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10 out of 10. An Elegy and a Eulogy,
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This review is from: 10 for 10: Hedley Verity and the Story of Cricket’s Greatest Bowling Feat (Kindle Edition)
This is both an extended eulogy to the greatness of Hedley Verity as a cricketer and a man, and a wistful elegy to a lost era of English cricket before the Second World War. It is Monday 11 July 1932. Donald Bradman is the undisputed king of world cricket and Yorkshire are the kings of the English game. Europe is poised between emerging from the Great Depression and descending into brutal conflagration, and cricket is at its own pivot between its Golden Age and the acrimony of the Bodyline series, which is just a few months away. At Headingley, it is pouring with rain, and in an age of uncovered wickets when most spinners would be licking their lips, Hedley Verity is expecting "some fun" but regretting that his work will be too easy the next day. In fact it was going to be easier than for any bowler before or since, as he made hay on a drying pitch to pinch all ten Nottinghamshire second innings wickets for exactly ten runs. The perfection of the figures is beautiful and appropriate, and has never been matched or bettered. Chris Waters takes us forensically through the background, the build-up, the match itself, and the shocking aftermath, and if this sometimes feels like a small subject spun-out into a book-sized delivery, the power of the Hedley Verity story makes this a compelling read all the way through to the close. For me, born in 1960 (and in Lancashire), names like Verity, Leyland, Sutcliffe and Rhodes, were always known (along with their records), but what "10 for 10" does most effectively is to bring these long-gone heroes back to life, and allows us all to wallow in a Golden Age, long ago.