Sports Book of the Week: Of Didcot and The Demon, edited by Anthony Gibson

Reviewed by Simon Redfern
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The Independent Culture

Those who understand the title may permit themselves a chuckle of reminiscence. For those who don't, an explanation is in order: Alan Gibson was a cricket writer for 'The Times' for 20 years from 1967 whose county reports were like no other.

Whereas most others confined themselves to the action on the pitch, Gibson's dispatches were peppered with references to his travel difficulties, often involving missed train connections at Didcot. And he enjoyed giving people sobriquets: the Demon was Somerset's fast-medium bowler Colin Dredge or "The Demon of Frome".

His articles were beautifully written and timelessly funny. As John Woodcock, the then 'Times' cricket correspondent, says elegantly in his foreword: "While I wrote about the cricket, Alan was usually elsewhere writing about a day at the cricket." To make free with Harold Pinter's two-line poem on Len Hutton: "I read Gibson in his prime/Another time, another time." Happily, those times can now be relived.

Published in large-format hardback by Fairfield Books, £20.

Available from fairfieldbooks.co.uk; 01225 335 813

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