(Not So) Famous Whiteparish Cricketers of the Golden Age
Every team has its list of cricketers who were famous once upon a time. Whether it be Bradman, Hobbs, Hammond, Botham, Sobers, Immie, WG or the most brilliant and majestic of all batsmen, Fat Bob Key. Whiteparish, too, has its own list of heroes who are hardly ever discussed today. Many were the forefathers of today’s all conquering 1st and 2nd XI sides.
Started out as a wandering minstrel but quickly got disillusioned with imported crap American country mincers music so took up cricket. His career came to an end in 1939 when Eddie Hitler, who had never played the game, invaded Poland. Returned to cabaret at the Totton Conservative Club’s monthly “Buddy Holly” theme night.
A military medium paced bowler with a windmill action. Would often bowl well over 100 overs in a day for no wickets due to a lack of variation. Got very upset if the Welsh won anything.
A demon bowler, employed as a gardener by the fourth Earl of Sandwich (the cheese and pickle one), who appointed many great cricketers to his staff. Hamblin bowled fast and dangerously, downhill wherever possible – in those days the winner of the toss could choose the lie of the pitch. His worst afternoon was in 1775. Five Men of Kent needed one more wicket to beat Five Men of Hambledon. Several times Hamblin bowled “through” the wicket, for these were the days of only two stumps – his language is not recorded in Wisden.
JD is credited with being the first official pie chucker in cricket history and the first to wear a poncy “Alice” band in his hair. His liking of woodbine smokes limited his run-up to just 2 yards. JD’s odd and angular run-up was later successfully copied by future England Test captain Sir Charles Aubrey “Round-The-Corner” Smith.
Opponents would often succumb to boredom whilst he was at the crease. Once took a full five days to get off the mark even though the opposition had retired to the pub 2 days earlier.
Didn’t get the fame he deserved as it was difficult to print the whole of his name on a scorecard. Was renowned for organising cricket tours but never actually played on one due to extensive cock-lodging. Was the author of the 1921 bestseller “The 10 Greatest Pubs In The World”. Also moonlighted as an agent for retired cricketers on the after dinner speech circuit. His most acclaimed speaker was Gilles the Frenchman and his baguettes – What A Carry On!
Despite his 24 stone frame, a graceful (so they say) batsman who, in 1836 nearly lost a leg, severely damaged during a long innings – they did not wear pads in those days. Being too large for an inside seat, MC was strapped to the top of a stagecoach and carried all the way to London to top surgeon Dr Prod, who, fortunately, decided against amputation but did a rectal examination instead. Despite this, MC did have the knowledge.
Another from the Golden Age of the “lob” bowler. Had a ruthless streak whilst batting and would often smash a 12 year old’s bowling to the boundary to teach them a lesson. Due to excessive dining at the Hatchet Public House he would often have to field in a stationary position for the whole of an innings.
Started his career as an all-rounder, who opened the batting as well as the bowling and became single wicket champion of All England in 1846, when he beat a violinist by an innings. Sustained a shoulder injury due to the excesses of pig farming and gave up bowling. Best innings was the ton he got for the Smokers v. Non-Smokers at Lord’s, back in 1884.
Perfected the “Over-The-Top Mainwaring” style bowling action. A genuine all-rounder it is rumoured that he once stopped the ball whilst keeping wicket. Carried his skills onto the football field where he was known to have been the hardest tackler ever to play the game.
Lord F**king Harris of the British Empire, Governor of Bombay, MCC Chairman and Treasurer, Majority Shareholder of the Capstan Full Strength Tobacco Company (1851-1932)
A window cleaner by trade who occasionally went to prison for his inability to pay his creditors and once did a stretch for crashing his penny farthing into the vicarage garden wall whilst under the influence. Previously resided in cricket pavilions but was constantly evicted due to local residents complaining of them smelling like a nun’s nasty. Was the first genuine leg side long hop round arm bowler.
The last great underarm ‘lob’ bowler. In 1909 he captained an MCC team on a tour of Egypt, usually bowling his lobs with the blazing desert sun behind him. Most of his opponents retired blind.
In many ways Bronzed Billy was a rogue. He bowled underarm grubs, sneaks, daisy cutters or, when he did allow the ball to bounce, he stuck great lumps of sawdust on the side to make life extremely awkward for the batsman. He was as much a rogue off the field and it was widely known that he often took expensive holidays abroad after selling invalid insurance policies to gullible punters.
Affectionately known as Mr Goose (real name unknown) he was a poor fielder, much handicapped by gout. Had to sit in a large armchair on the field to rest after each ball was bowled. After retiring, he became infamous for abusing and cackling at anyone that was either a tart or crap. Once wore the same puke-stained trousers for 4 days on a tour to Devon.
