Going back to my Notts roots once again

A trip back to my original home county of Nottinghamshire was called for, so with Sheila and daughter Jen off we went to once again discover my roots. My main objective of this particular trip was to watch cricket at Trent Bridge following in the steps of my Dad George Robertson and Grandad Bill Robertson, but there’d other highlights too.

Our first stop was Edwinstowe to have a look at the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest:-

Then a visit to see a relative living only a couple of miles away from the Major Oak in the lovely Nottinghamshire countryside.

Our hotel for the trip was the Premier Inn Nottingham West which is well situated at the end of one of the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) tram lines meaning no driving was required around an unfamiliar city. You know exactly what you’re going to get at a Premier Inn and we use them regularly. NET trams, as I’ve said before, are very good indeed:-

A NET tram near Nottingham Railway Station

A look at Park Tunnel was worth the short walk out of the City Centre. I’d first heard of it via ‘Trekking Explorations’ on YouTube – see link below – a video well worth looking at:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=axPEpwS2jq8

Park Tunnel – Photo by Jen Robertson

Trent Bridge Cricket Ground

And then a day at the cricket for me at the beautifully appointed Trent Bridge Cricket Ground watching Nottinghamshire V Middlesex in the County Championship. Fortunately, it was just the right weather for cricket, not too hot or cold. My Grandad Bill Robertson took my Dad to this ground just before the 2nd World War (Dad went many times after then, particularly when he’d retired) so I was following in their footsteps so to speak. Dad used to tell me of meeting famous Nottinghamshire batsman Joe Hardstaff (Jnr) on the bus from Kirkby-In-Ashfield to Nottingham after the war – see link below:-

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Hardstaff_Jr

Nottinghamshire & England cricketer Haseeb Hameed

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haseeb_Hameed

We also took in a trip to Newstead Abbey, which has recently made an appearance in the BBC Drama ‘Sherwood’. The first things we saw were peacocks and those who watched the series will recall how one was ‘killed’ with a longbow and arrow. No, of course, the one you see dead on TV was not real one……

Newstead Abbey

And finally, a look at the Town I was born in, Kirkby-In-Ashfield. On Orchard Road we found No.14, which I lived in until the age of 6 when we left Kirkby and we ended up having a chat with a nice chap who lived at No.18 (I think) who told us he recalled our next-door neighbours (No.12 – Jack Garner and his wife) who were there when we were. The photo below is me on the footpath which used to go over the now long gone Kirkby-In-Ashfield Central Station and railway. The significance of it was that around 5 years old I disappeared from home and was found after a shortish search waiting to see the ‘Fish Train’ which passed through each day.

Me on the footpath leading out of Orchard Road Kirkby-In-Ashfield.

As you might expect I enjoyed my trip down memory lane. I’ll be going back, of course, not least to watch more cricket at the home of Randall, Hardstaff, Larwood, Sobers etc. (oh how I’d have loved to have seen them all play at Trent Bridge) and not forgetting one of my present-day cricketing heroes Haseeb Hameed.

Notes –

* Click on the photos to enlarge them

* Tony has lived on Merseyside since the age of 10 and presently resides in Lydiate

The Bodyline Hypocrisy – Book Review

As a Kirkby, Notts born lad Larwood has always been a hero of mine and I’d previously read Duncan Hamilton’s 2009 book – Harold Larwood. Then, more recently, I came across Michael Arnold’s book – The Bodyline Hypocrisy. Having long thought that Larwood and his captain Jardine (not forgetting fellow Notts fast bowler Bill Voce of course) had been used and abused by cricketing authorities to serve wider political ends this book goes into such issues in great detail. Suffice to say it has confirmed my view.

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

The 1932/33 tour Down Under by a good quality England Team turned out to be the most controversial series just about ever not least because of the accuracy of Larwood’s fast bowling. He could seemingly drop a cricket ball on a sixpence regularly, an art that very, very few really fast bowlers have ever been able to do. Couple that with a captain who knew how to expose the weaknesses in the Australian batting and a great partnership, across a class divide, was created. Add to that the poor condition of the Austrian pitches, which were actually the cause of two infamous incidents where Aussie batsman were seriously hurt, and the fact that the Australians had a poor bowling line up and all that was left to Australians was to complain and complain they did!

