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The 2nd Ashes Test starts later this week, with England looking to stem the momentum Australia gained with their win in Brisbane. Earlier this year (see my June blog Holding back the years) I had the pleasure of meeting Bob Taylor, who played 14 of his 17 Ashes tests on tour between December 1978 and
January 1983.

I recorded and edited a long interview he did with author Stephen Chalke for the High Peak Cricket Society, which has now been transferred onto an hour long CD to mark their 20th anniversary. The CD is only available to HPCS members, but it was an enjoyable project to do, and one I would welcome the chance to do again for other societies across the country.

Bob’s nickname in his playing days was “chat”. It was very appropriate. His recollection of his life in the game, the characters he played with and the major matches was very clear, with Stephen needing to do only minimal prompting to steer the conversation.

As a writer, he is much more into cricket’s history and its older characters, so much so that his next major project is a book on the County Championship
which he thinks could take two years to research.

One of his recent subjects was Micky Stewart, father of former Surrey and England wicket keeper Alec, and no mean player in his own right. Together they came to the Cheltenham Cricket Society and provided an enjoyable evening typical of those staged through the closed season up and down the country.

The Council of Cricket Societies, 20 of them in all, has Dennis Amiss as President, and the guest list
at Cheltenham alone in the last few years has been impressive – Mike Selvey, John Barclay, the late Mike Denness, and Vikram Solanki to name a few. For cricket enthusiasts, it is an ideal antidote to the long winter nights, at least until England can find their form again.

To find a Cricket Society near you, go to : http://councilcricketsocieties.com

Photograph : Copyright Robert Wood

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