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DAILY SNIPPET – NEVILLE CARDUS – A BOOK REVIEW BY KEITH CLARK (LEVANTE CC)

by: CricketEspana

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Today´s Daily Snippet comes from Levante CC and Cricket España umpire Keith Clark in the shape of a book review.

The book is a biography of the Cricket journalist Neville Cardus and is entitled The Great Romantic: Neville Cardus by Duncan Hamilton. Fellow Cricket España umpire Ron Graham described Cardus as “Neville Cardus was the doyen of cricket lovers. He was the written words answer to John Arlott and Brian Johnston on commentary”

Enjoy Keith´s review of the book below ..

THE GREAT ROMANTIC : NEVILLE CARDUS BY DUNCAN HAMILTON

The biography of Manchester Guardian cricket journalist and music critic Neville Cardus is a biography to(almost) equal John Bew’s Clement Attlee. Cardus’s life is a cross between the northern ordinariness ofLowry and the public school realms of E W Swanton ( a posh cricket commentator of the 50’s) .

Raised inthe back streets of Manchester with an absentee father by a mother and aunt who were part-timeprostitutes he read avidly and presented himself to the editor of the Manchester Guardian and was given ajob. An accidental assignment in 1919 to Old Trafford to report a cricket match then opened a whole newlife for him and changed the face of cricket and sports journalism. He brought cricket matches to life withhis descriptions of everything that surrounds and contributes to cricket aside from just the scoreline. Hemade cricketers three dimensional .: Hobbs, Larwood, Mitchell, Macauley, C B Fry, Donald Bradman allnames I remember reading about as a schoolboy.

But his writing was so good, sometimes not accurate (see below) but always celebrating the sport andmaking, for some, the reason they bought the Manchester Guardian.Cardus – written version of a conversation after a Lancashire fielder, Dick Tyldesley, had in a bitterly
contested Roses match announced to the umpire that he had not quite taken a catch cleanly and ensuredthe departing batsman was recalled. “a fine piece of sportsmanship, Dick “ Cardus said, eliciting theunderstated reply, “Thanks Maister Cardus”. That was the actual conversation, but Cardus subsequently putan extra – and immortal – sentence in the cricketer’s mouth : “Westhoughton Sunday School, tha knows”.
Also, his pithy summary of “ umpires, likened to the geyser in the bathroom… We can’t do without it, yetwe notice it only when it is out of order.” He insists on good punctuation to the the extent of filing hisreports, especially when in Australia, in long hand *Bradman batted on semi-colon they cannot get himout full stop when he discovered that Murdoch newspapaers didn’t use semi colons.

Cardus personal life, living with two or more women but in separate houses or hotels in England andAustralia was strange but his copy was always in demand and he lived a life of Reilly on it enjoying smart dinners, events and striving for memebership of MCC which he achieved eventually and a knighthood onthe back of cultivated friends in the higher echelons of classical music – on which he became an acclaimed
and respected critic.

The author Duncan Hamilton, whose biography of Harold Larwood I alsoread presents Cardus through his
(Cardus’s ) writing creating a narrative that yearns for the old days of cricket. Nostalgia gone mad but
brought to life.

PS the book even mentions the street next to the one I lived in Seymour Grove

KEITH CLARK – LEVANTE CRICKET CLUB.

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