Norman ‘Mandy’ Mitchell-Innes, 1914-2006

Cricket has such a long history, with deep offshoots at every turn, that it is next to impossible to know it all. Inevitably some people know more than others, and this is especially true at Cricinfo as I’m sure it is with other media organisations. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.

Ancient history is not mine, but even my ears pricked up this morning when I heard of the death of Norman Mandy Mitchell-Innes who died on December 28. His is a fascinating story, as those from that era often are. He played his sole Test against South Africa in 1935 while still at Oxford University and it was for his uni that he most excelled in the game. As I found out today:

In all, he played 132 first-class matches, scoring 6944 runs – with 13 centuries – at an average of 31.42. He also took 82 wickets at 34.79 apiece. A precocious talent, he once scored 302 not out in a house match for Sedburgh during a single afternoon, causing The Sedberghian to report: “Such cricketers rarely come this way.”

I knew little of him before 8.30am this morning but, in getting the report up for Cricinfo, I’m now far less ignorant and can now bore my mates beyond rigid. Still not sure why he earned the nickname Mandy though…

Peter the Lord’s cat

Peter the Lord\'s Cat: And Other Unexpected Obituaries from Wisden

Saw this reviewed in a newspaper today, and it looks well worth buying. I might even get it myself unless I can borrow one from work.

In 2005, Aurum republished with success, J.L. Carr’s miniature and classic “Dictionary of Extra-Ordinary Cricketers” – the book reprinted within a few months. Now, in its first collaboration with John Wisden & Co., publishers of the celebrated annual “Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack”, it publishes a similarly eccentric gallery of quixotic and eccentric cricketers, edited by acclaimed cricket writer Gideon Haigh. But where readers of J.L. Carr were never quite sure whether the author had somehow embellished – or even completely invented – the facts about the cricketers he anthologised, the esoteric details and mad whimsies recorded in these obituaries are exactly as they appeared in the august pages of the Almanack itself. Thus, we read of Anthony Ainley, who besides a claim to fame of playing the Master in “Dr. Who”, opened the batting clad in “sunblock, helmet and swimming goggles” and always took his teas alone in his car, “possibly because he despised cheeses of all kinds”.” There is the Rev. Reginald Heber Ross, whose two first-class cricket appearances were separated by a record 32 years. And there is the much-lamented loss of Peter the Cat, who frequented the pavilion at Lord’s for many years. He gets his own obituary.

Peter the Lord’s Cat: And Other Unexpected Obituaries from Wisden – £7.18. Check out the “cricket_books” tag or this post for some book recommendations.

The death of G.O.Jones

From Patrick:

On nights like these, when I am stuck in the Times office in soulless Wapping, the arrival of the following day’s newspapers sends a wee buzz of excitement through me. Flicking, as one does, to the obituaries section, I was astonished to see on page 61 that a certain “G. O. Jones” had passed away on the eve of the Old Trafford Test. Was this finally Chris Read’s big chance?

No, instead of Geraint Owen, the England wicketkeeper, it is Gwyn Owain, a physicist, who is no longer with us. As one colleague just said: “I presume if it was Geraint who had died, it wouldn’t be because he had caught something.”


Fred Trueman dies

Fred Trueman, the former England and Yorkshire fast bowler, has died aged 75 to cancer. More at Cricinfo.

My thoughts on him tonight.