My cricketing heroes – Derek Randall, Richard Hadlee, Garfield Sobers & Harold Larwood

Coming from the Nottinghamshire coalfield and from the very same district (Kirkby-In-Ashfield) as Harold Larwood (who was born in nearby Nuncargate in 1904) it’s probably no surprise that my sporting heroes are all cricketers; Notts cricketers unsurprisingly.

Statue of Harold Larwood in my (and his) own home town of Kirkby-In-Ashfield. Before it was moved for redevelopment.

Harold Larwood

history.trentbridge.co.uk/players/harold-larwood.html#.W4E7ubgnbIU

Derek Randall

history.trentbridge.co.uk/players/derek-randall.html#.W4E5n7gnbIU

Richard Hadlee

history.trentbridge.co.uk/players/richard-hadlee.html#.W4E6xrgnbIU

Garfield Sobers

history.trentbridge.co.uk/players/sir-garfield-sobers.html#.W4E7grgnbIU

As a young man in the 1970’s I was often found listening to Test Match Special on the radio in the middle of the night and of course back then cricket was on the regular TV, no pay to view exclusivity. The John Player Sunday League was a delight on BBC2 which my old Dad and I would regularly watch. I would add that I think cricket has been done a great disservice by becoming significantly inaccessible on free to view TV, a penny that I think has finally dropped with the cricketing powers that be.

Randall, nick names Rags and Arkle, is my number one sporting hero; this eccentric fidgeting batsman could, on his day, take on any bowling and his fielding was probably the best the world has ever seen or ever will see.

The old saying was that when a fast bowler was required all you had to do was to call down a Nottinghamshire coal pit and one would emerge – Harold Larwood was one such miner called from the pit to break Australian hearts. What a bowler – speed and accuracy. That he was blamed for the Bodyline series down under was an utter disgrace as he was doing what his captain asked him to do. However when the sh1t hit the fan the poor working class bowler carried the can and the upper class captain all but got away with it.

It was fitting that a statue of Larwood was erected in my old home town (it’s pictured above) and whilst I have not seen it since it was moved as part of a town centre redevelopment I’m sure this old Kirkby lad will have a tear in his eye next time he sees it.

Richard Hadlee was a very accurate pace bowler and the fact that pitches at Trent Bridge were made for him is testament to his recognisable ability. A Kiwi who like all my cricketing heroes played Test Cricket, in his case for New Zealand, he was a delight to watch and batsmen hated facing him.

And then there’s the quite wonderful all round cricketer Garfield Sobers, that giant of West Indies cricket who could turn his arm over as either a medium fast or spin bowler. He was also pretty good with the bat too as this video clip from the BBC proves:-

www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/45357768

And I say all this whilst Nottinghamshire have just completed a very poor 2018 season indeed, surviving in the County Championship Division 1 by virtue of winning just one more match than Lancashire with whom they ended up on the same number of points. If Lancs had scored just a few more runs in their last but one innings Notts would have been relegated instead of them. Oh how we need some heroes now as the present team could easily get Notts relegated to the 2nd Division again next year, indeed many Notts supporters will sadly be almost expecting that slide in the 2019 season unless some big changes are made at Trent Bridge.

Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club – It’s been a wretched season

Cricket-notts-logo

www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/37313447

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

When your team is down you feel down and for me yesterday’s loss to Middlesex was yet another blow in a season where Notts have only won one of their 1st Division County Championship games. Do they deserve to be relegated? Certainly. But why has a team with so many talented cricketing stars played so badly? No idea.

Statue of Harold Larwood in my (and his) own home town of Kirkby-In-Ashfield. Before it was moved for redevelopment.

Statue of Harold Larwood in my (and his) own home town of Kirkby-In-Ashfield. Before it was moved for redevelopment.

That such relegation should happen to a County that has produced cricketing legends such as Larwood, Voce, Randall, Broad’s X 2, Hardstaff’s X 2, French etc. beats me. And probably the greatest cricketer of modern times, Sir Garfield Sobers, was a Notts player for years – what an 80th year birthday present the Club has given him!

There that’s off my chest now!

My life heroes – Kennedy x 2, Randall and Hayes

www.libdemvoice.org/jim-wallaces-inaugural-charles-kennedy-memorial-lecture-charles-legacy-should-be-a-call-to-refresh-our-radicalism-48337.html#utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=email

Without having to think too deeply my life heroes will easily trip off my tongue; music – Isaac Hayes, cricket – Derek Randall and 2 Kennedy’s (Ludovic and Charles).

Isaac Hayes introduced me to soul and funk around 1970 and I never tire of listening to his music, especially when driving. To Be Continued must be the best of his albums; strings, brass and his deep southern cotton belt voice.

Derek Randall was the jack in a box Nottinghamshire cricketer who played many test matches for England. Probably the best fielder of his generation world-wide I loved to watch him on TV, although Geoff Boycott broke my heart when he ran Derek out at Trent Bridge!

But what about the 2 Kennedy blokes and no one was not a former President of the USA. My Kennedy chaps are Ludovic and of course Charles. Ludovic’s writings brought home to me two things, that our legal/justice system gets things horribly wrong at times and he opened my eyes (which were already hugely sceptical of religion) to being an atheist.

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Charles Kennedy was probably the best left of centre political leader that we have seen in the UK in a very long time and like the former Truro MP David Penhaligon he did not seem to have a genuine enemy in the world. When Charles died earlier this year the world stopped and took notice for a moment. This was not just another party political hack that had died it was Charles Kennedy.

The link at the top of this posting is to a memorial lecture given by former Orkney and Shetland MP Jim Wallace in praise of Charles Kennedy. It is long but if you have the time it is worth the time.