The Return of JP Cornford

MEDIA RELEASE

After weeks of rumours and speculation, JP Cornford has announced that he will return to cricket at Marcus E Curnow’s  40 BIG BASH on September 10 & 11. After struggling with long-term injury and a little-known-about gambling addiction, Cornford has stated that he now feels ready again in body and mind to do battle at 22 yards:

“What better place to wield the willow again than amongst the cloud of witnesses who will be gathering for the legendary Marcus E Curnow’s 40 BIG BASH. This will be a clash of the titans, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world”.

Bookies have ruthlessly predicted a dismal duck for Cornford’s first innings back, but Cornford himself is more optimistic:

“I’m just looking to play my natural game, take each ball as it comes, back myself and have fun. If I can spend half an hour out there, accumulate 8 or 9 runs, some of them off the bat, and still walk the next day, I’ll be happy.”

Despite damaging rumours about his after hours conduct, Cornford has confirmed that he will stay for the evening celebrations.

For interviews, contact marcus@goodcricket.com.au

Curnow and Cornford Jan 2002. Curnow: "We're batting at 'the G', do you think you could have at least put your thigh pad on properly?" Cornford: "A least my pads are white!"

 

 

Test Cricket & Time

Test cricket is not a three-hour Bollywood epic, or an ’80s-style four-hour Springsteen concert, or even a day at the beach. Test cricket junkies are more than just quantifiable “consumers” of cricket; they are emotional participants in an unscripted drama that becomes days of their lives.

– Sharda Ugra “The Sport That Makes Clocks Melt”

Barkly Street 4th XI vs. Sunshine Heights 2008-9

Good Cricket Allround Moments:

I found this on the Sunshine Heights CC Annual Report 2008-9 and smiled about my memories of one of those ‘first vs. last’ encounters that good cricket is all about!  -Marcus 🙂

Round 4 saw us on the road again and getting a bit of a habit to Robert Barrett playing Barkly St Uniting (First v Last). After a flying start with the bat our top 3 batsmen had us looking at 300 with a quick out field, Jakovich 32, Andrew 64 and once again Barnard 31 and the team 2/130 after 22 over’s, then a slow partnership, me getting run out on 25 and not happy throwing my bat we collapsed with 3 quick wickets in succession making 8/180 (at least 30/40 runs short of what we needed). We got 3 early wickets but the 4th wicket out played us putting on 70 run partnership and captain finishing us off with a fine 85 and 3 over’s to spare and clearly out played us.

Bat Making with Lachlan Fisher

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Photos by Ben Liney www.benliney.com (all rights reserved)

For my last birthday, family and friends chipped in for an experience of learning how to make my own cricket bat with Lachlan Fisher at his Williamstown Road workshop in Footscray.

Not only is Lachlan a master bat maker but he stands in a unique tradition as a grower of Australian willow.

The best quality cricket bats have traditionally been made only of top grade willow grown in England’s ideal climate and conditions.  For a period from the early 1900’s however, RM Crockett & Sons grew willow on Shepherds Flat in Daylesford, Victoria from which they made bats at a factory in Charles Street, Seddon; just around the corner from where Fisher is now based.

These Australian bats were used by players of the stature of Linsday Hassett, Peter Burge and Norm O’Neil, who promoted the ubiquitous ‘Dynamaster’ of the late 1950’s-60’s.

In 2003-4, Gideon Haigh wrote of the rise and eventual fall of the Daylesford plantation and of the family business through corporate takeover which saw an end to cricket bat production from Australian willow.  He concluded…

“…But thirty years after Crockett’s felling, shoots are emerging from the undergrowth.  When independent bat manafacturer Lachlan Fisher set out his stall in 1989 after working for Maddocks Sports, his interest in the Crockett story was kindled by meeting Harry Preston, a veteran of the old firm and a staunch advocate of the merits of Australian willow. Like all Australian batmakers, Fisher is reliant on imported raw materials; Preston inspired him to open a nursery in Dayelsford selling willow cuttings to farmers, with the intent of buying back the trees when they matured. ‘In the South of Victoria, the dormancy period and growing season of the trees are very similar to those in England’ he says. ‘And the weight, the performance, the grain of the bats are little different.’

Preston never saw his dream come true.  He died in January 2003 of emphysema from a lifetime of inhaling cane dust while turning bat handles.  But Fisher will soon begin harvesting willow from a host of small plots around Victoria, mostly in Gippsland:  Each tree yields about twenty five clefts.  It may not be too long before traditional Australian steel is again reinforced by non traditional Australian wood.”   (ABC Cricket Book 2003-4)

Even since this was written, much has changed in our world and in cricket.

As we worked on the bat it was fascinating to be able to talk about what had happened to particular plantations since that time, given the variable climate and its effect upon the quality of the wood.  Beyond weather, the climate has of course been variable in many other ways; with the unprecedented high value of the Australian dollar; the rise and rise of the Indian economy (and cricket); and the shrinking of local demand, providing many challenges for the production of a truly Australian cricket bat.

Learning about such things made the experience of spending time with Lachlan all the more precious.  One becomes aware that there is a lot more behind any given ‘stick’ that one picks up when going out to bat.

Learning how to work the old tools (like the draw knife and spoke shaves) in order to make something ‘new’ works as a good description of what ‘Good Cricket All-round’s’ work of ‘re-creating the commons’ is all about.

Thanks to Rachael, Chris and Katherine for enabling some ‘beautiful connections’ through cricket and to Ben Liney for the beautiful pictures.

-Marcus

www.fisherbats.com.au

Continue reading “Bat Making with Lachlan Fisher”

Date queries ‘Fire in Babylon’

The title, Fire in Babylon, promised much. But do you really think that Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards (KNH, OBE) and Cuthbert Gordon Greenidge (MBE) were in any way pioneering post-colonial heroes?

…batsmen before them had been the best in the world in their time. But those players played before the Age of Television, before the Age of Packer, before the age of handsome contracts in County Cricket.

I kept thinking back to Sobers. I wonder what he would say about Fire in Babylon.

– Kartikeya Date (Fire in Babylon and West Indian Cricket – A Cricketing View)

Reconciliation Week Cricket Clinic in Bairnsdale

I was honoured to represent Cricket Victoria and be part of the Reconciliation Week Cricket Clinic at Bairnsdale West Primary School.  I was joined by Victorian Imparja Cup Coach Stuart Clark and Team Captain Alex Kerr.  Paul West does an inspiring job on behalf of both the school and Lucknow Cricket Club…  Now that’s good cricket all round!

-Marcus