Monday, 29 October 2012

Honesty and Sport




Geoff Brown mentioned George Lovenberry a regular writer of lengthy articles that featured in the 1970s.

I came across an article by GA Lovenberry from December 1974 on cricket games he had seen between the wars. In a time of gloom, both climatically and in terms of a sport engulfed in scandal its time to wallow in nostalgia of a less complicated time. One of the first games that George saw was a “ Roses” match played at Old Trafford in 1929. That match featured the wily Wilfred Rhodes then in his 50s and fellow Yorkshireman Emmot Robinson. The later was something of a character loud engaging in jokey asides with the crowds.

Lovenberry also saw the Australians play England in the 1st Ashes Test at Nottingham the following year. He was present when the English batsman Sutcliffe was controversially given out. Bradman stepped over the boundary to take a catch. The crowd saw it but not the umpire who lifted his finger. The crowd signalled their disapproval but still had to go. Sutcliffe did not argue.

If George was appalled with the antics of cricketeers in the 70s what would he have thought of the betting scandal that infected many including the Essex bowler Westfield recently?

An inkling can be assumed by his description of the Indian Duleepsinghi being caught at a match he saw at Hastings. “ Not for him to stand there under false pretence of the umpire making a mistake. He knew he was out”

George knew that gamesmanship was not approved at any level. He witnessed a local game when a batsman was reluctant to walk. The umpire was unimpressed. “Thay cast sling thee ‘ook. Its no use standin there so nar goo”

My own favourite story of integrity concerns Lancastrian Ernest Tyldesley a player that GA knew. He took a catch during an Ashes match and the Australian began to trudge toward the pavilion. Tyldesley threw the ball back saying it had bounced before getting to him and the batsman went back to the crease. Later the writer Neville Cardus congratulated Tyldesley on his honesty. He replied “Westhoughton Methodist Sunday School, tha knowst”