A guide to staying in touch with cricket, looking after each other and passing the time in the closed season (or during Coronavirus lockdown)

Online resources

Maintaining Mental Wellbeing – a list of ideas and resources from the ECB (we had listed some of the same ones below, but there are some great ideas here, including courses)

Supporting young people – some resources to help during the Coronavirus lockdown

Every Mind Matters –  NHS advice on looking after your and your children’s mental health during the lockdown

Chance to Shine Cricket Challenge – weekly challenges to encourage young people to stay active and build their cricket skills (still online from Lockdown #1)

Cricket for Girls Challenges on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube – not just for girls! More skills-building ideas.

Chris Rushworth Cricket – coaching in cricket skills for children from the Durham veteran

Essex Cricket in the Community  have all sorts of activities for different ages on their website. You can also follow them on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts 

Lord’s Taverners have provided some great ideas for staying active at home, and some cricket-based activities

RECOMMENDED: Australian Cricket Institute – Facebook page includes videos of ways to practice your skills during lockdown. Also, their main website includes videos and ideas. And lots of helpful videos to improve cricket and life skills on their YouTube channel

Active Essex ideas for keeping the family fit

The Cricketer Quarantine Cup – videos from The Cricketer magazine 

Joe Wicks – keeping fit for kids. This particular link is for exercise for very young children, but there are various levels available on Joe’s YouTube Channel.

Fitness ideas for the lockdown from a number of fitness gurus (from The Guardian)

Tailenders Podcast – BBC cricket podcast including downloadable isolation quizzes

Test Match Special Podcast – especially recommended is the hilarious and rather touching Peter O’Toole interview

The Pinch Hitter – an online cricket magazine (free, but donations welcome)

https://www.wisden.com/ – the oracle! A source of facts, history, wisdom and some online quizes.

https://www.lords.org/mcc/the-laws-of-cricket – remind yourself of the laws – and the spirit of cricket!

The Laws of Cricket explained – Stephen Fry tells it like it is (or should be)

Indoor and Garden Games

Who remembers Owzthat?

bears  play owzthat

(Photo: Alison Mable)

Owzthat comes with the personal recommendation of the chairman! Available in a number of online stores at around £8(Amazon link)

Also available and recommended:

pocket sports

Pocket Sports Test Cricket (Amazon link)

Pocket Sports T20 Cricket (Amazon link)

NEW: Activity and Colouring Books

Download and print books from Essex Cricket in the Community:

Junior Activity Book including wordsearches, spot the difference, colouring

Eagle Eye Colouring part 1 – colouring for children

Eagle Eye colouring part 2 – colouring for children

Cricket colouring book – adult

Cricket colouring book 2 – adult

Book Cricket

We’ve been reading about a game where you take a book and turn it into a cricket game. We’ve been trying to work it out from the description we’ve seen in the Sunday Times, and think we have the basis of a one innings match which you can play at a distance.

Choose a long book, fiction or otherwise.  Each player selects a team and two page numbers at random. The organiser goes to those pages and takes the first two full lines on the page (ie not truncated speech). For player one, the first page chosen is their batting page, the second page is their bowling page. For player two, the first page is bowling, the second is batting. Using the descriptions below, they can then work out from the sentences what their bowling or batting score is.

Each letter translates into a given number of runs or a mode of dismissal (there are no dot-balls). Most letters are a single, “a” and “e” are two runs, “i” 3, “o” four and “u” six. “B” means bowled, “c” caught, “l” LBW, “x” the batsman hit the wicket, “y” run out and “z” stumped. “N” is a no-ball, and “w” is a wide.

We’d like to know if you manage to play this, what texts you choose and what the score is.

Many thanks to Chris Larlham for making sense of the rules!

Books about or featuring cricket (recommended by SWCC members):

Many available on Kindle as well as physical books.

NEW: That Will Be England Gone by Michael Henderson – a lyrical personal tribute to cricket, England and summer.

NEW: Basil D’Oliveira: Cricket and Conspiracy by Peter Oborne – the story of how a black South African defied incredible odds to play cricket for England

NEW: Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy by Ed Hawkins – an insight into match-fixing and corruption in Indian cricket

Beyond a Boundary by C L R James. Social commentary and cricket. “What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?”

Sometimes I Forgot to Laugh by Peter Roebuck. An autobiographical account, with views on many other key cricketers, by the player who became the cricketing voice of the Sydney Morning Herald. Other books by Peter Roebuck are also recommended.

Bringing Home the Ashes by Joe Root and Richard Gibson. A personal account of Joe Root’s climb to stardom, culminating in the 2015 Ashes series.

Anything from Fairfield Books – a small publishing house founded by Stephen Chalke which has produced some award-winning cricket books. Not all of these are now in print, but you can see a full list on Wikipedia if you want to hunt down others second-hand (“No Coward Soul: the Remarkable Story of Bob Appleyard” comes with the particular recommendation of the Fixtures Secretary, while “Gentlemen, Gypsies and Jesters: the Wonderful World of Wandering Cricket” comes with the personal recommendation of Jezz Leckenby, who is willling to lend his copy to local readers – email [email protected] to put your name down) 

bears reading

(Photo: Jezz Leckenby)

Alastair Cook, The Autobiography by Alastair Cook and Mike Calvin. One of Britain’s most decorated test cricketers gives an inside view of life under pressure.

