Having come into being in 1879 Leicestershire joined the County Championship in 1895, 5 years after it started. For a few years one of many whipping boys of the event the arrival of abroad gamers, and Ray Illingworth as captain, introduced Leicestershire a primary Championship in 1975. There have been two extra in 1996 and 1998, though two division cricket has not suited the county who’re at the moment, within the 4 day sport no less than, struggling.
The primary historical past of Leicestershire appeared in 1949. A Historical past of Leicestershire was written by Eric Snow, the brother of Philip, who wrote a traditional guide on cricket in Fiji, and CP Snow, the famous novelist. Snow wrote a second quantity as properly, masking the story from 1949 till 1977, thus masking that first championship success. The third historical past was that within the Helm sequence, written by Dennis Lambert, and appeared in 1992, so of the latter two successes and the membership’s subsequent decline there may be, as but, nothing.
The primary guide from the pen of a Leicestershire cricketer appeared in 1906, The Full Cricketer by Albert Knight. The guide just isn’t an autobiography, however is nonetheless a advantageous guide and, as I identified here, definitely deserves way more consideration than it will get.
John King was there firstly in 1895, and performed for the county till 1925 and, simply as soon as in 1909, was chosen for a house Ashes Take a look at. In 2009 a biography of King appeared within the ACS Lives in Cricket sequence, written by Anthony Littlewood. The title of JH King: Leicestershire’s Longaevous Lefthander launched me to a brand new phrase – it means lengthy lived.
In the identical 12 months that The Full Cricketer was revealed a teenager named Ewart Astill made his debut for Leicestershire. He was nonetheless enjoying sometimes 33 years later in 1939 and though he by no means performed a Take a look at in England Astill did signify England 9 instances in West Indies and South Africa. An all-rounder with some spectacular cumulative figures Astill was additionally the topic of an Anthony Littlewood contribution to the ACS Lives in Cricket sequence, WE Astill: All-Rounder Debonair, in 2014.
The one different Leicestershire participant whose enjoying profession was primarily through the the interwar interval and is the topic of a guide is Eddie Dawson. An novice batsman Dawson led the county for 4 summers,and like Astill performed Take a look at cricket abroad, in his case in South Africa and New Zealand. He’s the topic of a considerable biography by Peter Kettle, EW Dawson The Cricketer, self-published in 2009.
Simply sneaking in by advantage of his 5 summers with the county earlier than the Second World Battle is the New Zealander Stewie Dempster, who introduced a welcome contact of sophistication to the county’s weak batting. Dempster was the topic of a superb biography from Invoice Francis, Second Only to Bradman, in 2020.
One widespread Leicestershire batsman who didn’t seem for England was Maurice Tompkin. Beginning out in 1938 and enjoying constantly till his sadly early demise in 1956 Tompkin is one other to have featured within the ACS Lives in Cricket sequence. Maurice Tompkin: More Than Just Runs appeared in 2011 and was written by Richard Holdridge.
After the warfare Leicestershire appointed Charles Palmer as secretary/captain and purchased a advantageous all-rounder even when, as was definitely the case, Palmer regarded way more like a desk certain civil servant than a sportsman. Fairfield Books revealed Douglas Miller’s wonderful biography of Palmer in 2005, Extra Than Simply A Gentleman.
In 1971 Leicestershire signed batting all-rounder Chris Balderstone from Yorkshire and for properly over a decade he was a mannequin of consistency and even earned a few England caps in opposition to the 1976 West Indians. Additionally an expert footballer for a lot of years an autobiography, The Sporting Life, appeared in 2002.
Nonetheless essentially the most well-known and widespread man to have performed for Leicestershire is David Gower, who made his debut again in 1975. Gower has lent his identify to a lot of books amongst them 4 volumes of autobiography, With Time To Spare, A Proper Ambition, Gower: The Autobiography and Endangered Species, revealed in 1980, 1986, 1992 and 2014 respectively. Others to have written about Gower are David Goodyear (The Genius of Gower in 1993) and Rob Steen (David Gower: A Man Out Of Time in 1995).
Three years after Gower emerged a younger tempo bowler made his Leicestershire debut. Like Gower Jonathan Agnew went on to an extended broadcasting profession, the distinction being that Agnew’s Take a look at profession is usually neglected. No imply author Agnew has not produced a conventional autobiography (but), however Eight Days A Week is an fascinating diary of his 1988 season and Over To You Aggers the story of his first decade as a broadcaster.
Philip De Freitas performed for 3 counties, Leicestershire, Lancashire and Derbyshire, however he began with Leicester in 1985, and completed with them twenty years later so his autobiography falls to be talked about right here. Daffy was revealed in 2012.
As with De Freitas Chris Lewis, one other all-rounder, additionally served three counties, in his case Notts and Surrey in addition to Leicestershire. Sadly for him Lewis’s story, by advantage of his fall from grace when caught importing medicine into the UK has made for a somewhat extra spicy guide. Lewis’s autobiography, Crazy, appeared in 2017, after his launch from jail.
Wicketkeeper Paul Nixon was one other who, like De Freitas, left Leicestershire after which returned, in his case for a few seasons of his lengthy profession to Kent. Nixon’s autobiography, Maintaining Quiet, appeared in 2012.
The final Leicestershire participant to be the topic of a biographical guide, Alan Mullally, was one other two county man. In his case the English born Australian raised fast bowler spent the Nineties with Leicester earlier than transferring on to Hampshire for one more 5 summers with the county for whom, simply as soon as, he had first appeared again in 1988. Mullally, one thing of a troubled soul, is the topic of A Sort Of Homecoming by Paul Blewitt, revealed in 2018.
And that, so far as I’m conscious, is nearly it for Leicestershire, aside from a pair extra to say, each from Dennis Lambert and each from Tempus Publishing, one every from their Pictures of Sport and 100 Greats sequence, revealed in 2000 and 2001 respectively.
Which brings me on to my two nominations for future books about Leicestershire and, for as soon as, they aren’t two biographies. The primary is nevertheless, and the person I want to study extra about is Les Berry, the county’s lengthy serving batsman who, in 1946, turned the primary full time skilled captain of a county membership. My second selection, maybe extra so than for another county, could be an updated historical past, masking as it will the highs of the Championship successes of 1996 and 1998, the early T20 successes, and the latest unhappy decline.