Cricket (1950)

[MUSIC PLAYING] My name is Richardson,
and I happen to have been born in Britain. All peoples have
their peculiarities and their enthusiasms. We are no exception. One of our enthusiasm
is a game whose cause is served by experts and by
those who only stand and wait. And while they wait,
certain preparations solemnly proceeding during
many hours reach that climax. Well, this is Lord’s,
deeply rooted in tradition and in the ritual
tradition brings. Where until the
proper time, no man may enter unless you
have some special access. Well, on this occasion I
have some special access. My name is Ireland. John Ireland. And later on, I’ll be telling
you something about the match. In the meantime, out comes
the old country line measure. 22 yards, 4 rods, poles,
or perches, 1 chain. The length of a cricket pitch. They’re measuring
out the wicket, and that is something of a
ritual, as a matter of fact. It takes many hours of
skillful work over many months to prepare a first-class wicket. And that’s just what this is– a special test wicket. A very revered patch
of English tuft plum in line with
the pavilion door. The test wicket of
all test wickets. Why not Lord’s England
plays Australia? When that happens,
everything has to be just so. To start with, anyway. And while I’ve been working,
the crowds have been gathering. Soon to grow to something
like 30,000 people. To say nothing of those
who had to stay at home and listen on the radio
to people like me. 30,000 people and many
millions throughout the world but time and geography allowed. This game called cricket
had its origin in far places and lives on in
equally quiet places– deep in the hearts
of those who love it. What is it about this
unobtrusive game? What is its magic? For magic it must surely be
that makes men sit and watch and dream of past occasions and
a wistful yearnings never quite fulfilled. Magic it is that makes the
hush when captains meet. The wicket is inspected,
and another test begins. Don Bradman wins the
toss for Australia, and Australia are going to bat. They’re going to get the
first use of this good wicket. And here’s the England
side coming into the field. Yardley leading them, and
here’s Tom Dollery, Jim Laker, Dennis Compton, and Douglas
Wright of Kent at the end. And then after
the pavilion gate, come Australia’s opening
pair, Barnes and Morris. Morris in the cap. And Alec Bedser of
Surrey begins the bowling from the nursery end. Fast medium right arm–
comes in– bowls to Barnes outside the off stump, and
it bounces off Evans’ pads. Bedser again. Bowls again to Barnes,
and again, beats him outside the off stump. And the first
delivers a quiet one. A [INAUDIBLE]. And Alec Coxon of Yorkshire
bowls the second over from the pavilion end. Elbows well out– comes
in– bowls to Morris. Morris forces him
away on the onside, and the Australian
innings is under way. The first runs up on the board. And so another historic
test is underway. Watched by the praise
of half the world. Watched too by appraising
eyes in the pavilion. Eyes that have seen many
a cricketer come and go. For here in the long-rumoured
Lord’s, criticism is restrained. Praise is brief. And only sunny days and
the history are long. Here are pictures that have
captured in eternal attitudes the beginnings of the game. Showing the essence of
this thing called cricket. All thought and
spirit concentrated on a square of green. A subtle battle between a slice
of willow and a round of lever. Days of two stump wickets,
when bats were curved, and the scorer kept the tally
with notches on a stick. Paintings of village
greens in days when cockfighting was rife. Pictures of the high
noon of Victorian peace when cricket had become
part of English education. And Lord’s itself in 1837– then and today, the
acknowledged home of cricket. [SHOUTS] [APPLAUSE] Australia’s innings
has come to a close. The score stands high
and is duly noted. There is time to breathe
until England takes the field. Now cricket in the hands of the
experts is more than a game. It’s a craft, at least. Almost a science. Let’s ask an expert– Bert Rhodes of Derbyshire. The bowler’s on leg break on
this demonstration wicket. Now, there’s the
spinning finger, the third one, see, cuddled
close against the seam. It comes up. Now, this is the
perfect leg break. Watch where it pitches just
outside the line of the leg stump. And it turns enough
to beat the off stump. And now the orthodox,
the natural break, spun off that index
finger, the off break. And this pitches– watch it– outside the line of
the off stump, and it beats the leg stump. Now, that’s the right arm
