Hampshire Cricket History

Literary Links
January 9, 2018, 6:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In Forever Changes I described some examples of cricket appearing in popular culture, including fictional literature, cinema and television, and suggested that it was far less common than it had once been.

On my visit to Bournemouth last Thursday, I spoke about this idea and offered some examples including weekly cartoons in Punch during the 1930s and Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca in which Max de Winter is identified as a follower of county cricket (Middlesex v Surrey). It doesn’t occur in the Hitchcock/Hollywood film version.

Alan Edwards followed this up with this fascinating information:

“While researching Hesketh-Pritchard (HCCC) a few years ago,  I came across Gerald du Maurier, Daphne’s father.  He was an actor/ stage manager and played for the Actors v Authors at Lord’s in 1906. The two sets of sides played against each other at Lord’s during much of the early 1900s. Gerald opened the batting, scoring 12 before being dismissed by H-P. Also in the Actors side was C Aubrey Smith. One of H-P’s team-mates was PG Wodehouse. You probably know that H-P was great friends with Conan Doyle, AA Milne and EW Hornung and they all played in this fixture at some stage. Could perhaps the character in the cricket extracts in Rebecca been based on Daphne’s father?”

I also referred to the heroine in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (pub 1817) where the heroine Catherine Morland, when a small child “greatly preferred cricket, not merely to dolls, but to the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird or watering a rose bush”.

Alan has since told me about Jane Austen’s nephews who were active cricketers. He mentions them in his published Hampshire Cricket Miscellany, and tells me that “one, George, was the prime reason why round-arm bowling was legalised. I think both played for Hampshire in the Dark Ages, post Hambledon and pre Antelope, but I’ll need to check that. The fact that they played cricket and, by adoption, were landed gentry, reinforces the embedding of the game in our culture in the Georgian era, let alone Victorian and Edwardian”.

Follow this Blog for long enough and you’ll know everything!! Cheers Alan


2 Comments so far
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Yes, indeed, George T Knight was a nephew of Jane Austin.
His father Edward Knight was Jane Austin’s brother and changed his name to Knight as a condition of inheriting a large estate in Kent – Godmersham Park (near us). Incidentally Godmersham Park features on our current (new) £10 note along with Jane.
George was a prominent member of the MCC and a great influence in support of round-arm bowling.
Coming to Dave’s other passion; does he know that Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh formed a group called Duckworth-Lewis and in 2009, just before the Ashes series, released a CD which included a song entitled Gentlemen and Players?

Comment by Stephen Saunders

Many thanks Stephen – I did indeed know about them. Very clever songwriters and it’s another topic which I haven’t developed in detail – but other nominations include Lord Beginner’s 1950 Test Match Calypso, the Kinks (Cricket from the LP Village Green Preservation Society), 10 CC’s I don’t like cricket and the very fine song by Roy Harper (about Snow & Boycott in part) When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease. Booker T & the MGs did not actually give their tune Soul Limbo a cricket title but the BBC linked it for ever. At Hambledon’s B&B, my ‘almost’ namesake (Rayven) came a few years ago with a choral group and sang some of the very old cricket songs.

Comment by pompeypop

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