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Bent Arms and Dodgy Wickets: England's Troubled Reign as Test Match Kings During the Fifties Hardcover – Illustrated, 19 Nov 2012


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Bent Arms and Dodgy Wickets: England's Troubled Reign as Test Match Kings During the Fifties + Never a Gentlemen's Game: The Scandal-filled Early Years of Cricket + Then Came Massacre: The Story of Maurice Tate, Cricket's Smiling Destroyer
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd; First edition (19 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908051833
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908051837
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 69,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"This well written and widely researched book is full of most interesting and contentious events... The author brilliantly places before us the reasons why English Test cricket was surpassed by other cricket nations in the late fifties and suggests the reasons why change had to happen. The analysis is backed by opinions from many of the great cricketers of the fifties. It is a strongly recommended book" --Cricket Memorabilia Society

"Erudite and entertaining in equal parts, Tim Quelch's engaging study of England's rise to become unofficial world champions in the 1950s, followed by their distressing fall from grace at decade's end, offers nostalgia with a bite, a potent cocktail of cricket narrative, character study and, most telling of the lot, probing political insight." --Backspin Magazine

"Occasionally the cricket becomes inextricably entwined with the changing social order and this is where Bent Arms and Dodgy Wickets is at its best. It is one of the most enjoyable cricket books I have read in a long time." --Martin Chandler, CricketWeb.net

"Once upon a time we thought of the 1950s as a golden age of English cricket... We now look back at the 1950s and are not entirely comfortable with what we find there: the class snobbery, the imperial arrogance, the colour prejudice. Tim Quelch reflects that unease throughout his account of the decade. Quelch has tried to look at history differently and for that he should be applauded as he should for giving his royalties to Parkinson's research." --The Cricketer

"Bent Arms & Dodgy Wickets is a superb new book about the England cricket team in 1950s." --Mark Butcher

"A distinguished book, it deserves every success." --All Out Cricket

"A unique sports book in many respects, Bent Arms and Dodgy Wickets offers a fascinating mix of prescient comment and contemporary observations from English cricket's 'Golden Age' in the 1950s when, for a while, England were considered the world's best team. Drawing upon the written memoirs and eye witness accounts of players such as Sir Len Hutton, Brian Statham and Sir Everton Weekes, Bent Arms reads like an alternative social history of mid-fifties Britain." --Sports Book of the Month

"Bent Arms & Dodgy Wickets is a worthy compilation, not least because it places cricket in its wider social context, and the author reveals a rare talent for recreating the drama of the matches." --Association of Cricket Statisticians Newsletter

"Tim Quelch's account of post-war English Test cricket to the end of the 1950s is a fascinating description of the players, the series and the performances of the era. The book is an excellent read and of particular interest is the reference to improved levels of fitness and to fielding skills, although it would be some years before these reached modern standards. Well researched and presented with evocative photographs, this book is well worth a look and is a delight for those who enjoy cricket and social history." --Peakfan Cricket Blog

"An important book, addressing the shameful spills and conspicuous ills of post-war cricket in Blighty... Covering the decade and a half after the Second World War, Quelch skilfully sets the pitifully slow death of shamateurism and the Gents-Players divide against a backdrop of a country divided, one basking in glory yet lacking not only food and funds but acceptance of a less deferential, more meritocratic world." --Rob Steen, Cric Info

About the Author

Tim Quelch is a retired local government officer. He previously wrote: Forever and Ever a book of Burnley FC supporters' recollections 1960-2000, Never Had It So Good, about Burnley's incredible 1959/60 Football League title-winning triumph and Underdog! 50 Years of Trials and Triumphs with Football's Also-Rans, which was written to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Society. In Bent Arms and Dodgy Wickets Quelch reflects upon his introduction to cricket, his shared sporting love, during the 1950s. This book is written in order to raise funds for the Parkinson's UK.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Pavey on 7 Dec 2012
Format: Hardcover
This account of post war English test cricket, peaking in the mid 50's, is a fascinating description of the players, the series, and the performances. It balances first hand commentaries and reflections from key figures of the time with the politics of the establishment as social and economic growth challenged the attitudes of authority to race, professionalism and the end of empire.
Tim Quelch's detailed critique of the amateur/professional traditions and their effect on captaincy, selection, and management styles in the game gives a picture of attitudes to class, winning at all costs and a reluctance to accept the values of a multi-ethnic society.Not only are the accounts of the matches and their highlights entertaining but the backdrop of Indian, West Indian and South African changing positions on integration, alongside the UK's loss of colonial power, give this book a particular slant on the loss of supremacy in 1959.
The issues of throwing, pitch preparation, and the dressing room protocols on behaviour-even speaking about political difference, were avoided by the MCC as it struggled to retain prewar ideas of sportsmanship and myths of a golden age where class was structured without visible discontent.The analyses of batting and bowling skills and styles, the introduction of attention to fielding and fitness, give a timely reflection on the difficulties of England's recent test success and inability to stay at the top. The development of new approaches to professional performance are echoed in today's clashes of cultures.
Well presented, with evocative photographs of an era where sport and style reflected the struggles to keep in touch with the change in society, this book is a stimulating mixture of individual heroics and institutional resistance to new challenges.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Woodmore on 6 Jan 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
January can be such a depressing month for a whole variety of reasons. One way of dealing with this is to buy a really good book and spend a good few hours sitting by the fire with a steady supply of suitable food and drink. Even better is to choose a quality cricket book to transport us back to those happy,sometimes hot summer days watching the great game. If that appeals ( no pun intended !) - I can thoroughly recommend Tim Quelch's "Bent Arms and Dodgy Wickets" which looks back to the cricket and life in the 1950's when England had some truly great players and were considered to be the best cricketing nation for most of that decade. With players like Hutton, Compton, May, Cowdrey, Tyson, Trueman, Statham, Bedser , Laker and Lock it's not surprising we were so successful.
What makes the book so good is the clever way the author manages to examine so many other aspects of life, current affairs and society in the 50's and this wider context helps to make the book such an interesting read. I was born in 1952 and did not really start following the great game until 1959/60. Tim's book has really helped to add flesh to my limited knowledge on this happy but austere decade after the Second World War. Looking back now it certainly was another world with Gentlemen v Players, no one-day games, uncovered pitches and no helmets - with fast bowlers coming at you from 18 yards with drag!! Even the batting gloves then gave feeble protection with little rubber spikes! Unfortunately the "throwing" controversy still continues to this day.
Treat yourselves to this wonderful book with a superb selection of evocative photos. If you have any interest in the game you will not regret it and all the proceeds will be going to the Parkinson's UK Charity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Doug Ettridge on 11 Jan 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Quelch's expert account of a previous golden age of English Test cricket is irreverent, amusing, sometimes shocking. Excellent, a great present, or keep it by your bed for reference while waiting for the 4am cricket to get going.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alan Lovell on 23 Jan 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The discussion of the cricket is interesting and provides some insights. The descriptions of the social and political background to the cricket is like a competent student essay. I soon found myself skipping these passages
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Format: Hardcover
The subject matter is fascinating, but the handling is rather poor. The chapters are badly organised, with the author skipping backwards and forwards in time, without obvious purpose. There are also quite a few mistakes - not so much about the cricket, but whenever the author widens his horizons, things go wrong. And it's all rather awkwardly written, as if by a basically ungifted writer, doing their absolute best. And yet I still quite enjoyed it, simply for the resonance of the names (Edrich, Compton, Tyson ...), and the fascinating times through which they passed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent book, well written with reference to bot the cricket and the social context within which matches were played. Highly recommended.
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