Post 6: Posted by Asjad Mir on Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 12:13

W G Grace: An Intimate Biography

When it comes to possessing books on cricket or cricketers, I don?t know if I would ever pay for one but somehow I have one (someone bought it for me). Without revealing too much about the book I found the above named an interesting read and would be happy to share it with anyone who fancy?s reading it.

Post 5: Posted by Pete Fisher on Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 20:56

I'm about half way through 'Fatty Batter' at the moment and would agree with Richard's assessment of it.
I particularly enjoyed the section in which the team secretary has first 11 players on friday night, then 9 on Sat morning, then 9 and half etc. right up until the game is due to start. It brought back vivid memories of being the Eltham Team Secretary.
Also the section in which the author 'lies' when arranging a fixture about the strength of his own team in order that the opposition put out a weaker side and then soundly thrash them by over 100 runs. It is a great read, try it.

Post 4: Posted by Colin Wouldham on Saturday, Apr 19, 2008 at 11:50

Here's a review of Fatty Batter. Looks well worth a read...

Fatty Batter is another of those books written by people with a deep love of cricket but no real ability to play the game. None the less they spend every spare waking weekend moment playing at a level that could be described as enthusiastic but amateurish. And when they're not doing that they are either watching cricket, talking about cricket or busy organising games or events based around cricket.

Michael Simkins is an actor (he has also written a book on acting) and the book eloquently describes how, as a child of portly girth, he became fixated with cricket after watching Colin Milburn (he too was rather rotund) on TV hit a lusty seventy odd for England against the West Indies. Heartily encouraged by his father his obsession grew through games of dice cricket and finally seeing live games at Sussex.

The book describes his fluctuating affair with the sport culminating in him forming a team - "The Harry Baldwin's" (named after a picture of a fat Victorian cricketer Simkins came across) who ply their trade against other amateur teams. This leads to various anecdotes about village green cricket that have been covered exhaustitively in numerous other books. That said, Simkins avoids the smug middle class revel in our wackiness and incompetence tone of most of those books instead relating tales of the relationship strife caused by his commitment to the team, the struggle to raise eleven fully functioning players half the time and how one game saw one of the players picked up by Kate Winslett.

Fatty Batter is about more than that though. It's an eruditely and wittily written account of childhood, a paean to how sport can give someone focus and belief (and at the same time can also become a stifling obsession) and a tacit admission that there will eventually come a time to stop. And it does contain some cracking stories with the one about his trip to the members area of Lords being especially memorable. All in all it's one of the betters efforts on cricket outside the heady glamour of the professional game (though reading this you quickly realise if you didn't already know, that first class cricket is rarely glamorous) though I was once again left with the feeling that the definitive "Fever Pitch" of cricket remains to be written.

Post 3: Posted by Andy Redman on Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 08:00

... and there was me thinking we were getting all cultured like!
Another book for the start of the season is "Rain Men" by Marcus Berkmann ~ it's a few years old now (aren't we all!) but is worth a read. It's all about a nomadic team ~ (Captain Scott's X1, many of whom I believe are connected in some way with Private Eye).

Post 2: Posted by Colin Wouldham on Thursday, Apr 17, 2008 at 17:42

I misread "Fatty" as ... never mind. Oh dear.

Post 1: Posted by Richard Page on Thursday, Apr 17, 2008 at 17:13

Gents, I am far from a bookworm, I am usually more than happy for the film to come out to save the read. However I have just finished reading a book, it took me just two days, I have never enjoyed a book so much, so I wanted to share it with you educated chaps. I off course will be able to share mine when I return, so if you are keen, please let me know - I will bring it along to nets on Sunday. The book is called The Karma Sutra! ha ha, only kidding. The book is actually called Fatty Batter by a guy called Michael Simkins. I challenge anyone who reads it not to laugh out loud and deny that they can relate to it in some way. A great read that really will set you up nicely for the coming season. It really has got me itching for the season to start.