‘must be won if we are to win the series’
Hutton, quoted in Barbados Advocate.
‘When I came back in, they told me that I was included in the side.’ Miller, Charles Palmer, p.91. It may have been slightly more complicated than this. England named a twelve on the eve of the match which included Wardle. So the final decision was presumably left until the morning of the Test – Bannister for one thought Wardle would get the nod (Trinidad Guardian)
The English journalists were puzzled Bannister: ‘Through the necessity to strengthen the core of the batting and to reinforce the second line of attack, Palmer’s inclusion in the Test side had been probable rather than possible, and I could not understand why the four Selectors did not play him in the colony match which preceded the Test (Cricket Cauldron, p.62). On arrival in Barbados, Swanton thought it ‘might be possible to give one of the doubtful places on grounds of general utility to Palmer’ and was surprised to see him omitted from the tour match as he was ‘very short of first-class practice’ (West Indian Adventure, pp.63, 65). Palmer himself had been quoted in the Barbados Advocate (28 January, p.1) as saying that his selection for the colony game depended on the view of the four-man selection committee.
The ‘manager-player’ had gone nearly a month… Palmer had played in the two-day match in Antigua where MCC beat the Leewards by an innings, but bowled four overs and scored one run. His only first-class match of the tour so far had been the second colony game against Jamaica, when he had batted once for 33 and bowled only in the second innings when the game was meandering towards a draw.
Trueman claimed that the squad was ‘gobsmacked’ As It Was, p.162.
‘completely inconsistent’ … and a ‘rank injustice’ The Freddie Trueman Story, p.38.
Graveney found the decision ‘illogical’ Cricket Through the Covers, p.115.
‘simply not right’ … ‘lovely man’ Moss, interview with the author, 31 March 2015.
‘filling in’ rather than getting in ‘on merit’ Miller, Charles Palmer, p.93.
‘surely the selectors were at fault…’ Warner did at least wait until the series had ended to make this observation, but he had his pound of flesh in a little unsigned article on ‘Cricket Strategy’ (which I assume is by him as it bears all the hallmarks of his pursed commentaries on selection, drawing on inside knowledge while affecting not to). Warner had a point, indeed he made three points (Cricketer, 1 May 1954, p.103):
- Palmer was an ‘admirable cricketer’ but was not intended to be a ‘playing member’ of the party, except for minor games or ‘in an emergency’ (this may have been news to Palmer himself);
- Suttle’s brilliant fielding had ‘won the admiration of all’: ‘That was why, we imagine [the ‘we imagine’ a classic Warner touch] he was chosen for this tour, but he never played a single Test match’;
- Suttle had scored two half-centuries in Barbados – ‘Palmer did not play on this occasion’ – and a ‘perusal of the score’ in the second Test, where so many batsmen failed, ‘will show that [Suttle] might have been just the man we wanted’.
However reasonable these arguments were, one gets the impression that Warner was irritated by the way Hutton seemed to take no notice of his cricketing opinions. On the same page, The Cricketer reprinted an article on MCC’s new measures against slow play which, as we shall see in Chapter 17, constituted an implicit critique of their captain in the West Indies. In his review of the series for the News Chronicle (5 April 1954), Bray thought Suttle was ‘a cheerful and welcome tourist but his form never reached England standard’.
Atkinson, who had starred in the colony game… There may be a trace of an anti-Goddard, and/or pro-Sobers, agenda in Walcott’s observation that Atkinson could not have picked a better occasion to score his maiden first-class century: ‘His innings of 151, among other things, brought him a Test place’ (Island Cricketers, p.87 – my italics). But it was hard to argue there were any black or brown all-rounders in better form than Atkinson, who already had some Test experience.
Kentish, considered a ‘certainty’ for selection by the Jamaican press… Roberts, in The Gleaner, 22 January 1954, p.10. Crawford White (News Chronicle, 9 February 1954) found it ‘the biggest surprise of all’ that King replaced Kentish, given that the former ‘was not considered good enough to play for Barbados’ (although King’s omission may have had something to do with local cricket politics as well as his recent injury). Looking back on the series in 1957, Christopher Nicole thought Kentish’s de-selection ‘rather hard lines on the fast bowler after his splendid work’ (West Indian Cricket, p.190).
Stollmeyer later expressed regret Everything Under the Sun, p.146: ‘It has always been a source of regret to me that he never played again for the West Indies. In the remaining matches of the series, speed was preferred to accuracy and I am not so sure that as selectors we were correct in that decision.’
even if a rumour later circulated in Jamaica… See a letter from Errol W.A. Townshend, published in The Gleaner, 17 June 2011: ‘He was invited for the second Test in Barbados, but the story goes that, as most Jamaicans would, he protested a discriminatory social invitation issued by Barbadians to only the white players on the team. That was the end of him.’
‘mighty fine toss to win’ Swanton, West Indian Adventure, p.67.
a capacity crowd of 10,000 This is the figure widely reported, although Swanton thought there were ‘12,000 spectators in their gay frocks and shirts’ (Adventure, p.73). O.S. Coppin recorded 9,700 paying spectators up to tea and thought it was ‘safe to say’ that there was a capacity crowd of 10,000 (Barbados Advocate, p.1).
after a sharp shower delayed the start The official scorebook records a delay of 13 minutes; most press reports measured it at one or two minutes longer.
eight close catchers in a thick crescent Swanton uses the term ‘crescent’ (Adventure, p.73), although a more usual period term for the umbrella Hutton employed would be a ‘Carmody field’.
not universally popular on the island of his birth The Guyanese Argosy did record that Worrell received a ‘big ovation’ as he walked briskly to the wicket. But on the next MCC tour Alan Ross noted in Barbados that Worrell ‘appeared somewhat apprehensive of his reception here’ (p.41).
