Tag Archives: CB40

“Dick, you’re not on the bus tonight.”

The question Third Man asks you is; would Albert Hornby and Dick Barlow open for Lancs in each of their sides in Season2010? 

Looking through his tears, would Francis Thompson first need to know which form of the game his ghosts were playing?  LVCC, CB40 or FPt20?

Third Man has learnt that Hornby was strong on the front-foot and played the off-drive superbly.   He was more than useful in the field and an inspirational captain. 

There is no doubt that Hornby would have been on the team sheets for the four day LV County Championship, the CB40 format and the FPt20 competition. 

However Barlow was an innovator of the defensive spirit.  He developed the forward defensive and is described as ‘dour and resolute’.  He’s on the team sheet for the LVCC matches, there can be no doubt about that, but would the Director of Cricket need him for CB40 or FPt20?   

This season a number of Counties have invested heavily in buying players just for T20, gambling to win entry into the Champions League.

Hornby and Barlow would open in just three County Championship matches at Old Trafford in the whole of June and July this year.  Could Barlow be ‘loaned’ to another county for that time?

Overseas players come and go depending on their availability and here too decisions on replacements will be influenced by the types of cricket played in the periods under consideration.   

The ECB’s initiatives to link funding to the number of young players fielded is very welcome and overdue, but, even with home grown talent, are we heading for contracts for specific tournaments? 

If a youthful Barlow isn’t needed for Lancashire’s CB40 and T20 sides wouldn’t he want to seek a contract in Derbyshire’s CB40 season?  That would be attractive for him in terms of career development, attractive to Derbyshire to have his fighting spirit, attractive to Lancashire to have him off the payroll for those matches.

Captain of his Side, Albert, has a difficult conversation.  “Dick, you’re not on the bus tonight.”

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O My Hornby and my Barlow long ago

Francis Thompson (1859-1907) was born in Preston, half a dozen miles from where Third Man now lives.  You’ll probably know he wrote a famous cricket poem, ‘At Lord’s’.  You may not know that he studied medicine in Manchester, but never practised, instead moving to London to try to become a writer, became an opium addict and a vagrant before being saved by a prostitute.  His poem begins:

It is little I repair to the matches of the Southron folk,

Though my own red roses there may blow;

It is little I repair to the matches of the Southron folk,

Though the red roses crest the caps, I know.

For the field is full of shades as I near a shadowy coast,

And a ghostly batsman plays to the bowling of a ghost,

And I look through my tears on a soundless-clapping host

As the run stealers flicker to and fro,

To and fro:

O my Hornby and my Barlow long ago !

Partnerships are not just important for today’s score they are the way cricket is perceived and enjoyed through time.   Everyone has a pair of Hornby and Barlows.  They come when you begin watching County Cricket and, as Thompson warns us, they haunt us forever.

Third Man’s run stealers, flickering to and fro, were Roy Marshall and Jimmy Gray of the Hampshire team that won the County Championship for the first time in 1961.   

Who were yours?

Is this process of the etching of the imagination by watching cricket one of the most important part of our enjoyment?  Cricket is not something that inhabits only the ‘now’.  Memory turns the players of our earlier times into the ghosts of our present.  Memory permeates our appreciation of the game and enriches our lives.

When we watch one match do we watch again every match we have ever seen?  We immediately liken the new cap Flynn to old warhourse Fraser and are transported to the 1980s.  How we wonder would Richards have played this bowling?

Unless it is your very first match, there are more than 15 people on the field when we watch a game of cricket.  There are the ghosts.

O my Marshall and my Jimmy Gray long ago !

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