Monday, 3 December 2012

No Holding - Bowler's name?!

In the sort of cricket I used to play the teams often struggled to field eleven men and it was very rare to have a designated scorer. So it was common for the batting side to take it in turns to score and to have to shout out to the fielders "Bowler's name?!" at each change. Merriment could be had with some names, even apart from comical pretended mishearings. (I always hoped to tour the Netherlands where my name might be written down without comment for a change - but I never did.) Imagine if Jack Crapp of Gloucestershire and England had bowled for a pub team! It was bad enough with names like Dyer: "Oh, give him a chance. He might not be that bad!"

Although there are other unfortunate names like Cheetham or Crook, Pratt or Sidebottom - father and son sidle, unfairly, into my mind at this point - there have been many suitably or even poetically named players at first class and international level. By the by, baseball fans might think of the Abbott & Costello joke "Who's on first base?" This might work even better in Norfolk where Hugh and Hughes are pronounced without the yod, "Who" and "Who's".

Anyway, there have always been Fielders, Players, Bowlers, Stumpers, Batts and Balls. And Boots, Plimsolls, Insoles, Studds and even Boxes. Then there are the pastoral or agricultural names like Park(e)s, Mead(e)s, Meadows, Rivers, Forests, Woods and Underwoods, plus Hoggards, Shepherds and Oakmans (-men) to go with them.

In addition to those Bowlers, there have been Breakwells, Seamers, Throwers, Pitchers, Drivers, Hookers and Pullars, Cutts and Cutters, and other occupational names like Glover, Palmer and Shooter or Shuter. Birds and beasts of the field occur in the scorebook, too. Do you know your Hawkes from your Hansers? Preferable to Bulls and Hoggs, perhaps, though they both could be formidable, too.

And what about the lovely combination of Parfitt, Gentle and Knight? Somebody tell me they played together! And then I won't even mention the Willeys and Holdings!

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