James Cory-Wright’s Digested Month … is bowled over

Lewes women footballers, Tatiana and Rhian in action. Tatiana in blue strip is running forward with the ball. Rhian in red and black strip, is beside her making a forward run.
Goalie Tatiana in action with skipper Rhian Cleverley. See below: Tatiana: a Lewes legend. Photo credit: James Boyes / Wikimedia Commons

Cricket heaven is in Sussex 

I have never got over losing my autograph book. In pride of place were the signatures of all the 1967 Rest of the World XI with some of the greatest cricketers of all time, including Gary Sobers and Graeme Pollock. They were playing Sussex at the County Ground in Hove, arguably the most gentle place on planet Earth with its velvety grass like a bed, the reassuring murmur of its modest crowd, a smattering of applause, dozy deckchairs, even the burr of a Sussex accent – you might find it here. Time passing. 

It’s 150 years since Sussex County Cricket Club started playing at Eaton Road in Hove. Field of Dreams by Patrick Ferriday and James Mettyear is a new book out that tells the story of this quintessentially mellow Sussex mecca. The history is covered with an easy touch, and is complemented by a wide range of vignettes based on interviews with people who have been coming to Eaton Road for as long as they can remember. And in their stories and their lives they capture some of what it is to be ‘Sussexy’ in a nutshell.

Cover of the book Field of Dreams features a crowd beside a road in the foreground watching cricket at the county ground. Behind them are cars, typical of those in the 1950s. In the background are cricketers at the Sussex county ground, and behind the the stands packed with spectators.

For myself I’ll never know which was the more enjoyable and important. Was it savouring every moment watching the moody fast bowler John Snow, gliding up the slope to lay waste to the opposition? Or was it the lunch and tea breaks when we’d spring over the boundary rope onto the hallowed turf to enact great cricket moments of our own with bat and tennis ball. The stuff of dreams… and sandwiches.

Tatiana: a Lewes legend

Who gets to see a goalkeeper score a goal? A record-breaking 2,300 crowd at the Dripping Pan got to celebrate Lewes FC bring an end to league winners Liverpool’s 20-match unbeaten streak, courtesy of a remarkable 70-yard winning goal by Lewes keeper Tatiana Saunders. 

It was as if the gods were smiling because not only was she awarded the player of the match, but Saunders also deserved recognition for her understated contribution all season. Needless to say, I didn’t actually witness the goal myself, as I was queuing for a pint of Numb Angel in the Rook Inn as the roar went up from the Lewes faithful. Ho hum.

A tale of two Borises 

For ‘British Boris’ everything is an accident, an oversight, a misjudgement, a simple mistake, an apology. For ‘German Boris’ it’s jail. Do not pass GO. For shoplifters, fine-dodgers, junkies, drug dealers, the mentally ill, protesters etc, justice seems to come relatively swiftly.

Part of a Monopoly board, featuring the In Jail corner of the board, and above it the game's orange Get Out of Jail Free card
That ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card. Photo credit: Lissa Ann Photography / Creative Commons

But British Boris reminds us that with anything to do with the ‘Establishment’ it’s the long grass – the enquiry, the report, the investigation, the review. Roughly 125 years in total for Bloody Sunday, Stephen Lawrence, Hillsborough, the Birmingham Six, the sub post managers, and Grenfell, to name but a few. And now from a similar playbook, Covid, Partygate, Sue Gray and even the admiration of tractors.

Missing a true rock god

In contrast, we turn to the acme of anti-establishment. Watching Classic Albums (Sky Arts) on the making of Ace of Spades by Motörhead reminded me of what a loss they are, especially Ian Kilminster Esq, better known as Lemmy. Last time I saw them live I was already too old not to have known better and spent most of the gig flinching from the pain in my ears.

Motörhead have been measured at 130 decibels, exceeding the so-called “Threshold of Pain” which is 120 decibels. But it was never about the pain, it was a pilgrimage. To pay respect to a true rock god – utterly unreconstructed and uncompromising, a man scornful of analysis or levity, all of which smelt suspiciously of the Establishment.

This is the man who sang “…gambling’s for fools/But that’s the way I like it baby/ I don’t wanna live for ever/ And don’t forget the joker!”, the nuanced Love me like a reptile and the prescient Killed by death. So I guess he saw it coming down the track. 

The late guitarist Lemmy of Motorhead in typical pose, in black shirt, black confederate hat and sunglasses
Rebel rocker: Lemmy in 2008. Photo credit: Kris Krug / WordPress Openverse

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