When Holt sparred once too often outside off stump Bannister described ‘a wretched and lazy’ stroke on a rare occasion Bailey had offered Holt width: ‘Graveney took the slip catch with an easy assurance’ (Trinidad Guardian, p.2)
on a pitch Wardle thought ‘looked good for 1,000 runs’ Happy Go Johnny, p.130.
he was going to give the bowlers ‘some stick’ with it Walcott, Sixty Years on the Back Foot, p.56: ‘I felt in good form. The bat that I had used for the duck was replaced by a new one and I told Lock when we were both in the middle: “I am going to give you some stick”’. Walcott had told the same kind of story in his first autobiography, Island Cricketers, although in that version he made the ‘some stick’ remark ‘as MCC players had walked onto the field’ (p.88).
‘Walcott came in and made several light-hearted strokes…’ Swanton, West Indian Adventure, p.53.
which had some English correspondents complaining… ‘One wondered that Lock should be bowling at him without a short fine-leg’ (Swanton, Adventure, p.71).
‘One of Trevor’s overs…’ Evans, The Gloves are Off, pp.135-36.
Other witnesses corroborate the superb fielding… Wardle, Happy Go Johnny, p.130: ‘There was one maiden over by Trevor Bailey containing six ferocious drives, three of which were stopped in the covers and three by Trevor himself.’
‘cost 24 runs’ Bailey, Wickets, Catches and the Odd Run, p.189
cause to remember Walcott’s ‘thunderous’ driving In a Cricinfo interview with Ijaz Chaudhry (10 January 2011), Bailey recalled his fingers had always been ‘too small and delicate’, and that he suffered a number of finger injuries during his career. But the one he received in the Barbados Test was the worst: ‘While trying to stop a thunderous drive by Clyde Walcott off my own bowling, my right hand’s ring finger was chipped. I continued bowling but the finger is out of shape even today.’ Bailey had broken the same finger against the Australians in 1948 but the injury was more painful and serious this time because Walcott’s drive trapped his finger against his boot.
‘were extremely sore from the battering they received…’ Peter May’s Cricket Book, pp.63-64.
‘always hard enough to make our hands tingle’ Statham, Cricket Merry-Go-Round, p.92.
‘no place for the faint-hearted’ … ‘extra nerve with Clyde’ Hutton, Fifty Years in Cricket, p.108.
chasing ‘around the field trying to cut off some of his flashing strokes’ Watson, Double International, p.59.
‘Oh boy, you really didn’t want to field the ball’ Miller, Charles Palmer, p.92.
Ross Hall, never a fan of the manager, attributed five boundaries… Daily Mirror, 8 February 1954, p.13: ‘Instead of Wardle we have got Charlie Palmer. And manager Palmer is going to have to score a lot of runs to justify getting his first Test. At least five boundaries should have been averted by him.’ In his second-day report, Hall again noted that Palmer’s fielding was ‘below Test standard’ and repeated that he would have to bat ‘mightily well’ to vindicate his selection (9 February, p.14).
Moss retains the image of Palmer diving as if in slow motion… Moss, interview with the author, 31 March 2015.
Pairaudeau was … getting into his own considerable stride Thomson thought ‘Pairaudeau after a slow start scored at a fine pace with glorious drives and cuts’ (Cricketer Spring Annual, p.12); White that he ‘blossomed into fine, free strokes’ (News Chronicle). Hall thought he ‘hit beautifully on the off side’ (Mirror, p.13), Ditton noted some ‘well-timed square and cover drives’ (Sunday Gleaner, p.2); Bannister ‘many agreeable strokes in the arc from square-cover to mid-off’ (Cauldron, p.73).
Laker’s accuracy The Argosy described Laker as ‘steady’ and he conceded runs at a touch more than two per over. On the other hand, Hall thought he ‘bowled down to his present form’ (Mirror, p.13) and Bannister was puzzled he never went over the wicket given the absence of turn (Trinidad Guardian, p.2).
Lock … kept shifting from over to round the wicket (ten times in four overs) According to Hayter in the Sunday Times. Bannister thought there were ‘half a dozen’ such switches.
English correspondents were puzzled… Bannister noted that Hutton, ‘having agreed to Palmer’s inclusion’, ignored him as a bowler all day ‘for some unaccountable reason’ (Cauldron, 63). Bailey was the bowler who initially relieved Lock but Compton, given an exploratory over before lunch, bowled a spell of 4-0-16-0 before tea.
more than a run a minute ‘without risk or palaver’ Swanton, West Indian Adventure, p.72.
Walcott did offer two chances late in the session… According to the scorebook, they were offered when Walcott was on 76 and 90. Hayter felt the first chance, given when Walcott edged Statham, was difficult: ‘Graveney, at first slip, dived to his left, and got a hand to a hard, low ball but could not hold it’. He also thought Lock made a ‘good attempt’ at his catch: ‘The Surrey spinner hurt his hand slightly in trying to hold a fierce drive off his own bowling’ (Times). But Bannister thought Lock’s chance ‘was nowhere near as hard as it looked from the ringside’ (Cauldron, p.73)
just when Ditton thought ‘the pair would go on for ever’ Sunday Gleaner, 7 February, p.2. Ditton was also the correspondent who described the boundary off Laker which took Walcott to his century as ‘effortless’.
