Lord's Diary: Not quite the poetry of motion but still graceful
Sunday 13 July 2008
A rapt crowd sated on Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell might have been still more enthused had Albert Craig been before them. Who he?
Albert Craig was a Yorkshire rhymester who deserted his wife and children and in the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th became a significant feature of the English cricket landscape. Craig sold poems at a penny a time, engaged with the crowds at Lord's and The Oval and at one time was as famous as – and as synonymous with cricket as – W G Grace. He wrote of Grace in one verse: "His finished play of yesterday was truly soul inspiring/When he appeared the people cheered: and mind he's worth admiring."
If not forgotten, he is no longer celebrated. Each day Craig would watch the game and overnight he would bring it to life in verse. Much better than doggerel, though not quite poetry in the strict sense, it captivated and was bought by thousands. And his life and times have been captured exhaustively and evocatively in a book, 'Captain of the Crowd', by Tony Laughton. If he existed today, of course, he would be out on his ear in no time.
Whispers down the ages
There are times when it seems that MCC exist only to ensure they take advantage of any commercial opportunity going (hence their involvement in the formative plans for a new, nine-team, city-based Twenty20 League in England).
Lest we forget, they still care about their pastoral duties to the game at large. Part of this is the excellent audio archive they have established. Former BBC man and prolific cricket author David Rayvern Allen proposed its establishment three years ago and there are now at least 100 interviews in the archive.
Rayvern Allen has recruited fellow interviewers who have spoken to players, commentators and administrators from around the world. It will be a source of cricket history for a million years. In some ways, itis what MCC are for.
Act as a shining example
Chance to Shine (remember them?) have just set up Street Chance. This is about taking cricket to inner-city London, initially 10 boroughs where the implement of choice might be a knife rather than a bat. "We hope we can have a real effect on disaffected youth," said Wasim Khan of Chance to Shine. "We want to engage young people through cricket." They will be there for at least three years.
Normal services resumed
The Army play the Navy at Lord's for the first time in 36 years later this month. It is the centenary match, a one-dayer rather than the three it took in 1908 when Robert Poore, who played three Tests for South Africa, scored 62 for the Army, though not, somewhat bizarrely, T20. Are the services behind the times?
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
Luis Suarez: Lionel Messi is better than Cristiano Ronaldo
Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies from spine injury after doing somersault celebration
West Brom vs Manchester United: Latest score and Twitter updates, with Stephane Sessegnon, Marouane Fellaini, Saido Berahino and Daley Blind on target
Arsenal vs Hull: Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan lead criticism of Arsene Wenger after 'uncomfortable' interview with Jacqui Oatley
Adel Taraabt criticism from QPR boss Harry Redknapp sparked by player walking out of team meeting prior to Liverpool game
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Are you ready for Crazy Doritos, the red-hot snack food craze sweeping Mexico’s streets?
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage