Saturday, 18 July 2009

The going down of the sun

Today is sort of the birthday of this blog, or at least it's the birthday of the man whose picture adorns the top of the page: Happy 161st WG. 

In one of those coincidences of fate, Henry Allingham, the world's oldest man and a survivor of Ypres, passed away in the early hours of the day. Henry was the last person alive to have seen Grace bat, at the Oval in 1903. A line through time has has died with him. 

Grace remains a giant of the game, his life the great stone on which it rests. What he'd make of cricket today we can only guess, but it's probably fair to say he wouldn't have been a fan of Hawkeye. One of the best stories in Simon Rae's titantic WG Grace: A Life concerns the good doctor's battle with Essex's Charles Kortright, a prototype tearaway quick who tore into Grace in a match at Leyton, driving him back with short balls before having him caught behind and plumb LBW in the course of one over.

Dander up, Grace growled and glared at the umpire, daring him to raise his finger. He didn't. Kortright roared in once more,  ripping one through Grace and removing two stumps from the ground. The great man held the crease for a second longer before turing and stomping off, his mood as dark as his beard.

'Surely you're not going already, Doctor,' Kortright said, 'there's still one stump standing'.


Naked Cricket said...

Haha! And which stump was that?

The Old Batsman said...


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