14th April 2016
Rare & unusual Cricket Scorecards – our new cricket catalogue is out. We’ve struggled to keep the item numbers down in the catalogue. There are simply too many cricket scorecards with great stories to tell on our website! Some of the scorecards stand out due to their age. An I Zingari v the Liverpool Club cricket match took place […]
7th April 2016
It’s almost THAT time: the 2016 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack comes out on 14th April. After an incredible, rollercoaster year of cricket – and it looks like there’s much more of that to come this year too! – it’s bound to be a gripping read. If you haven’t already, you still have time to order it […]
24th March 2016
Rare & unusual Cricket Scorecards – our new cricket catalogue is out. We’ve struggled to keep the item numbers down in the catalogue. There are simply too many cricket scorecards with great stories to tell on our website! Some of the scorecards stand out due to their age. An I Zingari v the Liverpool Club cricket match took place on 19th July 1859. An extremely rare scorecard from the first ever Australian Tour of England in 1878 tells a painful early story of England Cricket.
The game was at Lord’s. Somehow the Australians scored only 41 yet won the match by 9 wickets. England, led by WG Grace, were bowled out twice in an afternoon, scoring just 33 and 19. The scorecard belonged to Alick Bannerman, the famous “stone-waller”, and has his name printed to the reverse.
Another cricket scorecard stands out due to the match’s extraordinary score. On 24-29th December 1926 Victoria amassed a still unbeaten First-Class record score against New South Wales at Melbourne. Victoria made 1107 runs over the five days. Ponsford was top scorer, having made 352 runs. Arthur Mailey was hit for a soul-destroying 362 runs in his 64 8-ball overs. New South Wales lost – unsurprisingly – by an innings and 656 runs. It remains only the third heaviest defeat in history…so far.
Other cricket scorecards in the catalogue tell stories that bring in outside elements to cricket itself. Footballing legend Geoff Hurst’s only First Test Match score was in a cricket match in 1962 . Another of the cricket scorecards in our catalogue introduces a significant element of interest outside cricket. In July 1902 London County played the MCC at Crystal Palace. London County won by an innings with Wood, Poidevin and WG Grace all scoring centuries for County. But the real intrigue is the appearance of one Sir A Conan Doyle for the MCC team, who scored his highest first-class score in the match. He made 43 runs.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was a hard hitting, though not especially skilled, batsman and a bowler of slow, loopy lobs which often took a puzzling flight. Indeed he once quipped that so slow was his bowling that if he ever delivered one he didn’t fancy could run down the wicket, intercept it, and come back for another go! In 1899, for the MCC, he took seven for 61 against Cambridgeshire at Lord’s and on the same ground two years later carried out his bat for 32 against Leicestershire. It is said that Shacklock, the Nottinghamshire player, inspired him with the Christian name of his famous character, Sherlock Holmes, and that of the latter’s brother Mycroft was suggested by the Derbyshire cricketer of that name.
It’s almost THAT time: the 2016 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack comes out on 14th April. After an incredible, rollercoaster year of cricket – and it looks like there’s much more of that to come this year too! – it’s bound to be a gripping read. If you haven’t already, you still have time to order it from us and receive it hot off the press next week! As you may already know, we are the official suppliers for Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack Dust Jackets, so you can buy your copy of the 2016 Wisden from us with or without the traditional style jacket included. You can also buy the 2016 Wisden softback if you’d prefer. Whichever your preference, the almanack you want is only a click away!
New Stock from Sportspages
Welcome to our first new stock update both of 2016 and on our new website. We have some fantastic items from rugby, cricket and golf along with scarce and unusual football books this time. We also have a selection of items from more obscure sports – treats for collectors of tiddlywinks, fen skating, stoolball and longball literature (c’mon we know you’re out there). Among the huge breadth of sports and rare items in the New Stock catalogue is a charming and rare piece of cricket memorabilia, regarding one very beloved cricket commentator:
This may well be Henry Blofeld’s finest cricketing hour – the official scorecard for the cricket match played at Lord’s on August 8-9, 1956 between the Public Schools XI and the vastly more experienced Combined Services XI. Blofeld came in at number 8 and scored 104 out of a total of 214 against some serious bowlers, including Leary, Shirreff and Subba Row. An impressive performance, albeit in a losing cause.
