Come and visit us today or tomorrow at the PBFA London Book Fair. We’re at Stand 50 at the IBIS Hotel, Earl’s Court. It takes place from 2.00-7.00 pm today and 10.00 am – 4.00 pm tomorrow.
We’re offering 20% off all Wisden orders made through the stand today and tomorrow. We hope to see you there. We’ll have lots of other books and memorabilia from cricket and other sports too.
Our present featured item is a lovely photograph of the 1936 Indian cricket captain, Maharaj Kumar of Vizianagram leading his team onto the field at the Bat and Ball Ground in Gravesend.They were playing Tich Freeman’s XII in the opening match of their tour. Tich Freeman was given his unoriginal nickname because he was 5’2″. We found some great Pathe footage of the match, which shows that although Tich was titch, he wasn’t that much shorter than the others. Other observations of the match: a large turnout to watch & it looks cold – in a British summer, how strange! Have a look:
1936 All India cricket team v Tich Freeman’s XI
Really interesting take on Chelsea’s present state of mind by the Telegraph’s Paul Hayward:
It would be interesting to hear Di Matteo’s view on the state of play at the moment – he’s been conspicuously quiet too about it all, I suspect for quite different reasons from Abramovich. It must feel v. frustrating for Di Matteo – from his & the team’s achievements at the end of last season, the club should have an exciting, positive energy going forward…
Heather Watson is the 1st British women’s tennis player to have won an ATP tour title since Sara Gomer since 1988. My bad I’m sure, but Sara Gomer passed me by completely. The great thing is that after decades of ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ British tennis players, here we are in 2012 with three British tennis champions, who are all serious international tennis contenders. It’s exciting. R4′s The Today programme talked of the Murray-Djokovic challenge/rivalry in the same breath as that of Nadal and Federer’s this am.
Along the lines of Sara Gomer & the slightly fey approach of British tennis of old , Kay Stammers was the 1930s equivalent of Heather Watson and Laura Robson: i.e., an extremely good and successful British tennis player. The British media of the time spent little time dwelling on her considerable achievements, such as being in the World’s top ten for several years however. Instead they provided insights like: “Pretty Kay Stammers…who likes lacrosse, cricket, lump sugar & planter’s punches”. At least we can be sure that we and British tennis have evolved somewhat!
Kay Stammers, 1930s British Tennis Champions. SKU 22263
Guest contributor, Chris Lane, Publisher of the Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack & MD, John Wisden & Co has been indulging in his other passion: golf & has been doing some research into a few of our Ryder Related items. This is what he discovered:
GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND RYDER CUP TEAM 1927. SKU 4480
This photo was entitled from the start as ‘Great Britain & Ireland Ryder Cup Team 1927′ with full legend underneath.It should in fact have been called ‘JH Taylor’s team of Prominent Golfers 1927′, which just happened to include 5 Ryder Cup team players.
The photo was taken in October 1927 when Oxford University’s Golf Club played what must be the most eminent match in their history. The Oxford team of the time included the son of JH Taylor, the five-time Open Champion, which led Taylor senior to invite the British Ryder Cup team from earlier that year to take on the Oxford University team. In the event only four of the eight-man original Ryder Cup team accepted the invitation, so Taylor changed it into a team of ‘Prominent Golfers’ by adding himself and another five-time Open champion, James Braid. Together with Arthur Havers (1923 Open Champion) and Ted Ray (1912) from the Ryder Cup. Sandy Herd (1902) and Henry Cotton (who would go on to win three Opens) joined them too so that six of the 10-man ‘Prominent Golfers’ team were or would become Open Champions.
In each game the Oxford team was given a three-up start but the Prominent Golfers prevailed 9-6. Half of Oxford’s points came from Baugh, a Rhodes Scholar from Alabama, and Mathieson, whose father, Donald, founded ‘Golf Monthly’. They respectively beat Havers and Ray and then combined to beat Jolly and Cotton in the fourballs.
In honour of the 2012 Ryder Cup we salute Walter Hagen (1892-1969), first & six-time US Ryder Cup Captain, whose spectacular career revolutionised the role of the contemporary professional golfer.
Walter Hagen, Spring Lake Golf & Country Club, 10th September 1914. SKU 5846
Walter Hagen came from a working class background, the only son of five children. He started playing golf as a caddy and made his professional debut at 19 years old, when he came a respectable 11th at the 1912 Canadian Open. Hagen was also a very skilled basketball player & in 1914 he cancelled a tryout with the Philadelphia Phillies in order to take part in a golf tournament. Later that week he won the US Open (20-21st August at the Midlothian Country Club, Blue Island, Illinois) for the first time, aged 21, his first major golfing title. The photograph above is taken three weeks after that life-changing golf event.
Thereafter Walter Hagen won so many golf tournaments in such flamboyant and cheerful manner that he raised the then lowly status of the golf professional singlehandedly. At that time golf pros often weren’t allowed entry in golf clubhouses. When Hagen won the 1922 British Open at Royal St George’s, he hired a limousine in protest at his barred entry there. He had the car parked directly in front of the clubhouse, changed his clothes in the vehicle and ate his celebratory meal there.
He went on to win 11 professional major championships, won 22 straight 36-hole games in the PGA & defeated his then great rival, Bobby Jones, in a 72-hole golf tournament in 1926 to (temporarily at least) decide who was the greatest golfer of the the day.
It may be a little premature, but we’ve got the Ryder Cup in our sights now. We’ve just issued our new golf catalogue to that end: http://www.sportspages.com/catalogue/117
One of the photographs in the catalogue provide us with a cracking ‘trivial pursuits’ question (for the orange ‘sports’ triangle obviously): What golf club is the only club in history to have a reigning monarch as its captain? Walton Heath. The Duke of Windsor became the club’s captain in 1935 and was crowned (albeit rather briefly) as King Edward VIII during his year of captaincy. His term as Walton Heath golf club captain lasted marginally longer than his reign. Despite its unique status, the club has never been given the Royal Charter – slightly odd, although maybe their significant association was with the wrong kind of Royal…here is a great photo of the Duke of Windsor playing at the club:
H.R.H. THE PRINCE OF WALES PLAYING GOLF AT WALTON HEATH 1935, SKU 18072
The ‘boys’ must be limbering up by now for their qualifier v Ukraine. Can they replicate the Moldova result? Would be nice…
The England Team warming up at Highbury in 1951 before their match v. France. The team included Ramsey, Finney, Mannion & Wright. SKU 20236
Finally! We’ve waited seventy six years for a Briton to win a grand slam title since Fred Perry was the last British player to do so. Weirdly Fred Perry won his last title on 10th September, the same day as Andy Murray won his first grand slam title, the first ever for Scotland. A year of great ‘firsts’ and triumphs for Murray, all richly deserved.
This is what British Grand Slam tennis champions looked like seventy odd years ago:
Fred Perry on court at the Roland Garros Stadium in Paris in the 1930s: SKU 20171
1913 Hampshire Cricket team during the Bournemouth Cricket Festival
Spooky or what? The Hampshire Royals beat Yorkshire at Cardiff on 25th August 2012 to become T20 Champions again…rewind 99 years to 25th August 1913 and Hampshire was at the Bournemouth Cricket Festival , embarking on an exciting cricket match against Yorkshire…which Hampshire won. In the 1913 match, Brown managed to hit twelve 4s for Hampshire to take his score to a very useful 122 runs.