I would have loved to have met Harold Larwood but the nearest I was to come was hearing my Mum (Sheila Calladine) talking about being at (Vernon Road?) school, Kirkby-In-Ashfield with one of his daughters – I think that will have been June Larwood.

All in all this book is indeed a good read in cricketing terms but also in helping the reader to understand the times in which the controversy took place and the mind set of Australians.

I was born in Orchard Road Kirkby-In-Ashfield in 1958 and lived there until the age of 6 with my Mum & Dad Sheila & George Robertson. Now exiled on Merseyside I visit Kirkby occasionally.

Lancashire Greats – Akram, Engineer & Lloyd

Whilst I’ve always been a supporter of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club (because I’m a Nott’s lad) I have equally always had great affection for Lancashire (I’ve lived in the Lancs since the the age of 6) so the video linked below unsurprisingly caught my eye on You Tube:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxT6J0oxoaY

Hearing David Lloyd talk about Lancashire’s 3 greatest overseas players – Farokh Engineer, Clive Lloyd & Wasim Akram reminded me that Notts too had 3 similar greats – Gary Sobers, Clive Rice & Richard Hadlee.

The demise of Nottinghamshire CCC with regard to ‘Red Ball’ cricket has been astonishing – They’ve not won a County Championship match since June 2018 and seemingly counting! Then out of the blue Notts post 268 for 2 against Lancs on the opening day of the current Bob Willis Trophy match at Trent Bridge yesterday. But sadly all I could think of at close of play was how can Notts contrive to lose from such a commanding position? Having been in seemingly winning positions against both Derbyshire & Yorkshire this season Notts have chucked it all away each time so you can bet that Lancs will expecting the same to apply……..

Sadly there are no big names in either squad for this 4 day match but then again county cricket rarely sees the best from across the world playing these days. 365 day a year international cricket could well be killing county cricket off……….

1981 – A County Championship win for Notts

I recently purchased this commemorative plate via ebay and as a Notts lad who loves cricket I’m delighted to have it for display in our house. Whether my good lady shares this enthusiasm is a different matter though!

This was a strong side with Randall, Hadlee, Rice, Robinson, Hemmings, French and Hassan all being top class cricketers. Those who know me will realise how much I enjoyed watching Derek Randall bat and field but I always felt that Kenyan-born Basharat Hassan was often overlooked as a batsman of some considerable class on his day.

Sefton Council’s Stress Reliever/Stress Ball – A nerd’s way of coping:-)

The other day I uncovered a stress ball that I had long forgotten about and had it not had ‘Sefton Travel Team’ stamped on it I would have struggled to know where it had come from.

I’m guessing that it came from my time as a Sefton Councillor, or even as Council Leader. It was probably given to me as I’m a train nut and maybe by someone who thought I was exhibiting stress at the time! Yes, it’s in the shape of a metro/transit type carriage of a generic type:-

But being a train nut I was tempted, having found it, to see if I could work out which real metro/transit train it compared to. You have to understand my level of nerdiness here of course! My conclusion? A Chicago ‘L’ train 2600-series unless anyone can be more nerdy than me and suggest an alternative. Now there’s a challenge which only a train nut would be tempted to take up……..

In the tough times we are presently facing a stress ball or two may come in handy and I actually now have 4! Here are the other 3:-`

A CWU trade union post box styled stress ball – part of their ‘keep the post public’ campaign

The trade union I worked for in a lay officer capacity for over 30 years

Well I had to have a cricket stress ball. From the 2008 Ashes Series. These were sold by M&S.

Oh and what do you think gets me stressed out? The usually poor performances of Mansfield Town FC & Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club

Sobers couldn’t have done it without Nash

Surely cricket’s most famous day – 6 sixes in one over – see link below

www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/cricket/45361645

I wonder how many times Malcolm Nash has related the story of how he was hit for 6 sixes? Notice Sobers having a fag whilst being interviewed! How times change……..

Here’s a link all about Sobers:-

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

As a Nottinghamshire lad Sobers, Randall and Larwood are my cricketing heroes……….