There are a host of other sports memorabilia gems in the Catalogue: take a look! Sportspages’ first New Stock Catalogue for 2016
As many of you may know, it’s officially World Book Day today. In an office surrounded by 1000s of amazing sports books it was hard to choose only one title to celebrate the day We could have chosen many, but we went for C L R James’ ‘Beyond a Boundary’, described by John Arlott as ‘the finest book written about cricket’. Of course it’s about a lot more besides…
A letter written by David Sheppard, Sussex & England cricketer & Bishop of Woolwich and Liverpool, takes us back to the bleak days of cricket in Apartheid South Africa.
The 2016 England cricket team’s performance in South Africa so far must have cheered the heart of every England cricket fan. We have seen some phenomenal individual performances and a rousing, generally consistent team one, all at the expense of the hitherto World No 1 team: South Africa. Attention has turned very quickly to South Africa’s woes. Observers see South Africa’s struggles against England as symptoms of a demise rather than a blip. South African cricket may well be facing the need for an overhaul. It’s a cyclical pattern in all teams – but let’s not lose sight of how far South Africa have come in the last 25 years. This year will be the 25th Anniversary of the unification of South African cricket and its readmission to the international cricket arena. A journey down memory lane with David Sheppard, the extraordinary combination of clergyman and cricketer, reminds us of South African cricket’s journey.
David Sheppard is the only ordained minister to have played Test cricket. He was both a religious leader and a cricketer at the highest levels. Captain in turn of Cambridge and Sussex, Sheppard was an opening batsman. He scored more than 2,000 runs in each of the three seasons from 1951 to 1953, including 24 centuries in the process. Sheppard was one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 1953. He managed, too, to be an integral member of the England cricket team from 1954 to 1963 while pursuing a clerical career, which culminated in his hugely significant and influential role as Bishop of Liverpool in the 1980s.
Throughout Sheppard’s clerical career he was an outspoken supporter of the poor. He was also a strong opponent of South Africa’s then political system of Apartheid. David Sheppard refused to play cricket against the touring South Africans in 1960. He also oppposed the proposed MCC tour to South Africa in 1968-69 in which South Africa would not allow Basil D’Oliveira to play.
As the Bishop of Woolwich, David Sheppard wrote this letter in 1970. Here he sets out clearly his views about England cricket’s relationship with South Africa at the time.
David Sheppard’s letter gives us a fascinating insight into the background, experiences and discussions circling England cricket’s relationship with South Africa at the time. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see how wise Sheppard was in his views. The letter is an important reminder of a great England cricketer and South African’s cricketing history. David Sheppard’s letter should be a reason for celebration. It may have a way to go, but South African cricket has come a long way too.
Sportspages has taken a look at BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year candidates since the programme began in 1954. The runner, Sir Christopher Chataway won it that first year. We’ve delved into our archives to detail a winner from each decade. Since all were worthy victors in the years that they won, our selection of individuals has been fairly arbitrary. Almost all could have caught our attention. We’ve tried to be fair (in sport?!) and picked out a sports personality from different sports over the years.
We start with Jim Laker, who won Sports Personality of the Year in 1956 for his record-breaking number of wickets taken against the Australians in that year. In the 4th Ashes Test, at Old Trafford, Laker was the first bowler in history to take all 10 wickets in a test innings. In fact Laker took 19 Australian wickets for 90. He bowled 9 for 37 in the first innings; 10 for 53 in the 2nd Innings.
Jim Laker later went on to set the record of the most wickets taken in a 5 match Ashes series (admittedly, a niche area): 46, a record still held today.