Hutton kept his pacemen on for almost the whole of the last hour Lock bowled one over before the close. It is typical of Bailey that he bowled uncomplainingly, despite the fact he must have been in considerable pain.
In Bailey’s case, this involved a visit to hospital for an X-ray… The English pressmen gave various descriptions of what Rostron called his ‘protective cast’ (Express, p.8).
Saturday was the traditional ‘club night’… This seems to have been a long-standing tradition of MCC tours, certainly after the war and probably before that. What goes on tour stays on tour, but Bannister gives some flavour of a typical ‘club night’ (Cauldron, p.69): The first toast is ‘wives and sweethearts’ and the second ‘absent friends’. Cricket is forgotten temporarily while the players enjoy themselves and, among other things, fine each other for alleged offences during the preceding week, such as not drinking with the left hand on a Saturday or not wearing an MCC touring tie to breakfast on Monday. Altogether the outcome is the promotion of team spirit.
to report a ‘serious complaint’ made against them Trueman, As It Was, p.164.
Swanton was called on to provide ‘moral support’… ‘I arrived on the Marine balcony…’ Sort of a Cricket Person, p.181.
‘complaints like this horrified him…’ Arlott, Fred, p.79.
An incident in a lift, admittedly with Pelham Warner… See David Foot, Cricket’s Unholy Trinity, pp.3-15. My reference to this incident may be rather gratuitous, not least because Parker was occasionally called into England squads after it. But I think it is fair to say it had acquired legendary status on the county circuit.
Hutton: I thought you took that pretty well… I have taken the wording from Arlott, Fred, p.79. There are very similar versions in Swanton, Sort of a Cricket Person, p.181; Hutton, Fifty Years, p.96; Trueman, As It Was, p.164.
Lock ‘strenuously’ denied the charges For Surrey and England, p.63. He says Trueman was as strenuous but ‘in the end we decided that an apology would best be made – and we made it’: Fred ‘bore it very well’.
‘at a reasonable hour’ … ‘it later transpired…’ As It Was, p.164.
the high spirits of Mann’s tour to South Africa The incident with the hotel porter involved only the amateurs (Miller, Charles Palmer, p.50) but the tour was certainly enjoyed by both Evans and Compton, who met his second wife Valerie when she was assigned to him as a driver.
Moss stresses … Interview with the author, 31 March 2015.
the ‘robustness of phrase’ which Swanton deduced… Sort of a Cricket Person, p.181.
Moss ‘if he was there, Denis was more likely…’ Interview with the author, 31 March 2015.
having to ‘carry the can’ for their seniors Lock, For Surrey and England, p.63.
for the Daily Express to demand that Edrich be flown out… On 8 February, Desmond Hackett, an Express sports columnist, waxed lyrical about what he portrayed as a consensus among ‘cricket-loving citizens’ about who should be flown out as an emergency replacement to give some sinew to the team ‘as England stumble lamely through the Tests’: ‘In the steaming tubes, in those incomparably friendly English pubs, and even on the cheerless pieces of land where Soccer is attempted the topic that soars is Edrich… Edrich… Edrich’ (there is for some reason a little dig at Bedser, ‘who has tucked away his £12,000 benefit’). Hackett happened to have spoken to Edrich the day before. Edrich made it clear he would answer the call immediately if it was made, even if he was reported to have ‘diplomatically juggled’ the question. Perhaps he also diplomatically planted the article. To the left of the very same page (p.8), Rostron had filed a short rest-day column: ‘BRIDGETOWN Sunday – The MCC boys were in such uproarious good heart at Freddie Trueman’s 23rd birthday party last night that elderly residents were moved to complain about the noise’.
Statham, characteristically dogged, or Lock, still uncharacteristically muted Swanton described Statham as ‘pertinacious’ (Adventure, p.74); Bannister described Lock as ‘well below form’ (Trinidad Guardian, p.1).
‘the principle of the inner and outer ring has gone completely by the board’ Swanton, Adventure, p.74. In his review of the game for the Trinidad Guardian (16 February 1954), Dick Murray also tut-tutted that ‘Hutton never figured on using an inner or outer ring’.
‘I estimate that the delay in bringing Laker into operation…’ White, News Chronicle, p.8. White was always prone to exaggeration – West Indies scored only 29 runs off 12 overs in the truncated first session – but perhaps he was registering another complaint about the previous day, when Laker bowled 18 overs to Lock’s 24 and was given only four overs after tea.
the kind of long spell he always preferred Laker makes this point specifically in Spinning Round the World in his general appraisal of Hutton: ‘Len always gave me the impression that he regarded spinners as a last resort. Whenever I played under his captaincy, I felt I had to get a wicket quickly, otherwise I would soon be off. Short spells are all very well for the quickies, but not much use to the spinners, who should always be prepared to bide their time, provided that the skipper is understanding’ (p.46).
England reverted to feeding Walcott singles… Walcott, Sixty Years on the Back Foot, p.56: ‘Hutton tried to slow me down, setting deep-set fields to restrict me to singles. I enjoyed the battle…’ Swanton reports that the crowd also enjoyed ‘the perennial comedy of the fielding side manoeuvring to give the lesser batsman the strike’ (West Indian Adventure, p.75). Hutton did alter this policy as Walcott neared his double century, bringing in the field in a vain attempt to exert some pressure.
and Lock let slip another return catch Swanton judged it ‘the easiest of caught-and bowleds’ (Adventure, p.75) and Bannister agreed it was a ‘simple return’ (Trinidad Guardian, p.1; see also Argosy, p.6).