Penguins Stopped Play by Harry Thompson. A journey round the world with a village cricket team.

Test Match Special Diary by Jon Surtees. An account from the commentary box of the splendid summer of 2019. One of our younger members read this twice in a row and found it absolutely gripping.

A Lot of Hard Yakka: Triumph and Torment – a County Cricketer’s Life by Simon Hughes, one of several books by the Middlesex and Durham veteran, looking at the ups and downs of the insecure and challenging world of county cricket.

Another Bloody Tour by Frances Edmonds – an insider memoir by the wife of Middlesex and England player, Phil Edmonds. (Warning – this link is for the Kindle edition. Check carefully before buying a physical copy, as it is advertised at some highly inflated prices!)

Cricket on Saturday by Graham White – a collection of cosy, cricket-related stories. Cricket at Benfield, by the same author, also comes recommended but you may have to hunt around for it.

Anything by Mike Brearley, Mike Atherton, Gideon Haigh, and Alan Ross.

A Season in Sinji by J L Carr, one of the website manager’s favourite authors. The novel is set in a fictional RAF base in West Africa during the Second World War, and features a very strange cricket match.

A Dictionary of Extraordinary Cricketers by J L Carr. Eccentric cricketers, collected by an eccentric writer.

The Little Wonder: the Remarkable History of Wisden by Robert Winder – an amusing history of the wonder that is Wisden

Cricket’s Strangest Matches by Andrew Ward. A collection of stories from a century of cricket.

Psmith in the City by P G Wodehouse. A lovely comic novel about office life and the importance of cricket, including a match at Lord’s.

Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L Sayers. OK, only a little bit of cricket in this one, but aristocratic sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey nearly blows his cover by batting too well!

Top Ten Cricketing Reads from the Guardian (includes a couple of the above)

Films and TV

The Edge – the 2019 film about the England Cricket Team’s battle to reach the top of the rankings between 2009 and 2013, and the toll it took on some of those involved. (suitable for age 15 and over)

Out of the Ashes – the story of the Afghan cricket team in their quest to qualify for the World Cup

The Test – 8-part series about the Australian team’s attempts to rebuild respect and position following the ball-tampering scandal (also on Netflix)

Ashes Fever – documentary about the 2005 Ashes

Backyard Ashes – an Australian cricket comedy film (Netflix4free link)

Fire in Babylon – documentary about the West Indies cricket team in the 1970s and 1980s 

From the Ashes – documentary about the 1981 Ashes 

Sachin Tendulkar: A Billion Dreams – biographic documentary about the Little Master

Warriors – documentary about Maasai cricket

Death of a Gentleman – documentary alleging darker aspects of cricket administration (YouTube pay to view)

M S Dhoni: The Untold Story – a fictional biopic based on the story of the former Indian captain (Hindi, with English subtitles) (limited availability, watch for prices!)

Bodyline – 1984 TV series about the controversial 1933 Ashes series. DVD currently unavailable, this is a link to YouTube where you can find all episodes.

Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War – an entertaining drama about the World Series Cricket Controversy (2 parts)

Cricket-based pop music

When an Old Cricketer Meets the Crease by Roy Harper – one of the loveliest songs ever written about cricket (in the humble opinion of the website manager). “Sometimes you’re catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly mid-on” (super live version, but without the brass band, HERE)

dlm 2

The Duckworth Lewis Method – two albums of songs about cricket, from Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy and Thomas Walsh of Pugwash. Recommendations include:

Jiggery-Pokery – a comic account of Shane Warne’s dramatic dismissal of Mike Gatting at Old Trafford in 1993 (warning to parents: some lyrics not suitable for tender ears)

Test Match Special – if you’re longing to watch cricket again

The Nightwatchman – a wistful love song, in a cricketing context

The Age of Revolution – popular cricket in the modern world (“Always denied entry by the English gentry, now we’re driving Bentleys, playing Twenty 20”)

Meeting Mr Miandad – a jolly bit of frivolity about travelling to Pakistan in a camper van to meet a cricketing hero!

Note – for books, films and games we have mostly given Amazon or Blackwells links for convenience. Some films may be available via other streaming services, and other retailers are available for books, dvds, and games!!

Thanks to all those who have contributed ideas, especially Lucy Thunder Smith, Sarah Rumsby, David Barrs, Jezz Leckenby, David Razzell, Chris Larlham.

Any views expressed in films, books, or tv shows are not necessarily the views of Saffron Walden Cricket Club!  We will just be practising in our gardens, or sitting at home peacefully playing Owzthat until cricket comes back to the Anglo American Playing Fields. 

Send us your ideas at [email protected]

Last updated 02/02/21