In the 1960s our attention turns to Sir Henry Cooper, the only British boxer ever to be knighted…yet. He was BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1967, having been unbeaten throughout that year. We may have fond and more recent memories of him in Brut aftershave commercials and hamming it up in pantos and chat shows. He also had an exceptionally long career as a successful boxer from 1954 – 71. He won 40 of his 55 contests, 27 of which were knockouts. Cooper was legendary for his very powerful and very fast left hook. It was called ‘Enry’s Ammer’ and was most famously used against Muhammad Ali in both of their hugely publicised fights in 1963 and again in 1966. As well as Henry Cooper’s boxing achievements, he was also the first sportsman to win SPOTY twice – he won the award again in 1970.
We come to Dame Mary Peters in the 1970s. She won SPOTY in 1972 after her triumphant gold medal in the pentathlon at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, where she narrowly beat the local favourite. Mary Peters came from Northern Ireland and was a ‘war horse’ in athletics. She represented Northern Ireland at every Commonwealth Games between 1958 – 1974. She honed her craft in tough times. She recalled her training schedule every day, ‘I used to have to get two buses into Belfast City centre and then another to the track, carrying my shot, which weighed four kilos, and my starting blocks. The track was full of pot-holes. It wasn’t the ideal place to come but it was the only place we had’.
The 1980s offers us almost too many fine candidates from which to choose. We could have concentrated on Beefy Botham. Unsurprisingly he won Sports Personality of the Year in 1981. There was Daley Thompson too, Torvill and Dean, Nigel Mansell and Sir Nick Faldo among others. But we wanted to share the love among sports and also to honour a fond favourite of ours: Steve ‘Interesting’ Davis! Davis was the first player to complete snooker’s triple crown in a single year to win the World Championship, the Masters and the UK Championship won Sports Personality of the Year in 1988. He went on to win the world championships six times in total. Steve Davis was ranked no. 1 in snooker for seven consecutive seasons and his 1985 World Championship final against Dennis Taylor pulled in 18.5 million British viewers.
Steve Davis was accused of being boring at times due to his seeming lack of emotion and expression. In that case our 1990s Sports Personality of the Year might be the Yang to Steve Davis’ Ying. Footballer Paul Gascoigne, SPOTYS winner in 1990 was known as much for his passion and tears on the pitch as for his exceptional, natural talent. He won that year for being an integral part of the England team that reached the last 4 places in the 1990 World Cup in Italy. His tears afer the semi-final defeat against Germany reached the hearts of many fans. He wasn’t all tears though. He ended up with 57 caps and was described as the ‘most naturally gifted English midfielder of his generation’
The Noughties was another decade packed with fantastically achieving Sports Personalities of the Year. They included David Beckham, Paula Radcliffe, Jonny Wilkinson, Freddie Flintoff, Sir Chris Hoy and Ryan Giggs. All were worthy winners. We have gone for a huge sporting figure, literally and figuratively: Sir Steve Redgrave. Steve Redgrave ended his career being the most successful rower in history. He won 5 successive Olympic Gold medals and 1 bronze. He was onto his third Olympics and 3rd Gold medal in 2000 when he won Sports Personality of the Year then.
Since 2010, two of the past winners are contenders again this year: Andy Murray in 2013 and Lewis Hamilton last year. Will one of them do a ‘Henry Cooper’ and win Sports Personality of the Year for the second time this year? Will our Olympics poster girl, Jessica Ennis-Hill or Lizzie Armitstead step up as one of the few women to win the title over the years? Can Mo Farah or Chris Froome stay the course? Or will Kevin Sinfield, Greg Rutherford, Adam Peaty or Max Whitlock whip the trophy out from under the frontrunners’ noses? So many questions! Thankfully it’s only 10 days to find out the answers…
For the last 6 months, we have been working hard to redesign and improve our website. Our old website was much loved but we felt it was time to ‘freshen it up’ and hopefully make it better for our customers. We’re still at www.sportspages.com and all our contact details remain the same.
We hope it improves your experience of searching and buying from the site. We’ve had many good comments (and some critical ones) about the old site and we have incorporated many of your comments into the new one. Please have a browse and let us know what you think.
One thing is certain however – the new website won’t be functioning perfectly from day one. Please bear with us if you have any problems or frustrations with it. All feedback will be appreciated and remember you can always order by telephone on 01252 851040 if you have any problems online.