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Rediscovering the Values of English Cricket

With English cricket in the doldrums, we turn to the final page of David Underwoods story of cricket and culture in eighteenth century England, State of Play, to remind us we have been here before and where we might turn to for help ...

"It's easy to be pessimistic, even paranoid, about crickets future, especially in the country where it originated.

Anyone who has watched English cricket over the years searches in vain for the players who convey the sense of enjoyment that was recognisable in players of the calbre of Denis Compton, Fred Trueman, David Gower, Ian Botham and Derek Randall.

Through all the disasters at the higher levels, cricket has survived in the localities because people want to play it for fun, not money, an outlook which the ninth Earl of Winchelsea would have approved; 'a game for the low, and the great'.

If cricket is to survive in any worthwhile form, we need to rediscover its values as it has been (and sometimes still is) played at Taunton, Worcester, Cheltenham, Canterbury and Hambledon. It may help us to do this if we reflect on the way it was played, more than two centuries ago, on Broadhalfpenny Down."

David Underdowns "final page" has been edited by David Henderson for brevity.

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