK were likely to be on the autistic spectrum. I reasoned in Holmesian fashion that given the UK’s overall population and the popularly reckoned instance of autism being 1 in 68 the figure was likely to be somewhere in the region of 1,000,000. I was in the right ball park, with the speaker’s own reckoning being somewhere in the region of 800,000. My second intervention was to identify the author of the the ‘Thomas the Tank Engine‘ stories (Reverend W Awdry – his son Christopher continuing the family tradition). My third and final intervention was in response to his question “Can we all be a little bit autistic?” To which I said a very firm no, and backed this up when asked to expand on that answer by stating that ‘we are all a little bit autistic’ cheapens and demeans the very real difficulties faced by those of who are #actuallyautistic. He thanked me for making those points, and subsequently when I spoke to him after the talk he again thanked me for my contributions.

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THAT FIRST TALK

Alan
Alan Bicknell speaking

Uniqueness of Autism

SESSION TWO: SIAN HUTCHINGS

Ms Hutchings is autistic herself, and her talk was based around her own life and experiences, before focussing on educating autistic people. This was in the same venue as the first talk I had booked to attend. Sian’s talk was absolutely amazing, and although the photographs with which I end this post give you some basic idea of it, you really had to be there to hear it.

Autism Education & Me
These big screens look a lot like giant Ipads, and as I saw when one speaker poked the screen in making a point they also work a bit like giant Ipads – he was a bit discombobulated when the next slide appeared early.
Promethean
Their size is not the only thing about this screens the connects them to giants!
Sian Hutchings
Sian Hutchings

Sian and hatsHelping Autistic StudentsSian's social media

 

The 4th Ashes Test

INTRODUCTION

Welcome this little look back the test match that finished yesterday morning. I also have links, photos and infographics to share.

ENGLAND REGAIN THE ASHES

The third and fourth matches of this series have just about totalled five days (one test match that goes the distance) between them, such has the speed with which England destroyed Australia in both games. Previously England had won the first match comfortably, but were utterly monstered at Lord’s in the second. All in all, this means that England now have an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five match series. Given what happened on the Lord’s shirtfront the groundsman at the Oval would be well advised to prepare a pitch with some life in it for the fifth match.

In four successive innings Australia have had their batting wrecked by four different bowlers (never before has one country had four different bowlers pick up six or more wickets in four successive innings). The figures that Stuart Broad produced in the first Australian innings of the match that concluded yesterday still test credulity.

Both captains had good moments near the end of the match: Cook by giving the youngster Mark Wood a chance, duly accepted, to finish things, and Clarke by announcing that the Oval will be his last test match, thereby sparing Cricket Australia an unpleasant but necessary decision.

Stuart Broad deservedly got the man of the match award for his destruction of the Australian first innings which set England on the road to victory, while Ben Stokes’ sensational catch (check it out here) deservedly won the champagne moment.

A PHOTOGRAPGIC INTERLUDE

Here a few pictures from yesterday evening…

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This picture and the next two come from the same original but with different degrees of cropping.
This picture and the next two come from the same original but with different degrees of cropping.
A closer crop
A closer crop
The closest crop - a little blurred because it is so close.
The closest crop – a little blurred because it is so close.

LINKS

Not so many links to share as sometimes, but enough to split them into subsections.

PETITIONS

Three petitions for your consideration this morning:

A SINGLE AUTISM RELATED LINK

This piece, from respectfullyconnected is a heart-wrenching account of a piece of thuggery perpetrated someone referred to due to their conduct as “Ableist, Sexist Jerk” or “ASJ” for short. I am sharing at here, as I already have done elsewhere (twitter, facebook, google+) not in any hope that “ASJ” will see it but because it so outraged me that someone thought it was OK to behave in the manner described. The title of the piece is “Don’t You Dare Call My Autistic Son a Sissy”

A TRIO OF FUN FINDS

Switching away from the serious for a moment…

  1. A National Geographic piece about scientists successes and fails at fieldwork.
  2. A link to what looks to me be an excellent free resource.
  3. A link to quirky new blog, featuring Walthamstow among other locations, which I wish every success, called dutchgirlinlondon.

A SEGUE LINK

This is to a new find from this morning, which I got onto courtesy of a post on twitter by Jon Swindon. It is a blog called pollysshortattentionspan and it will no surprise to anyone familiar with Jon Swindon that the segue is to…

INFOGRAPHICS

This was the one that caught my eye on twitter.
This was the one that caught my eye on twitter.
And this caught my attention when I visited the blog for a closer look.
And this caught my attention when I visited the blog for a closer look.