He remembered executing an even better yorker… Statham, Flying Bails, p.89. This would have been in an earlier passage of play because, after Ramadhin’s dismissal, Walcott got himself out to Laker before he could face Statham. Compare Trevor Bailey’s Cricket Book, p.27.
with what Swanton called ‘lordly ease’ West Indian Adventure, p.75.
Hutton patted him on the back… Bannister noted Hutton gave Walcott ‘a congratulatory pat on the back as he left the crease’ (Trinidad Guardian, p.2)
‘comfortably the best innings ever played against me’ Statham, Flying Bails, p.88. Previously, in Cricket Merry-Go-Round, he had called it ‘one of the finest attacking innings I have seen’ (p.92). At the point Walcott was 147* overnight, Hayter’s Day 1 report in The Times already rated it ‘one of the best post-war Test innings’.
among his finest, ‘quite apart from its size’ Walcott, Island Cricketers, p.88.
May…remained rooted to the crease White of the Chronicle described May’s back foot as ‘padlocked’.
Compton seemed glad merely to exist… It was Hall in the Mirror who used this wording.
‘at once the grimmest, the tensest and the slowest imaginable’ Swanton, West Indian Adventure, p.79.
Hutton offered his bat … reportedly more in irritation than supplication Rostron: ‘Hutton, with a flash of unusual irritation, … stepped away from the wicket and offered his bat, handle first, to the barrackers in the crowd with the old “See if you can do better” gesture’ (Express, p.8).
Graveney ‘began… ’ … ‘one or two strokes…’ Ditton, Gleaner, p.10
Ram was bowling when I came in… Graveney, quoted in Miller, Charles Palmer, p.92. Compare Cricket Through the Covers, p.115 and his interview in Len Hutton Remembered, pp.106-7. However, Graveney did once observe: ‘It always worried me if I started too well, but sometimes you just start middling it and it flows.’ Perhaps, as he got a shooter and then gave a chance on 1 shortly after his two drives, he became anxious about the situation himself.
Hutton moved away from the stumps and refused to continue… While Hutton was clearly annoyed, it was by no means unprecedented for batsmen to decline to take strike for a prolonged period if they felt barracking was distracting them. Eric Rowan, hooted for a ‘lack of initiative’ in the Lancashire v South Africa game at Old Trafford in 1951, reportedly ‘sat down on the pitch and refused to face the bowling until spectators had quietened down’ (Ferguson, Mr Cricket, p.144). Ken Farnes remembered Bradman sitting down at Trent Bridge in 1938 when he was barracked for slow play (Tours and Tests, p.169).
‘humorously slow-clapped by the irrepressible Barbadian schoolboys’ Swanton, West Indies Revisited, p.24. In 1954, Bannister was more irritated by their behaviour: ‘Most of the hubbub came from the stand set aside for schoolboys who eventually became quite a nuisance. On subsequent days, when the play was much brighter, these boys still protested. Not only for the sake of batsmen trying to concentrate but in the interest of spectators trying to follow the game in peace they should have been checked’ (Cricket Cauldron, p.61).
‘Hutton can’t bat’ and ‘We want our money back’ Reported by Bannister (Cauldron, p.61), Swanton (Adventure, p.80)
the Barbados Cricket Association had increased their usual admission charge… There are some conflicting details in Barbados Advocate columns outlining arrangements for the Test, one of which suggested that the schoolboys admission fee would be increased by as much as ‘250%’.
according to the News Chronicle’s statistician Roy Webber, broke several Test records… Webber noted: (i) it was the first time ever less than 50 runs had been scored in a full morning session of a Test match (ii) England’s total of 77 was the lowest ever at the point a second new ball was taken in a Test match and (iii) the lowest score for a full day’s play in Test cricket (beating England’s 142 the previous year). The third record was superseded on 11 October 1956 when Australia and Pakistan scored 95 runs between them in a whole day’s play at Karachi (12 wickets fell). England had often scored very slowly against Ramadhin and Valentine in 1950 – Bill Ferguson noted that, according to his scorebook, on the final day’s play at Lord’s ‘the first 132 deliveries from the bowlers yielded just 9 runs’ (Mr Cricket, p.105). Swanton also remembered a ‘sad afternoon’ in Sydney in 1946/47 when England toiled against McCool and Johnson.
‘sheer disbelief and despair…’ Graveney, Cricket Through the Covers, p.115.
‘looking like a man betrayed’ Graveney, Cricket Through the Covers, p.116. Hall confirms ‘Hutton’s head drooped and he sank to the ground as Graveney walked away’ (Mirror, p.14).
‘wild’ Ditton, Gleaner, p.10: ‘Hutton suddenly went wild’.
‘beserk’ Bray, Port of Spain Gazette, p.1: ‘He suddenly went beserk’. This word is also used by White (News Chronicle) and Graveney (Covers, p.116).
‘crazy’ Hall, Daily Mirror, p.14: ‘It was crazy. It lasted for only three minutes.’ Statham: ‘Even Hutton, of all people, switched from defence to suicidal attack’ (Cricket Merry-Go-Round, p.93).
Perhaps the barracking of the schoolboys did get under Hutton’s skin… This was Bray’s opinion (Port of Spain Gazette, p.1) and other English pressmen tended to agree. Ditton (Gleaner, p.10) thought Hutton had ‘obviously…not relished’ the catcalls and White (News Chronicle) thought they may have ‘touched off’ Hutton’s assault on Valentine, ‘although I have seen him endure far greater and more angry demonstrations’ (perhaps an allusion to the Sydney Hill).
Palmer freely admitted he could not read Ramadhin from the hand Miller, Charles Palmer, p.92: ‘He was a mystery man. I found him extremely difficult.’
once ‘diddled’ the manager in a county game at Harrogate Wardle, Happy Go Johnny, p.94: ‘At Harrogate I clean-bowled George Watson with a chinaman, and Charles Palmer, the batsman at the other end, stretched out his hand towards the umpire to indicate the enormous distance it had turned. He solemnly walked out to meet the incoming batsman, and I could tell by his gestures that he was warning the newcomer to watch out for the chinaman, When Charles faced me the next over, I bowled him a googly, pitching on a length about the leg and middle. He watched it, as he imagined, pass harmlessly down the leg-side, but it turned just sufficiently to hit the off and middle.’ While Wardle implies that Palmer may have learnt from this experience, it seems to have been remembered in the Yorkshire dressing-room: Trueman mentions it in his first autobiography (Fast Fury, p.94).
Palmer …followed a big leg-spinner from Ramadhin Ditton uses the word ‘followed’ (Gleaner, p.10), but in fairness to Palmer most correspondents agree he got a ‘really good ball’ (Bray, Port of Spain Gazette, p.1), Indeed, whereas others that day threw their wickets away to bad shots, Bannister thought Palmer was the only English batsman to be ‘genuinely beaten’ by good bowling during the first innings debacle (Trinidad Guardian, p.1; compare Cauldron, p.63). Thomson also praised Palmer for providing the ‘sole exception’ to England’s ‘ultra-defensive policy’ (Cricketer Spring Annual 1954, p.12).
Evans…then played as bad a cross-batted mow Dick Murray (Trinidad Guardian, p.12) thought the wicketkeeper got himself out ‘attempting an atrocious stroke’.
‘I scored more quickly than any of my colleagues.’ Bailey, Wickets, Catches and the Odd Run, p.189.
the reaction in Barbados was ‘one of complete bewilderment’ Swanton, Adventure, p.83.
England’s ‘humiliation’ The following quotations are also taken from reports filed on 10 February 1954: Rostron (Daily Express, p.8): ‘Today was zero mark for England’s cricket stock abroad’. Hall (Daily Mirror, p.14): ‘This pathetic day for England…’. Ditton (Gleaner, p.1): ‘It was a shocking exhibition – if one may even use the word…’ Bannister (Trinidad Guardian, p.1): ‘What sort of batting is this? … we shall soon become the laughing stock of a cricket world who still remember a bat is an offensive weapon’.
a shrill piece for the Mirror on the ‘real story’ behind the debacle ‘These men have let him down…’, 11 February, p.15. All the quotations in the next two paragraphs are from this article.
wild rumours about ‘drunkards and playboys’ These comments were reprinted in the Barbados Advocate summary of English press comment, 13 February 1954.
Some players consoled themselves that they had reached ‘rock bottom’… Compton, End of an Innings, p.122; Wardle, Happy Go Johnny, p.131.
the decision had fewer critics this time Indeed, Thomson, Stollmeyer’s friend and clubmate, asserted that there was ‘no criticism’ (Cricketer, Spring Annual, p.13). Writing from Jamaica, Strebor Roberts accepted that, ‘far removed from the scene of the match’, he could not make a judgement based on personal observation. He felt the Test was probably ‘in the bag’ but seemed to lean slightly towards Stollmeyer enforcing in order to press home ‘the psychological advantage’ (Gleaner, 10 February 1954, p.10)
with what Swanton described as ‘the minimum trouble’ West Indian Adventure, p.83.
‘only just missed entering the car park…’ Ditton, Gleaner, p.10.
as well as the placement at short third man of the handicapped Bailey Ditton, Gleaner, p.10: How Bailey, with a fractured finger on his right hand could have been expected to cut off some of those shots, even if he had been able to reach them, is difficult to see. Holt rarely if ever, drives past mid-on and yet there was the fit and capable Watson standing more or less as a passenger.
There is nothing of the patient philosophy about him… Swanton, West Indian Adventure, p.84.
Almost immediately, and he confessed quite accidentally… Miller, Charles Palmer, p.93. Palmer did have spin in his repertoire but he seems to have been purveying his off-cutters in the West Indies, which may have been one reason Evans was surprised by this ball: ‘He suddenly varied his medium-pace with a slow leg-spinner…’ (Swanton, Adventure, p.85).
‘staid and elderly’ Bannister, Trinidad Guardian, 10 February 1954, p.2: this comment was reprinted in a Barbados Advocate round-up of British press comment two days later (p.10).
seven missed chances Hall was counting chances in both innings of the Test. Swanton had counted three on the first day: ‘one half-chance, one difficult one, one comparatively easy by Pairaudeau’ and thought Walcott was ‘well down the wicket’ for the stumping chance in the second innings: ‘Evans, astonishingly to say, missed the ball altogether and it went for three byes’ (Adventure, p.69, 85). Rostron thought Evans had fluffed a ‘comparatively easy’ stumping (Express, p.8); White, with characteristic hyperbole, that it was ‘the easiest stumping of his career’ (Chronicle).
‘England did not want to get Walcott in’ Ditton, Gleaner, p.10.
‘one of the best Test hundreds I have seen’ … ‘reduced’ Thomson, Cricketer Spring Annual, p.13. Tony Cozier’s assertion that Holt’s innings was ‘considered by all who were there as some of the best batting ever seen at Kensington’ (Fifty Years, p.32) is supported by other testimony. Walcott judged it ‘one of the best knocks I have ever seen’ (Island Cricketers, p.88). Stollmeyer called it ‘a truly glorious century … ranking with the classiest I have seen’ (Under the Sun, p.146). The Gleaner reports that a fund-raising committee was set up for Holt in Jamaica and that ‘his co-workers on the staff of the Freight Department’ sent him a congratulations telegram (11 February, p.10).
what the locals called a ‘minesweeper’ For example, Constantine, Cricket in the Sun, p.78. Dick Murray was also puzzled why Hutton ‘never employed either off or leg theories to check the rapid flow of runs’ (Trinidad Guardian, p.12).
‘Boundaries flowed like the spirit out of England…’ Hall, Daily Mirror, 11 February 1954, p.15. Bray, in his report for the Port of Spain Gazette, agreed: ‘It was a very tired and despondent England team which left the field’ (10 February 1954, p.1).
a ‘whiff of rebellion’ Trueman, As It Was, p.160.
‘cut out the gay stuff’ … ‘ridiculous’ Statham, Flying Bails, p.89.
‘It was time we did something…’ Compton, End of an Innings, p.122. Evans says ‘some of us, Denis and Trevor and myself among them’ convened with Hutton and Palmer ‘before we started our second innings’ to tell them: ‘We can’t go on like this. Shutting up shop and getting only a few runs, and boring everyone. Apart from anything else, it’s lousy cricket’. Evans remembered that, having been given this message ‘fairly clearly’, ‘Len agreed, but with reservations, I think’ (Gloves are Off, p.136).
Bailey placed more emphasis on a dinner… Jack Bailey describes this at some length in his biography of his unrelated namesake: ‘Bailey was…a foremost mover in organizing a dinner party soon after the defeat in the second Test that had left England two down with three to play. It had become all too apparent that some of the older players thought Hutton’s approach too defensive, and that he in turn thought that they were not giving 100 per cent’ (p.83).
‘never a man voluntarily to share his troubles’ Arlott, Fred, p. 79.
‘very clever at putting things right without appearing to do anything’ Evans, in Len Hutton Remembered, p.72. Graveney, often a critic of Hutton, accepted ‘he was big enough to change his attitude if it was shown to be wrong’ (Heart of Cricket, p.137).
what the tourists called their ‘Black Tuesday’ White used this expression in a News Chronicle opinion piece (11 February 1954), and it was picked up by Graveney, Heart of Cricket, p.81. See also Bannister, Cricket Cauldron, p.60.
‘If you want to crack these chaps get to it and hit ’em hard.’ As reported by White in the News Chronicle. According to Bannister, May’s innings ‘flowered and developed from the moment Hutton had a mid-wicket conference with him after he played in his first over a wild flatfooted swish at a ball well wide of the off stump’ (Trinidad Guardian, p.2).
‘Englishmen can still play cricket strokes’ Bray put it this way in his Daily Herald report; in his filing for the Port of Spain Gazette, May was said to have ‘produced some glorious strokes that made observers no longer ashamed of the English batting’.
‘determined not to be dominated by Ramadhin and Valentine…’ May, A Game Enjoyed, p.55.
‘a man transformed from the scowling, dour figure…’ Rostron, Daily Express, 12 February 1954, p.8. Bannister agreed Hutton looked ‘far different from the care-worn figure who toiled and prodded in the first innings’ (Trinidad Guardian, p.1)
‘a long deep draught of fresh air’ Swanton, West Indian Adventure, p.88.
a ‘first draught of champagne’ Rostron, Daily Express, p.8. Bannister thought May’s innings was ‘just the tonic he and the England team needed’ (Trinidad Guardian, p.1).
as though he were getting something poisonous out of his system I have borrowed this phrase from Swanton, Adventure, p.88.
a ‘former Test idol, struggling desperately…’ Rostron, Daily Express, p.8.
Compton’s nerves were evident in running… In fairness, some of the issues between the wickets may have been caused by Compton being eager to get his captain to fifty.
induced Hutton to sweep, not a stroke in the Pudsey repertoire May certainly thought so when reporting the dismissal: ‘Len was caught at square leg off Ramadhin from a stroke not normally in his repertoire, the sweep’ (A Game Enjoyed, p.55). And the bowler himself recalled it in a way which suggests the shot selection came as a surprise: ‘I think I only got him out one or twice. I remember he went sweeping me once, he got a top edge and Frank Worrell took the catch’ (Len Hutton Remembered, p.200). But although, to adapt Wilfred Rhodes on the cut, many in Yorkshire thought the sweep was ‘nivver a business stroke’, one can think of some good Yorkshire sweepers – Close and even Boycott – and from newspaper reports and cine film I’ve formed the impression that Hutton did sweep on occasion in 1953/54.
…an injury that turned out to be more serious See Chapter 13.
Compton still bet Charles Bray ten dollars… Indeed, this became the headline to his report for the Port of Spain Gazette, 12 February, p.1
‘very ordinary indeed’ White, News Chronicle. The only other alarm in the truncated first session was a sharp shoelace chance offered to Walcott at first slip by Compton off Atkinson.
‘Frankly to all of us on the players’ stand…’ Statham, Cricket Merry-Go-Round, p.93.
‘not sure that the bowler appealed’ May, A Game Enjoyed, p.56.
‘made a noise in his throat’ Graveney, Cricket through the Covers, p.116.