The first of the so called sloggers and on a good day would often hit the ball into the Squire’s duck pond. Towards the end of his career he had the biggest beard in cricket until WG Grace turned up.
Famous for turning up one afternoon with a bat that was wider than the wicket. A portly chap with an ample girth he could hit the ball half way to Salisbury if the ball was in his “V”. However, bowlers soon got wise to his solitary shot and a pitched up, straight delivery would often be his undoing. Frustrated at this, he retired from the English game, took up scoring for a while before moving to Barbados to play naked beach cricket with the locals.
Was described by Wisden as an “elegant stroke player, but unsound”. Kept wicket and lined his gloves with slices of meat supposedly to give added protection to his hands but more likely to feed his enormous lardy belly in between overs as the 20 minute tea interval was never long enough.
Bowled underarm so fast that he killed a dog on the boundary. Won the 1869 Great Britain Moustache of the Year award pipping the Slug Balancer of Old Wigan Town by a whisker.
A somewhat eccentric player, who had no cricket bag and used to arrive at grounds carrying his gear in his pockets and wearing cheap sea-side flip-flops. Fancied himself as a fashion icon and builder but was neither.
Cricket’s equivalent of Fatty Foulkes. Records show that he has never run a single.
Led the first tour to the Colonies, upset the locals and was never asked again. Did captain a rebel team to Germany on the infamous “Ooh Aah Luft-Waff-Argh” tour in the summer of 1914 prior to the outbreak of World War One.
Wisden Cricketer of the Year for 3 years running in the 1890s due to him having the best cricketing name in the land. Coined the catchphrase “Any shaggers here?” at barbeques.
Not much is known about his cricketing ability. However, due to his uncanny resemblance to Fidel Castro, he is often credited with starting the revolution against the capitalist infidels. Was last seen in South America being pursued by the Bolivian Army.
Renowned for fielding topless to intimidate the opposition, even in sub-zero temperatures, "The Guns" was a potentially destructive opening batsman favouring the pull-drive over mid-wicket as his main scoring shot, often off the 4th ball of the over. Killed in a tragic weightlifting accident when his guns exploded due to over inflation.
Brought into the side to inject some northern grit to the softies of the south coast, Pops would often force batsmen to retire through sheer force of sledging. It is rumoured that Steve Waugh's preferred tactic of "mental disintegration" was inspired after the erstwhile Aussie skipper and hardman read Pops' autobiography, "Fookin' 'ell!".
A product of the club's grooming policy with the local boy's grammar school in Salisbury (see Nicholas Evans, Earl of Wessex, Sir G Dear of Old Sarum, Mr Noisy Hocking, G Abdul Turk, Bambo "The Body" Petty, Sean, Greg and Paddy for other examples), Mr Cricket's sporting prowess resulted in long hours on the playing fields of southern England, often in freezing temperatures, which caused a nasty case of TB, usually manifesting itself around exam time. Achieved fame as a fearsome competitor in a local version of the Eton Wall Game, where he was known to play a full season surrounded by a red mist. The latest pretender to the throne of Kenny "Tall Trees" Feltham, Mr Cricket was often found trying to emulate Master Noble, both with his big hitting at the crease and with his enthusiastic drinking in the pub afterwards.
Always popular with visiting sides due to his advice on tax breaks with the tea expenses, Mr Darryl could often be found frequenting the Parish Lantern and local sub-continental restaurants where his patronage engendered a lasting affection, primarily as it funded the further expansion and profitability of curry outlets in rural south Wiltshire. His flashing off-side stroke play was sometimes worthy of attention too.
Frequent drinking and smoking partner of Lord Harris, was rumoured to have squandered a large percentage of his income on propping up the ailing British turf accountant industry of the mid-19th century, as well as providing handsome dividends to the importers of Caribbean rum. Enjoyed occasional tea watchman duties with the bat, and executed a number of lightning fast stumpings via his spring-loaded 'keeper's pads.
A strong advocate of colonial rule, Captain Charles emigrated from South Africa when it became apparent that his burgeoning property portfolio in the UK required closer personal attention. Raised in an era of gladitorial combat, his expansive strokeplay and energetic bowling were always entertaining, although his ambition of clearing the pavilion at Whiteparish was never quite fulfilled.
Posessing a cover drive so cultured the ball recited Shakespeare as it sped to the boundary, Lord LeCount championed the benefits of the arts to his team mates, most of whom regarded the Victorian periodical "Sizeable Older Male Sibling" as their weekly dose of cultural stimulation. And all of this despite supporting Essex.
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