Sign in to follow this  
....

Bodyline and the ‘Silent Killer’

Recommended Posts

Unfortunately we don't have a Notts. CCC forum so I've popped these few words here. I've always felt that the legend of the great Nottinghamshire fast bowler Harold Larwood is vastly underplayed. I also believe he was the very best of the lot.

larwood.jpg

It’s seventy-five years since the Australia-England Ashes series of 1932/3 which became known as the ‘Bodyline’ series. Some of the main players in the drama were England captain, Douglas Jardine, the great Australian run-getter, Don Bradman and two great Nottinghamshire fast-bowling heroes Harold Larwood and Bill Voce doing much of the damage (and causing a diplomatic crisis simultaneously!)

I worked at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground as a lad leaving school in the mid-seventies and the tales they used to tell me about Harold Larwood were unreal. Groundstaff who’d been there many years told me they had to keep THREE complete sets of replacement stumps handy as Harold smashed so many when clean bowling people.

Read more

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Unfortunately we don't have a Notts. CCC forum so I've popped these few words here. I've always felt that the legend of the great Nottinghamshire fast bowler Harold Larwood is vastly underplayed. I also believe he was the very best of the lot.

larwood.jpg

It’s seventy-five years since the Australia-England Ashes series of 1932/3 which became known as the ‘Bodyline’ series. Some of the main players in the drama were England captain, Douglas Jardine, the great Australian run-getter, Don Bradman and two great Nottinghamshire fast-bowling heroes Harold Larwood and Bill Voce doing much of the damage (and causing a diplomatic crisis simultaneously!)

I worked at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground as a lad leaving school in the mid-seventies and the tales they used to tell me about Harold Larwood were unreal. Groundstaff who’d been there many years told me they had to keep THREE complete sets of replacement stumps handy as Harold smashed so many when clean bowling people.

Read more

Wasn't he a collier too?? Like so many of his time, you had to have a full time job and a benevolent employer to allow you the time off to play.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Unfortunately we don't have a Notts. CCC forum so I've popped these few words here.

We do now !jumping!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice one Mick! I'm not really up-to-date with current affairs at the Bridge but I've a couple of good tales from working there way back.

Yes Harold was a collier and entered the put at fourteen years of age. There's an account I read of him playing for his local club as a young lad after a long shift down on the face. Apparently he caught a bad nosebleed whilst bowling his twenty overs (not bad after a shift!) and more senior players were urging him to leave the field. He refused and straight after got his first-ever hat-trick.

Like the old saying, there's a fast bowler down evdery mine shaft.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stu,

Bill was a fund of cricketing stories...

One concerned popular Somerset amateur lower order batsman C.C.C. Case, known to all and sundry as 'Box'...who was notoriously fearful of fast bowling. Prior to a Trent Bridge fixture, his wife made him a Michelin Man type jacket to be worn beneath his shirt. As he walked to the wicket, Bill shouted "Come over here Lol, have a prod at Box's extra padding"

The terrrified Box lasted but a few deliveries before Larwood knocked over his castle and he was so shaken and relieved to be out of the firing line that he marched off with a stump under his arm, leaving his bat laying besides the other two!

He also considered Jack Hobbs as being better than Bradman.

During a Surrey fixture - which was always played over a Bank Holiday, in front of a packed TB - Hobbs quickly accumulated his first fifty, and to Bill's passing remark of 'Yer, old bu99er...' retorted "Not seeing it too well today, Bill - got a bit of a headache'.

Hobbs was such a great bat that, when visiting a new ground, he would firstly walk the boundary to identify where the rougher ground beyond the rope was located - in order to direct his early boundary shots to that area; thus accelerating wear on the new ball!

Cheers

Robt P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember a program on the telly once about the body line tour and it showed the pair practicing with lumps of coal for balls

Didn't you post somewhere else about meeting up with Bill Voce on his last sojourn to these shores Rob ???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Stu,

Bill was a fund of cricketing stories...

