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What cricket score can be equalled but never beaten?

17th November 2017

What cricket score can be equalled but never beaten? Your first Christmas teaser that can be answered from an item of sports memorabilia in our  Christmas catalogue… An edition of the Bulletin of the Military Historical Society for May 1973 (SKU 63262)  explains all. On page 119 is an account of an extraordinary cricket match […] More…

Sports and Politics: a cracking career path?

8th June 2017

Is politics a logical next step after a successful career in sports?  Former athletes, Lord Coe, Sir Menzies Campbell, Sir Chris Chataway and Kate Hoey have certainly all achieved.  We looked at the careers of three exceptional, past  cricketers too to gauge potential success. Results were mixed! It’s almost an insult to classify CB Fry as ‘just’ a […] More…

Martin Sheridan: Olympics hero & US athlete extraordinaire

6th April 2017

Martin Sheridan’s obituary in the New York Times described him as ‘one of the greatest athletes the United States has ever known’. Martin Sheridan was actually born and brought up in County Mayo, Ireland. The USA was very quick – and sensible – to claim him  as one of their own, soon after he stepped […] More…

John Wisden, founder of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack

16th March 2017

John Wisden founded the most iconic cricket annual in 1864: the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. Its publication is eagerly awaited every year. Steeped in Wisdens as we are, we thought we’d take a closer look at the man himself. John Wisden was born in Brighton in 1826. His father died when he was a boy and Wisden […] More…

2017 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack

16th February 2017

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Christmas Catalogue, part 2

8th December 2016

Sportspages Christmas Catalogue, part 2 Sportspages Christmas Catalogue, part 2 has arrived…And hot on its heels will be Christmas itself! It’s a great chance to buy something really special for a sports lover. Alternatively you can cleverly point one of your friends and relations at something you would particularly like yourself. Have a look at […] More…

Sportspages sponsor Oxford University Rugby Club

30th November 2016

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Arnold Palmer: a tribute to the ‘King’ of Golf

29th September 2016

Arnold Palmer was rightfully crowned the ‘King’ of golf for his huge contribution to glamourising and popularising the sport throughout his career. He won 7 Major titles and had 62 PGA Tour wins and he was the first golf player to make $1 million dollars from the sport. He was a true champion and showman: a perfect […] More…

Cricket Records: Len Hutton’s 364 in 1938

31st August 2016

Cricket records were smashed yesterday at Trent Bridge. England’s 444-3  against Pakistan.was the highest ever ODI team total. Alex Hales achieved his record-breaking ODI score of 171 at his home ground. Joss Buttler hit England’s fastest ODI 50 (off 22 balls). Although the game seemed to go all England’s way, Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir broke an impressive […] More…

The Olympics and Pele

4th August 2016

Who will light the flame at the Olympics in Brazil tomorrow? The big money is on the ‘King of Football’, possibly Brazil’s greatest national treasure, Pelé. The International Olympics Committee has already, and quite rightly, honoured Pelé  twice this year. In June Thomas Bach, IOC president, awarded Pelé the Medal of the Olympic Order, the […] More…

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John Wisden, founder of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack

16th March 2017

John Wisden founded the most iconic cricket annual in 1864: the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. Its publication is eagerly awaited every year. Steeped in Wisdens as we are, we thought we’d take a closer look at the man himself.

John Wisden was born in Brighton in 1826. His father died when he was a boy and Wisden went to live with Sussex wicketkeeper, Tom Box. Wisden’s talent as a cricketer was obvious from early on. By the age of 18, he had made his debut for Sussex versus Kent. He took 6 wickets in the first innings; 3 in the 2nd innings.

john wisden, wisden, wisden cricketers almanack, sportspages
John Wisden, founder of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack

John Wisden soon became one of the star cricketers in the mid-19th century. He was tiny. He was 5’6″ tall and weighed 44 kilos. Somehow, however, he had ‘the power’: he was an exceptionally effective fast bowler and was deemed to be one of the best all-rounders of his time. In 1850 he played for the North versus the South at Lord’s. He claimed all 10 wickets in the second innings, all of which were clean bowled – a unique feat still in first class cricket! In the same year John Wisden took 340 wickets in 38 matches. Wisden’s nickname soon became ‘Little Wonder’ after the winner of the 1840 Epsom Derby.

Again in 1850 Wisden began to branch out from just playing cricket.  He was a cricket coach at Harrow School from 1852-55. He also began making and selling cricket equipment and in 1855 he set up a cricket and cigar shop with Fred Lillywhite. In 1864 Wisden retired from cricket. Coincidentally…or not, that was also the year that his first Almanack appeared.

John Wisden’s Cricketer’s Almanack soon eclipsed its rivals due to its scrupulously accurate statistics and editorial independence. The first Wisden in 1864 was, however, a fairly eclectic mix of facts and figures. The almanack was 112 pages thick. It provided cricket scorecards and  statistics…along with racing winners, the rules of quoits, the dates of the Crusades and an account of Charles I’s trial!

In 1872  Wisden set up his sports goods shop, John Wisden & Co in Cranbourn Street near Leicester Square. You can still seejohn wisden & co, wisden, wisden cricketers almanack, sportspages its plaque on the building today. Wisden died in 1884, by which time his Almanack had seen off its competition and was firmly established as cricket’s book of record. Wisden was buried in Brompton Cemetery in London. To commemorate Wisden’s 50th anniversary in 1913, the Almanack dispensed with its annual selection of its ‘Cricketers of the Year’. Instead it chose to create a ‘special portrait’ of a prominent individual. In this case it was its founder: John Wisden

John Wisden's Tribute in the 1913 Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, sportspages
John Wisden’s tribute in the 1913 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack