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Twenty-One Years of the ACS
by Richard Streeton
Chapter 9 - The Journal and Its Editors



Derek Lodge In completing the story of the ACS's financial recovery, several other important events were by-passed and chief among these was the resignation of Robert Brooke from the editorship of the Journal. Brooke was never going to come to terms with the prospect of working alongside a five-man editorial board set up by the committee in April, 1985, after it was decided that the Journal should be given a face-lift. Brooke remained on the board and the committee but nine months later he also resigned from these. Brooke edited the first 52 issues of The Cricket Statistician and admitted to the author that he was prouder and had drawn more satisfaction from this job than from any other aspect of his extensive work in cricket. He was also unstinting in his praise for the assistance and guidance he received for several years from Gordon Tratalos, who for a time, was recognised as assistant editor before failing health intervened. Brooke insisted on the highest standards from his contributors in terms of original thinking, readability and variety. His own idiosyncratic writing and thoughts at times - notably in some trenchant book reviews worthy of Rowland Bowen - were an additional asset to pages which were seldom dull. Some samples of `Robert Brooke Sayings', culled at random, confirm the point.



Oct. 1974: 'I would like to make a few comments on the make-up of the MCC team to Australia. But words fail me.'
Oct. 1978: 'In our experience no ACS member has written a bad cricket book.'
Dec. 1980: 'It is as far removed from cricket as Lawn Tennis is from Royal Tennis - a fresh game should mean a fresh title.' (A comment on floodlit fixtures).
Jun. 1981: 'This appears year by year so somebody must buy it. Why?' (A review of a TCCB booklet).
Oct. 1981: 'So far as we are aware this is the first match between these two countries and the ACS immediately requested its expert on Czech cricket, Antonin Novotny, as to the status ... Moscow has not given a ruling but naturally we will keep members informed.' (A newspaper misprint lists Czechoslovakia v Wales in the cricket fixtures).
Dec. 1981: 'It is hard to prevent a middle-aged and backward-looking image, when most of the contributors are middle-aged and backward-looking people.' (More articles from junior members are sought).
Jun. 1982: 'Iconoclastic we may be but were it not for the iconoclasts of history, a flat earth would still be the centre of the universe, with the sun and stars fixed in revolving spheres.' (Reaction to accurate ACS research being deemed unacceptable).
Oct. 1983: 'An organisation whose committee becomes remote from its membership is a failed organisation. It is the committee's duty to keep in touch with the membership; it is also the membership's duty to keep in touch with the committee.' (Members are urged to attend the London meeting).
Oct. 1989: 'A reminder that one should search one's own backyard before hurling well merited abuse at Romania.' (The Hastings ground is lost for development at a time when civil strife erupts in eastern Europe).
Aug. 1991: 'Strangely one's memory suggests it was not a boring innings; rather was it similar to one of the Tom Dollery restaurant's rock cakes - hard, solid, rock like, heavy going but somehow fascinating.' (Recollections of a lengthy 97 not out at Edgbaston by Derbyshire's John Kelly).
Oct. 1991: 'We are human, like you Peter: if you prick us, we bleed.' (Peter Roebuck is rebuked for belittling left-handers).
Mar. 1993: 'The hysterical animosity directed against the tobacco industry and the users of its products is sickening to the reviewer - a life long non-smoker and asthmatic to boot. After fags - what next?' (Support for Benson & Hedges to continue their sponsorship).




Brooke's resignation was accompanied in the 1985 Winter Journal, the last he edited, by a dignified, valedictory statement in which he admitted that for some time there had been disagreement on the Journal's content and editorial policy. He said there had doubtless been faults on all sides ... 'Commercial considerations, and therefore a more popular approach I had deliberately ignored throughout my editorship: they are now to be given importance and I no longer feel part of the set-up ...' As Brooke vacated the editor's chair, he was embroiled in a controversy that must be touched on for the sake of the record. Brooke was the author of The Collins Who's Who of English First-class Cricket 1945-1984. Brooke, in his introduction, John Woodcock, the editor of Wisden, in the foreword and the publishers in their advertising matter, all referred to Brooke as the founder of the ACS without any mention of Dennis Lambert as co-founder. It was doubtless an unintentional oversight on everyone's part, with an original mistake perpetuated down the line. Lambert quite rightly was offended and several acrimonious letters passed between the parties. Not much could be done but Collins gave an assurance that the offending references would be revised if the book was re-printed. Less serious, though it jarred on some, was Brooke's decision to ignore ACS research in this book and to leave traditional career figures unamended, though in fact not many were involved in the years the book covered. Brooke admitted in his introduction that his attitude had changed over the years and that he did not feel he had 'the authority or the moral justification to change old accepted cricket records.'



Brooke, of course, had every right to use whatever figures he wished but his decision, inevitably, brought renewed debate and confusion to this issue and tended to leave him further isolated from long standing ACS colleagues. Fortunately any rifts in personal relationships caused by this episode receded as time passed and Brooke certainly has never been absent for long from the list of active ACS workers. He and Lambert became the first honorary life members to be elected when this category was introduced in 1987 and Brooke, incidentally, remains the only ACS member never to have missed an AGM. Two other life members have been elected since: Peter Wynne-Thomas in 1990 and Ken Trushell in 1993. Brooke proposed that his successor as editor of the Journal should be John Stockwell, an astute thinker and assiduous ACS worker, and he was to prove an excellent choice. The Spring edition for 1986 was the first under Stockwell's direction and the editorial board's influence, coupled with a fresh hand on the helm, soon became apparent in a number of changes in style and content. There was no loss of originality in the articles and leaders but more telling use was made of pictures; members' letters were published regularly for the first time; and increased space was given to one-day cricket. A subtle change of emphasis also brought on occasion, more articles on both historical and topical subjects, with fewer statistical lists evident.