One concerned popular Somerset amateur lower order batsman C.C.C. Case, known to all and sundry as 'Box'...who was notoriously fearful of fast bowling. Prior to a

Trent Bridge fixture, his wife made him a Michelin Man type jacket to be worn beneath his shirt. As he walked to the wicket, Bill shouted "Come over here Lol, have a prod at Box's extra padding"

The terrrified Box lasted but a few deliveries before Larwood knocked over his castle and he was so shaken and relieved to be out of the firing line that he marched off with a stump under his arm, leaving his bat laying besides the other two!

He also considered Jack Hobbs as being better than Bradman.

During a Surrey fixture - which was always played over a Bank Holiday, in front of a packed TB - Hobbs quickly accumulated his first fifty, and to Bill's passing remark of 'Yer, old bu99er...' retorted "Not seeing it too well today, Bill - got a bit of a headache'.

Hobbs was such a great bat that, when visiting a new ground, he would firstly walk the boundary to identify where the rougher ground beyond the rope was located - in order to direct his early boundary shots to that area; thus accelerating wear on the new ball!

Cheers

Robt P.

Great stories, Rob - they made me chuckle!

I liked this story about Notts opening bat, Charlie Harris, a notorious joker. Apparently the players were in the pavillion and Notts had appealed for the light to not go out and bat in the gloom. The umpires overruled the appeal and ordered the players out on to the pitch. Charlie walked to wicket lighting matches to 'see his way' all the way to the square!

I've read quite extensively in the past about various players in history and have a number of very old cricket boks in my collection. I could easily agree from all accounts that Jack Hobbs was better than Bradman (or indeed any batsman in history). Certainly he was reputed as a much better player on all types of wicjets than Bradman who was at his best on hard dry tracks. Hobbs' mastery of the turning ball was legendary. Another factor is that whilst Bradman was a great run compiler and would often hit multiple centuries after getting his first ton, Hobbs would often lose interest after he got his hundred and throw his wicket away. Hobbs of course had superb partnerships with Andy Sandham at Surrey and Herbert Sutcliffe for England. He seemed very much a team player.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Didn't you post somewhere else about meeting up with Bill Voce on his last sojourn to these shores Rob ???

Yes Ian...but it was Harold Larwood that I met at the Victoria Station Hotel in '77, on his last visit to home shores.

I'd worked with Bill Voce (who introduced me to Lol) at NCB Bestwood in the 50's & 60's.

Bill lived at the same house on Nottingham Road in Hucknall for more than 50 years, prior to his death in 1984.

It was named Durban House, in deference to his great love of South Africa.

Cheers

Robt P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another Charlie Harris tale relates to his regular habit of spotting some waif, or generally dishevelled character, around the ground whilst Notts were in the field. Then, as the team left the field for lunch or tea, he would invite the unfortunate into the pavilion to join the team in their meal...always at his own expense...

The club often told him to cease the practice, but skippers Arthur Carr and Judge Hine supported Charlie.

Cheers

Robt P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had no idea what the "bodyline series" was - so I looked it up on Wikipedia! WOW! Almost a major international incident - especially considering some of the bowling seen in recent years. Typical Aussies - couldn't hack it so they start complaining about it. I wonder how much of their success in later years was seeded by the techniques used in 1932/33?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a tremendous story, Eric. Well worth reading up. I think it would make a superb movie or TV series

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's a tremendous story, Eric. Well worth reading up. I think it would make a superb movie or TV series

According to the stuff I read on Wikipedia, the Aussies already made a mini-series about it - which (of course) led to more ill-feeling against the Brits - and Larwood getting death threats! Apparantly there is a plan in the works to make a feature movie and they have been looking for suitable cricketing actors!

It would be nice if any movie, or TV series showed the British side of the story - the Aussie version seems to be a little slanted! Nobody seems to mention that no batsmen were actually hurt when the field was setup for "bodyline" bowling! Perhaps we should make a start and only refer to it a "fast leg theory"!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm surprised at the notion of Harold getting death threats. He had seemed to live such a nice life and was well accepted in Sydney running his shop. It would have been interesting to see what the Australians would have had to say if it was their bowlers playing in the same manner. England have had to put up plenty of bullying over the decades such as with Lillee and Thomson and way back before Bodyline with MacDonald and Gregory.