bowlers orthodox weapon. Let’s see how the
batsman copes with it. As the ball comes down
to him, turning into him, well, all right, he just
lets it hit the bat. And that’s why short
legs fieldsmen were born. Well, perhaps, attack is
the best method of defence. Then comes at off break again. And the batsman hooks
it hard and high over those short leg fieldsmen,
but not over the square leg. There is a way of doing it,
of course, over the ball as it moves in the you and
push it away along the ground as Edrich does this ball from
Lindwall playing it to Barnes. when England earned 27 for 1
which is nothing for Englishmen to be very happy about. And Ray Lindwall is bowling
at full speed to Hutton. That ball is well up to him
and he pushes it away past mid-off for a comfortable 2. Bradman moves around those
hungry Australian slip fieldsmen. And Lindwall, in one
of the finest spells of fast bowling seen in
England since Larwood bowls again, this
time to Edrich. And Edrich pushes him away out
into the covers quite safely. [APPLAUSE] While experts battle,
experts forged the weapons that the use. Good white willow with
a wholesome heart. Long seasons like
the men who shape it. Skilled hands practicing
a long established craft. But wasn’t John Small, the
cobbler, making cricket balls at Hambledon 200 years ago? Since then, the craft has grown. And yet there still remains
the steadiness of eye and the hand that
sows the seams. Seams that in the bowler’s
hands will give the hidden feel for breaks and twists. Seams to withstand the
onslaught of the bat, for the heart of a bat
is firm and its blows have strength and punch. Yes, its got punch
all right– power. And it doesn’t get
there by accident. Take the handle now with its
cane and rubber springing to whip because it’s got to
when a Hutton or a Bradman drives a fast bowler far away. There’s got to be good splicing
for that kind of thing, too, but cricket and craftsmanship
go hand in hand. And when handle meets
blade in a cricket bat, you’ve got a real
piece of craftsmanship. It’s the same with the
ball– sewn firm and tight. And when it’s done, a durable,
balanced projectile carefully weighed, and
measured, and graded as precise in its making as
the hands that will use it. As precise– well, as
precise as a cricket bat. First class weapons–
one designed to break or swing and beat
the bat, and the other to fathom the
tricks of the bowler and send the ball far away. And it takes Doug
Wright at number 11 with a wild swing
over the bowler’s head sky high up there
into the long field to save England
from the follow on. And Ray Lindwall with four
wickets already in the match, bowls again from the pavilion
end and bowls Alec Bedser. And England are
all out for 215– 135 behind Australia
on the first innings. Going to be some long faces in
the printing room at this news. It’s quite an
organisation down there. They keep abreast with
the play, recording the fall of each
wicket and the scores, so that late arrivals can pick
up the score in detail straight away as they come in. With Australia 135
in front, they’ll probably think that’s a
pretty sad threepenny worth. But now Australia have
started their second innings. Bedser bowls the bonds. It’s in swing and Barnes puts
it away down to long leg. Run comes Hutton
yelling at long leg and there’s a quick low
throw to Godfrey Evans. And now Wright bowls to
Morris, and he’s out! [APPLAUSE] When a wicket falls or a hit is
made, those behind the scenes spring into action. What they record will go
speeding over land and ocean. When a batsman strikes,
the whole world outside will want to know the score. And when they know
it, they’ll cast an envious thought to those
who sat at Lord’s and watch. And there goes
Barnes magnificently caught by Washbrook
at long arm for 141. And Australia now 431 in front. And now here comes
Lindsay Hassett, the vice captain to face
up to Norman Yardley. I suppose waiting for
the earlier batsman, he’s had his pads on for
best part of four hours. Well, he doesn’t need to
keep him running any longer. [APPLAUSE] Meanwhile the Don bats on. Don Bradman on his last test
tour and playing his last test innings at Lord’s. Don Bradman, the
pride of Australia and the despair of England. But whichever side one favours,
who can better claim a master? Bradman who’s name now
joins the golden pageant. And it is a golden pageant. Let’s look at just
a few of them. Silver Billy Beldham of
Hambledon who in the 1780s became the first great batsman. William Lillywhite,
the Nonpareil, the man who changed bowling