‘a particularly good position’ … ‘could never possibly…’ … ‘…considerable embarrassment…’ Graveney, Cricket through the Covers, p.116-17
‘normally the most expressionless of characters…’ … ‘not satisfied’ Ditton, Gleaner, 13 February 1954, p.2.
‘Never mind, you were illiterate anyway and deserved to be out.’ Stollmeyer, Everything Under the Sun, p.147.
Palmer was first… White thought the ‘dapper’ Palmer had ‘tried to drive Atkinson without getting to the pitch of the ball’ (News Chronicle, 13 February 1954).
Next was Bailey, England’s defensive (if now disabled) pillar Swanton welcomed him to the crease as ‘such a rock on these occasions’, broken finger notwithstanding. Bailey hit Stollmeyer for four but then steered a full-bunger ‘mildly’ straight to the substitute fielder, Conrad Hunte – ‘a shock as well as a disappointment’, Swanton had to confess (West Indian Adventure, p.93). looked on ‘in horror’ while Hall thought Bailey ‘played a most unusual shot for him in a crisis’ (Mirror, 13 February, p.15). Bailey told Bannister that it was the worst shot he had played for three years (Cauldron, p.).
Evans, who tried to apply himself for the first time in the series… Swanton again (p.93): ‘Evans, who is far removed from his gay exuberant self, tried hard for a while to play himself back to some sort of form. He stayed with Graveney for a full half-hour, during most of which time Ramadhin and Valentine were again in operation. Eventually he played back to a slow, flighted ball right up to him and was bowled.’
But his last three partners… Laker was out leg-before to Ramadhin ‘in a trice’, offering no stoke (Rostron, Express, p.8); when King took the new ball, Lock was yorked, beaten for ‘sheer pace’; Gomez finished off the game by getting one of his ‘well known inswingers’ through Statham (Coppin, Barbados Advocate, p.10).
‘undisguised glee’ … ‘horrified talk’ White, News Chronicle, p.8
‘Of course, it put the whites right on the back foot…’ Miller, Charles Palmer, p.93.
‘I do not mind England losing. It is the method of losing that angers us…’ Reported by Hall, Daily Mirror, 11 February 1954, p.15.
‘after a while it ate into our souls’ Miller, Charles Palmer, p.85. There is an uncanny echo of Constantine’s remark in Cricket and the Sun, discussed in Chapter 20, that colour prejudice ‘rots the heart out of our cricket’. Even Evans, who often comes across as the tourist most sympathetic to the local whites, observed: ‘At times we were used…People seemed to think we were representatives of “the system”. We weren’t’ (quoted in Sandford 1990, p.113).
‘we were all glad to get into the aeroplane which took us to British Guiana’ Statham, Cricket-Merry-Go-Round, p.94.
‘It’s like when your son beats you at squash for the first time…’ This remark was recorded by the American sociologist Oscar Wilson, who found himself sitting next to the businessman. Because Wilson’s academic specialism was colonial history, it was understandable he found this analogy ‘patronizing’, given the long British tradition of seeing themselves as benevolent imperial masters overseeing immature schoolboys. But it could also be read as a rather British and rather equable way of coming to terms with the eclipse of their powers, whether cricketing or political.
still unreconciled… Leigh Fermor remembered a white resident being ‘taken aback’ when he asked where was the best place to meet a ‘coloured Barbadian’: ‘But we don’t meet – except on official and business occasions. They don’t like it either. You say you didn’t feel you were welcome in one of their bars. There you are. We each keep to ourselves. It’s much better that way all round. Some of them are first-class chaps, of course, I’m not saying they aren’t…’ Goddard’s [restaurant], he continued, was the only place frequented at a pinch by blacks and whites. It was in the middle of the business centre and came in very handy. There was nowhere else. The club system runs all through Barbadian life and the cold shoulder and the open snub are resorted to only when no legal quibble is available. It segregates the two races of islanders just as effectively as the most stringent colour discrimination in the United States, and not half so honestly…It must be one of the most disgustingly hypocritical systems in the world. (Traveller’s Tree, pp.152-53).
‘We were written off by the popular press …’ Bailey, Wickets, Catches and the Odd Run, p.189-90. [His sentence has a rather convoluted syntax so I have dropped one ‘also’ without an ellipsis.] Graveney took a similar view: ‘What I found disappointing on that tour was that a number of the upper level of the press were very ‘anti’ before the tour ever started, because Len was the first professional captain. They were looking to pick holes in him for everything he did … I felt he handled it pretty well really’ (Len Hutton Remembered, p.107).
‘inimitable’ spin twins … ‘welding all this talent…’ … ‘exaggeratedly defensive…’ Swanton, Adventure, p.96. Bray drew the same conclusion: West Indies was a ‘must superior side in every way’ at present, mainly because it was a ‘side of allrounders’. Whereas England had Bailey ‘and possibly Palmer but Hutton would not bowl him’ (Port of Spain Gazette, 13 February, p.1). Hayter concurred in The Times that West Indies were ‘a thoroughly good all-round side’.
‘dictated the tempo’ O.S. Coppin, Barbados Advocate, 13 February 1954, p.1
Brogan was a provocative and paradoxical figure… This extended to his attitude to sport, which he often saw as an uncomplicated expression of national pride whereas, in his 1948 book Our New Masters, he criticised the way the Dynamo Moscow football team was being used for propaganda purposes.
