RIP DAVID RAYVERN-ALLEN

I am sad to learn of the death of David Rayvern-Allen. A fine writer and cricket historian.
His authorised biography of John Arlott is a wonderful book, as is his book ‘Cricket: An Illustrated History’, which is a joy to take down from the cricket bookshelf.
I’ll leave it to others (including my friend David Allen) to blog more about his visit to the Hambledon Club and his contribution to cricket writing.
In the meantime RIP David Rayvern-Allen.

http://www.lords.org/news/2014/october/cricket-historian-rayvern-allen-dies/

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Next season will see the traditional Pompey Crest on the shirts of players as they take the field.

IMG_0143.JPG

I love the eight point star and the Swiss-shield. This form of the crest is what I remember on lampposts around town that dated back to before Portsmouth became a city in 1926.

IMG_0145.JPG

I hope that players will be as proud to wear the new crest on their shirts as those before (whether a five point star or an eight point star).

Play up Pompey.

LUCKY TO BE AT TWO FIRSTS UNDER FLOODLIGHTS

I love going to floodlit sports games.  The thrill I get when watching my two favourite sports taking place under the bright lights high in the sky on towering lighting stanchions is undiminished by the years. There is something special about the ambiance at a floodlit game.  I think it is the bright light against a dark sky; the damp atmosphere with a kind of jewelled look about the air, hanging heavy with dew; the chill of the evening; the muted sounds.

Featured image

I think it is because I remember vividly the first floodlit football match I ever watched, which just so happened to be the first-ever Football League game played under floodlights. Fratton Park, on 22 February 1956, saw me, an excited youngster, sent by my father and grandfather through the ‘Boys Turnstile Entrance’ into a ground smelling of dust, Bovril, cigarette smoke and Dockyard Mateys (so evocative that I can still smell it, as I go into Fratton Park for home floodlit games all these years later).  I had to wait a while to see the floodlights though as when I got into the ground the lights failed.  All was well in the end and the match kicked off on time I think (7:00 p.m. in those days).

I cannot remember all the players on that special evening but I remember Jackie Milburn played for Newcastle. I remember the Portsmouth Team though: Norman Uprichard in goal, Tommy McGhee and Jack Mansell at the back with halfbacks Reg Pickett, Phil Gunter and Jimmy Dickinson.  The front five were wingers Peter Harris and Gordon Dale, inside-forwards Johnny Gordon and Ron Rafferty with Jackie Henderson as centre forward.  Newcastle won by two goals to nil (I think Bill Curry and Vic Keeble scored).  I can also remember my disappointment that Mike Barnard wasn’t playing; although he did play in the next home match I watched when Derek Rees scored a hat-trick against Burnley in a 3 – 1 win.

Go forward fifty years and on 15th June 2006, I was at another first-ever floodlit match, when England played Sri Lanka in the first ever Twenty20 Floodlit International in the Northern Hemisphere.

The lights intensified the sparkling moisture in the air on that night too and the intense illumination of the Rose Bowl (as it was then) was a magnificent sight. Sri Lanka batted first and made 163.  England lost by two runs and I remember Trescothick was going like a train when he was run out on 72.  Mahela Jayawardene made his T20 International debut that night top scoring for Sri Lanka with a nice 41 and KP (not a favourite with the Rose Bowl crowd) was dismissed for 17.

Oh what memories.