from underarm to round arm. William Clarke, the one-eyed
Nottingham bricklayer who with his All-England Eleven
spread the gospel of cricket all through the country. The Lion of Kent, Alfred
Mynn, the great fast bowler of the 1840s and ’50s. Spofforth the demon
bowler from Australia who in the great
test of 1882 even took the wicket of the Old Man. WG Grace, the Gloucestershire
country doctor who turned a rustic sport into
the science of modern cricket. The first man to score a
century before luncheon at test, Victor Trumper. Ranji and the bowler
who suspended the laws of timing, Maurice Tate. Clarrie Grimmett,
the most accurate of all leg break
bowlers, a problem even for England’s great opening
pair Jack Hobbs of Surrey and his imperturbable Yorkshire
partner Herbert Sutcliffe. Jack Hobbs, the modern
master, who in the 1930s resigned his supremacy to
a young man from Bowral. Donald George Bradman. A pageant of 170
years of cricketers on whom the sun always shines– in retrospect anyway. But cricket casts its
own peculiar glow. And in the years to come,
this day two of rain and cloud will be sunlit in the memory. Will rain stop play? Anxious eyes survey the wicket. Willing hands turn, too. But fate is kind and
the battle is renewed. All through a cloudy
afternoon, they struggle on. The English batsmen,
extra careful, heavily conscious of
each wicket as it falls. England want 596 to
win and Hutton’s out. Out for 13 and England
42 for one wicket. And now Toshack bowls to Edrich. Ian Johnson catches
him at first slip. Edrich is out. England 52 for two
wickets and in trouble. That will harry them and depress
them in the printing room. Well, with two
wickets gone for 52, England are in a lot of trouble. Indeed, almost
everything depends on the man who now comes
out of the pavilion– Denis Compton. And with Hutton gone,
England’s last real hope. So they fight on– a battle of muscle,
sinew, and eye. Well, this is cricket at
its finest calling forth the quality deep in men. The calmness of a Compton
on a sticky wicket when the world is watching,
steadiness of nerve and quick agility. To be a Hobbs, a Sutcliffe,
a Bradman, or a Compton– the heroes changed
with the years, but the dream to be a cricketer
lives on in every generation. And the heroes pass on
their knowledge for cricket is a part of the very substance
of a country’s education. But the game knows no class
and indeed no frontier. In the West Indies Australia,
New Zealand, India, under the shadow
of Table Mountain, developing the same qualities in
men, regardless of background, colour, or creed. England 106 for three on
an impossible 490 to win. Impossible? Well, Compton is still there. And he has Big Bill Johnston
with that bucking, bridling run coming in to bowl to him. Compton is out, England’s
last hope of the impossible. And now, Toshack bowls to Coxon. Toshack thinks he’s out. Umpire thinks he’s out. Coxon thinks it’s a shame. Now, it’s all over bar shouting. The day wears on. Another game is lost and won. Well, perhaps not quite. Defeat has come to England,
and to Australia victory. Australia takes the Ashes. But victory is the least
that men play cricket for. They play it for
a host of reasons, ill-defined and hard to see. On school grounds, on city
street, on village green, they play on, for the urge
wells deep from the quiet place in men and in the
land they spring from. [MUSIC PLAYING]

19 thoughts on “Cricket (1950)

  1. I wonder how the batsmen of today would have gone against the bowlers of that era. I have a feeling they'd get flogged.

  2. Simply splendid! Many cricketers of the 20s & 30s make an appearance in this video, don't they? I thought I saw Jack Hobbs, Herbert Sutcliffe, Dennis Compton among others.

  3. Now Leanne Woods you know what your attempting to stop playing ! Or maybe you have a different style of play from men ?

  4. such a beautiful video of such beautiful times in England. Now all I hear from England is the motherfkrs screaming jihad and sharia. Take back England oh English people.

  5. I think the  50's was a much better time, to have lived in.   I think the times that we are living in now, have really changed for the Worse !

  6. So many many comments..all saying what we all know…our country has changed for the worst Im afraid…really sad. In my lifetime I have seen it systematically destroyed,bit by bit..criminal??


  8. Scorecard of this Test:

  9. Ah, those were the days of 5day test matches. Now I believe, it is 40 overs per innings! Pass me another corn beef sandwich Mr. Arlott.

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