Somerset Cricketers 1946-1970
This is the third volume in a series outlining the lives of each man who has played first-class cricket for Somerset.
The first two books, the award-winning Somerset Cricketers 1882-1914 and Somerset Cricketers 1919–1939, were widely praised as hugely informative and very readable accounts of the history of cricket in the county, with engaging detours into social history.
Somerset Cricketers 1946–1970 continues in the same vein and is sure to delight anyone with an interest in this fascinating club. This time the story begins in the aftermath of the Second World War, with the club still under the control of men who had been involved with Somerset CCC since the Victorian era and espoused what they regarded as the virtues of amateurism.
Professionals were seen as a necessary evil and the winning of trophies as an irrelevance.
Slowly and surely the voice of the supporters was heard as they called for change. And yet, Somerset still managed to call on their fair share of larger-than-life characters whose exploits off the pitch were at times as compelling as the flurries of excitement on match days.
Somerset Cricketers 1946 – 1970 offers insights into the lives and times of the 113 debutants in that era and in a number of instances we read within the pages the frank and entertaining accounts and fond memories of those men themselves.
As one of the players – that grizzled veteran, the late Bill Alley – once wrote: ‘While other teams fretted away worrying about the destination of the Championships, we were content to earn a reputation as the best social team in the country. My word, how we enjoyed ourselves!’
Stephen Hill and Barry Phillips have been Somerset CCC supporters since boyhood. Both had enjoyed success as authors prior to their fateful meeting, when they agreed, in their words, ‘in a moment of complete madness’, to embark on their detailed account of each man who has played for the county. Now both retired, they live an inconvenient distance from Somerset – Stephen in Nottinghamshire and Barry in Oxfordshire – but still follow the fortunes of the club. After the publication of the first volume of the Somerset Cricketers in 2016 they were accorded the joint-accolade of Cricket Historians of the Year and awarded the Brooke-Lambert Trophy by the Association of Cricket Statisticians.