Anyone who has ever read my match previews for Deep Extra Cover will know that I am a huge fan of Wayne Madsen. It’s hard not to have a lot of time for a player with his level of skill, with his leadership qualities and who, frankly, is just a really nice guy. There’s a reason he’s always my first port of call at the annual Media Day at the 3AAA – he has a lot of time for the press and is blessed with one of the biggest smiles around.
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. I have no doubt that if I asked around the members and fans of Derbyshire CCC, I’d be hard pressed to find one person who didn’t hold Madsen in high esteem. As Steve Dolman says in his new book In their own words, in which he interviews some of Derbyshire CCC’s greats, Madsen has to be considered one of the best Derbyshire batsmen of the post-war era.
That Madsen will go down in Derbyshire history can be taken as read, but what about others? Who else takes a spot in that history? Dolman’s book looks over Derbyshire players and staff throughout the modern era, roughly the period since the Second World War, beginning with the 99 year old Walter Goodyear who was the head groundsman at Derby from 1938 and finishing with the county’s current Chief Executive, Chris Grant.
In between, you can meet some of the most esteemed names of Derbyshire’s past – fast bowler Harold Rhodes, one of the club’s most famous seamers who started life as a spinner; Tony Borrington, who made 70 on his first team debut while sporting a bad case of tonsillitis; Brian Jackson, who once took 8-18 against Warwickshire; Keith Mohan, who played only ten first-class matches for the side, but became a Derbyshire legend just the same; and the club’s most recent departure, Graeme Welch.
Set out in a simple question and answer format, the anecdotes are interesting, quirky and as funny as anecdotes should be, and yet there’s something a little different here. Rather than just interviewing batsmen and bowlers, and chronicling their favourite outings and earliest memories, Dolman looks beyond the changing room: he interviews grounds men, coaching staff and management. It makes for a fuller, more rounded story; a look at Derbyshire from all angles, if you will.
But of course, the players are central to the plot and this piece covers almost every player a Falcons fan could think of. If there is one criticism to be given, it’s that Dominic Cork and Kim Barnett are absent, but perhaps their stories are known well enough.
Dolman’s book is a compendium of tales and gossip, history and reminiscence about a county that is too often overlooked. What comes through the pages is more than facts, more than memories and more than Dolman’s own excellent knowledge of the game – what comes through more than anything is a passion for Derbyshire County Cricket club, which is perhaps a snippet of the author’s own history, a fan’s memories, and it makes the read all the more worthwhile.
In their own words: Derbyshire cricketers in conversation by Steve Dolman is available now from Pitch Publishing for £16.99
Fortunately for our lovely readers however we have a copy of the book to give away! All you have to do is Tweet us (@deepextra_cover and @pitchpublishing) using the hashtag #InTheirOwnWords with your answer to the following question:
In what year did Derbyshire win the Benson & Hedges cup?