Overall the pages were more tightly sub-edited and the writing more disciplined, Members' letters still appear and give the writers the chance to be more involved. They have yielded a lot of useful information and also the odd nugget of oblique humour, something the very nature of a statistician's Journal usually precludes. Two examples from the Autumn, 1991, issue can be cited and always make the author smile. Steven Draper, a Leeds member, wrote that he was puzzled by another correspondent's claim that 'We all remember the summer of 1953.' Draper went on: 'Try as I might I cannot bring it to mind. Does anyone else have this problem? Does being born in 1958 have something to do with it?' In the same issue David Kendix, who has occasionally scored for Middlesex, recalled watching a match in 1988 in which his county batted twice and did not bowl. 'I saw it as an oddity at the time, certainly not as a potential world record - but then three days sitting in the rain at Derby would dampen anyone's statistical sensitivity!' Stockwell was responsible for launching the statistical survey series, which started with the 1864 season. He lived in Wales and never found it easy to attend committee meetings. A new business venture caused him to resign after he had edited only nine Journals but his imprint, however, remains visible on the pages to this day.



Stockwell was also chairman of the Limited Overs Cricket Information Group (LOCIG) and he handled the negotiation in 1985 when it amalgamated with the ACS. LOCIG came into being in 1977 when its joint instigators, Terry Alcock and Christopher Fuke, did not feel that the one-day game was being given proper recognition in ACS publications. Most LOCIG members were also in the ACS and the advantages of a merger gradually became clear to everyone as the years went by. LOCIG's remaining stock passed to the ACS, who had guaranteed regular space for one-day cricket in the Journal and who had also undertaken to publish LOCIG's annual survey of the instant game. This last commitment was responsible indirectly for generating the idea of the ACS International Year Book, which, as the first annual anywhere to list seasonal and career figures for every country's players, has brought the ACS world-wide kudos. Peter Wynne-Thomas must be credited with the idea, though Vic Isaacs, the Hampshire scorer and an ACS committee man for seven years from 1981 onwards, may have planted the seed in Wynne-Thomas's mind. During discussions about commercialising the Journal, Isaacs suggested that the December issue each year should be devoted to all players' annual performances. The first ACS year book appeared in 1986 and proved extremely popular. When Hamlyn's withdrew their financial support after two issues, it was a brave decision by the ACS committee to go ahead at short notice and bring out the 1988 annual without help.



It was not feasible to include career figures but sales' continuity was maintained and from 1989 the annual reverted to being a complete record and its stature has continued to rise unabated. Philip Bailey was helped by Stockwell and Wynne-Thomas with the first three year books but has been responsible for all those since virtually single-handed. In spite of Bailey's multifarious responsibilities for the ACS, he agreed to follow Stockwell as editor of the Journal and has maintained the quality established by his two predecessors. Bailey (born 1953), a quiet, retiring man, and a perfectionist by nature, would be nominated by most of his peers as possessing the most phenomenal brain for cricket statistics in the business. Bailey's mind invariably seems more agile than anyone else's where figures are concerned and his memory is extraordinary. He has had a hand in the majority of the statistics in ACS booklets and has also revelled in tracing birth and death certificates and other sources for previously unsuspected information. Bailey was about 12 when he first discovered the mental stimulation to be had from bringing up to date Roy Webber's books. He gained a degree in mathematics at Cambridge University and by profession is a computer programmer for the London Borough of Lewisham, dealing mainly with poll tax rebate and housing benefit systems. Bailey's other hobby is bridge and he has been chosen for England trials and might well have progressed further if his cricket work had permitted him to devote more time to the game.



Bailey's ambition is to produce a world-wide who's who of all first-class cricketers in history - with photographs where feasible - and also a list of corrected scores for Wisden since it first appeared. Anyone who knows Bailey would not rule out these mind boggling tasks being achieved. In addition to the year book 1986 also saw the start of the Famous Cricketers' booklets and these have sold extremely well, not least to non-members. They have the additional merit of providing opportunities for new ACS authors and, at the time of writing, this series has been the last the ACS has launched. Jack Hobbs was an appropriate No. 1 in every respect as the first subject to have his career detailed innings by innings. Bill Ponsford was the second cricketer the ACS featured and the series has progressed with a nostalgic mixture of the truly renowned and some slightly less familiar. Among these have been J.C.Clay and F.A.Tarrant, who in 1991, was No.11 in the series and this booklet had the distinction of being the 200th that the ACS had produced.



There was an element of chance about how the ACS came to be its publisher. Derek Lodge, the author, originally intended that this should be published by the Cricket Society, whose Journal does not usually carry such detailed, statistical offerings. Publication by the Cricket Society, however, proved to be impracticable and this was to be the ACS's good fortune. Lodge (1929-1996) joined the ACS committee late in 1989 and is best known for his work as the Cricket Society's statistical officer from 1974. He was the society's vice-chairman, editor of the Middlesex CCC year book and had also built up a reputation as a compiler of cricket quiz questions over the years. Lodge retired from the Civil Service's Office of Arts and Libraries in 1989, after which he worked for two charities. A keen road runner he completed 11 marathons and he was also a Chiltern District councillor in Buckinghamshire. Lodge passed away in July 1996 after a year's battle with cancer, despite which he continued his work for the two Societies all along. Just two weeks before his death he finished work on the Don Bradman book in the Famous Cricketers series. He will be missed by the other members of the committees for his hard work.



(Footnote: portions of this chapter relating to Derek Lodge and the Famous Cricketers books have been updated in July 1996 by Peter Griffiths and Rick Eyre.)


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