‘perhaps a better diplomat…’ … ‘ Jardine would have …’ … ‘That and no less…’ Brogan, letter to Telegraph, 13 February 1954, p.4, printed under the title ‘Just Not Good Enough: Test Team Beaten From the Start’. The letter is also reprinted in Swanton’s West Indian Adventure, pp. 99-100. Rostron, in a piece he claimed to be writing more in sorrow than in anger, concluded during the Barbados Test that ‘we need another Douglas Jardine with his stern personality and imaginative sense of manouevre’ – he remained a great admirer of Hutton as a man and as a batsman but ‘I cannot admire his captaincy for most of this tour’ A brief summary of the debate sparked off in the correspondence pages of The Daily Telegraph by Brogan’s letter: 16 February The first published responses to Brogan’s letter found it ‘unkind and disloyal’, ‘unjustly harsh’ and not only ‘unfair’ to Hutton but ‘ungenerous to our opponents’. J.D.W. Kenny (London S.W.3) doubted that Jardine ‘or anyone else for that matter’ would have done a Sherman, noted the great responsibility Hutton had long borne as ‘the rock on which any large English innings is usually built’ and felt the captain had proved his worth by leading England to victory over both India and Australia. Donald Saunby (Grimsby) felt ‘anyone who has played cricket knows that good players can have bad patches’. It was ‘faint-hearted indeed’ to assume the final three tests would go the way of the first two. And, even if they did, West Indies ‘are now in the very front rank of international cricket teams and it is not good enough for the MCC to send out anything less than our best team’ – Hutton had been dispatched with no other openers, nor Bedser, without whom an England team was not ‘complete’. W.A.G. Kemp (Northwood, Middlesex) reminded Brogan that the second Test was not far off being saved: ‘In that case we should now be singing the praises of English cricket’. It was ‘monstrous’ to accuse the team of spinelessness, especially as ‘they are a long way away and cannot answer back’. The team, selected in good faith, should be supported loyally ‘through good or ill’. 17 February Thomas Wilson (Stanmore) argued that Brogan had overlooked ‘some significant facts’ in making Hutton scapegoat, not least the heavy defeat in 1950 at home when Bedser was available. The unreliability of England’s batting – ‘Hutton’s excepted’ – was notorious: ‘If Mr. Brogan will consult Wisden he will be forced to abandon his fanciful picture of Cavalier English batsmen longing to break balls and the bowlers’ hearts, but thwarted by the Roundhead Hutton’. Perhaps the captain’s dual burden was proving too heavy, ‘but before deciding that this is so we should be certain we have some cricketing Napoleon to take the place of the Wellingtonian Len Hutton’. 18 February The Telegraph now published some anti-Hutton letters: (Rev.) C.V. Porter (Romford) found the ‘outburst of righteous indignation’ called forth by the Brogan letter ‘impressive but unconvincing’. He preferred to rely on Swanton’s account of the second Test – ‘“on the spot” in more way than one’. It was surely pertinent, but not disloyal, to ask who had ordered the defensive tactics and, if it was Hutton ‘by no means unfair to ask whether he is the right man for the job’: ‘May we not be expecting too much of a man who has to be the mainstay of our batting by asking him to shoulder the additional burden of captaincy?’ G.M. Stanley (S.E. 4) countered the ‘vague sentimentality’ of Hutton’s advocates with the simple facts that he was not a ‘quick-witted’ or imaginative tactician and that his management of the bowling and the field-placing was often poor. Furthermore, ‘as captain opening the batting he sets an over-cautious tempo which has an unfortunate effect on the other batsmen’. 19 February But the last contributions were again pro-Hutton. J. Michael Williams (Penzance) noted that England had been beaten by a ‘best-ever’ West Indies team which included ‘the finest spin-bowling combination since Grimmett and O’Reilly’. Nor was it fair to belittle Hutton’s Ashes victory by portraying Australia as an ‘Old Guard’, given the average age of the 1953 tourists was 27. R. Wilkinson (London) repeated the point that Brogan and other critics of Hutton had forgotten how England had been ‘thrashed’ under the amateurs Brown and Yardley: ‘It would be more graceful, and certainly more honest, to admit that, at the moment, [West Indies] are the better team in every department of the game.’
‘once a general begins to lose his battles…’ … ‘the infectious optimism and offensive eagerness’ Montgomery of Alamein, letter to Times under title ‘Failure to Score’, 22 February 1954, p.7. He was responding to correspondence by Warner and Fry, who remembered that the editor of the Westminster Gazette caused a boldly lettered notice to be posted in his sports department: ‘The failure of a first-class batsman to score is not to be represented as an instance of extreme moral obliquity’ (15 February 1954, p.7). Jessica Dean of Porlock made the suggestion (17 February, p.9) that if a batsman had not made 30 runs in an hour ‘he shall be out’ – ‘This law could be rescinded when there was no longer any need for it’.
‘With his added authority as captain, Hutton has been imprinting …’ Rostron, Daily Express, p.8.
Wilson was as interesting a character as Brogan in reverse… He was the father of Julian Wilson, who became BBC’s racing correspondent.
Hutton, a man without ‘personal magnetism’ Daily Mirror, 30 July 1953, p.15
‘very different’ challenge … ‘Court of Inquiry’ … at ‘the end of his tether’ Peter Wilson, ‘Is Len Hutton at the End of his Tether?’, Daily Mirror, 11 February, p.15 [Wilson actually predicts ‘a stringent “court of inquiry”’ in lower case, but I hope I’m allowed the liberty of swapping upper case for the inverted commas to help convey the hyperbole of his prose.]
‘ultra-cautious’ tactics … ‘I hope the MCC players who went to the West Indies…’ [Norman Preston], Notes by the Editor, 1954 Wisden, p.79.