In the Nineteen Sixties, Leslie Frewin edited and contributed to three cricket anthologies, The Boundary Book, The Poetry of Cricket and Cricket Bag. They are treasure troves; ‘blogs’ of their day. Third Man is sure that Frewin would relish this medium.
The Cricket Bag concludes with one of his poems which Third Man hopes no one will mind him passing on.
The photograph above was unearthed from the countless images to be found on the web. It serves as a mark of respect to all who played in 2010 and as a memorial to the unknown village side, especially to those who may knowingly or unknowingly have played their last game – the bowled September men of the poem.
With the addition of a few imaginary numbers, this single still image captures as much as de Selincourt’s The Cricket Match and much more than anything broadcast by Sky.
It could have been taken almost anywhere and anywhen. Someone is rushing up from Third Man, so excited for his team that he cannot keep his cap on and just MUST scratch his head. “Well I never, well I never.”
The umpire at the batsman’s end is replacing the bails so we can conclude that the bowled September man has just left the scene … forever.
Now is September Passing Through
Now is September passing through,
The golden days are over, swift they came
With soft expectancy and magic new
Tempting our senses with ephemeral fame.
O, there has been much laughter, much that’s fine
Where flannelled fools have roved, and umpires called
Not Out! And now the darkness sets in other time
To hush the scene which once the wickets ruled.
The night has come, let’s close the echoing bar
Where evenings, after match, good fellowship was all,
But thoughts again will wander to a summer far
Ahead of winter, and to bat and ball.
Now is September passing through
The rusted gates of wind and storm and rain,
The cold is cold, and fires leap anew
Until the cricket season comes again
As come it will, when winter’s chafing hand
Conjures the dreamed-of scores that might-have-been,
When pads will re-emerge, and wickets proudly stand
Once more upon the village and the county green.
And who shall play again? Whose names be on the card,
In some new season, by pavilion door?
Who, too, shall toast with sadness and regard
The bowled September men who’ll play no more?
By Leslie Frewin