I talked to someone recently who had just read the biography of Douglas Jardine. He recommended it as a really good read.

Some good reading here:

http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/sherwoodtimes/adelaide.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stories also abound about that wonderful character Derek Randall...

Norman Gifford, of Worcestershire and England, wrote in his autobiography of calling in to to see Derek whilst en route to the North-East, one bleak winters day.

Whilst it is accepted that many batsmen 'wear in' new batting pads just prior to a new season, Giff was rather surprised, on arriving at Cropwell Bishop, to see Derek wearing his new pads around the house in February.

A further surprise was that his wife Liz was also similarly attired!

Cheers

Robt P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's a tremendous story, Eric. Well worth reading up. I think it would make a superb movie or TV series

As I mentioned elsewhere there was a series (or T.V. film) made about the whole 'Bodyline scandal' .That was where I saw them bowling lumps of coal as practice.(Late 80's early 90's I think , and I am pretty sure it was called "Bodyline"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086672/

Recall the series being slated at the time because of many inaccuracies and the non-athletic actor/cricketers.

Particular objection to the portrayal of Surrey skipper P.G.H. Fender as a buffoon, which he certainly was not.

My impressions too, although I admit to rather enjoying it...

Primarily based around the life of Jardine as a priveliged "Son of the Raj"

Cheers

Robt P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apparently two cricketers from opposing sides were arguing one day. One accused the other of being fat, he replied 'it's your wifes fault, every time i make love to her she gives me a biscuit. One of them could have been South African, can anybody name them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Apparently two cricketers from opposing sides were arguing one day. One accused the other of being fat, he replied 'it's your wifes fault, every time i make love to her she gives me a biscuit. One of them could have been South African, can anybody name them?

Eddie Brandes of Zimbabwe in response to Aussie Glen McGrath's 'sledge'...

Fielders, batsmen and umpires all fell about laughing.

Cheers

Robt P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was McGrath the Aussie wicket keeper?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Was McGrath the Aussie wicket keeper?

No...opening bowler...one of the greatest ever...recently retired.

Cheers

Robt P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry Rob but I was under the misconception it was the wicket keeper doing the 'sledging'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just been to see 'The Ashes' production at Nottingham Playhouse this evening which is scheduled until 17th September. I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone with an interest.

The play is acted out with a screen in the background which shows some of the infamous footage from the 1932/3 'Bodyline' England tour of Australia and some quaint moments 'at' the Electric Picture Palace in Mansfield with Lol Larwood's dear wife Lois watching the explosive exploits of her husband against the men in the baggy green caps.

larwood_2322902.jpg

Plenty of pathos, not a little ribald and occasionally wry humour (and quite a few pints of mild sunk by Lol and Bill Voce!). The play highlights the class divide well showcased by the cricket world in the 1930s. It also portrays Harold as a man of honour in his rightful refusal to apologise after coming home from the tour after dutifully carrying out his skipper's (Douglas Jardine) orders for the betterment of his team and country.

A fascinating and accurate telling of the story of the 1932/3 tour. Anyone with a remote interest would be well advised to get themselves down to the Playhouse while it's still being performed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the late 1960s/early 70's I worked with a George Voce.

He would have been in his 60s then.

I believe he was related.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...Just been to see 'The Ashes' production at Nottingham Playhouse this evening which is scheduled until 17th September...

Stu,

My ticket is for next Thursday, 15th...what is the running time?

A friend, who attended an earlier performance, tells me he was unimpressed by a rather 'Dick van Dyke type' Notts mining accent...

Was that your impression too?

Mick,

Bill did have an elder brother, IIRC his name was George???

Met him once...rather slight chap, much smaller than Bill...

Cheers

Robt P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this