By David Bedwell
The small English country market town where I grew up had a population of 4,000 according to 1948
electoral role. It was typical of country lifestyle during the immediate post world war two era.
The Surviving Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen had mostly all returned to their home towns after years of
conflict some sadly with severe wounds causing permanent disability.
My interest in sport had started well before my father becomes the captain of the local town second eleven cricket
team. As an eight year old I was allowed to go to some of the matches in the
surrounding villages when there was a spare seat in one of the player’s cars.
My Heroes were Dennis Compton and Godfrey Evans and my villains were All the Australian
Dominator's in particular Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller who over the years had almost single handedly
destroyed the English Batting Order.
When the 1948 Don Bradman led tourists played Cambridge University at Fenners I
was taken by my Father to see the match, even now after having seen the most of the fastest bowlers of the world in
action I can truthfully say that Ray Lindwall was the “Rolls Royce of them all”
He was poetry in motion with the odd bouncer thrown in.
Are you now hopefully starting to detect a connection between sport and returning disabled
servicemen in post war rural England?
The local weekly paper in my hometown had a whole page dedicated to sport in the summer. Every cricket
match played within a five mile radius of the town was recorded in detail and then a Best
of the Week Table was produced for Bowlers who took more than 4 wickets in a match and Batsmen who scored more than
This year one name kept coming up almost at the top every week in the Bowlers Table “Bill
Jarman” of Therfield and his side was so strong that when you looked at the match scorecard invariably the
list of did not bat players was long. Bill Jarman’s side was a village side, usually playing other
villages, but towards the end of the season they played at home against my hometown’s second
eleven. Yes my Dad’s team and we are going to the match.
Talking in the car was all about the delicious cakes, and sandwiches that the Teams get
during the Tea break at Therfield. As the visitor’s scorers, that’s me, and my brother
traditionally got a chance to eat the players left over teas my eight year old mind was away from Bill Jarman and
onto sponge cakes. But not for long.
We were to bat first. Out of the Pavilion ambled the home side at the
back was a tall man of about 30 he appeared to have only one arm. You guessed it! Bill Jarman the
best of the week wicket taker.
Bill ran off a full 15 metre run up and bowled right handed and was fast. It soon became obvious to my dad’s
batsman that the wicket was a bit unpredictable to say the least and Bill Jarman was quick enough to make his
bouncers rib-ticklers. Most of the batsmen (my dad as well) were out caught close in fending off Bill’s Bouncers.
Before the War Bill had played topflight cricket and he certainly had not allowed his disability to stop
his cricketing activities. But back to the match!
Tea was taken by the players not much left for us boys “no cakes only curly cucumber
sandwiches” my dad’s team all out for 86 with Bill having taken 5 wickets and fielded well on the
boundary. The wicket helped our bowlers as well and our left arm fast man Percy soon had them in trouble
with Bill Jarman coming into bat they needed 8 to win. Bill batted at number 11 a one handed
batsman. He was at the non strikers end when he came in and after the next over the scores were closer as
4 was needed with Bill to face Percy.
Percy came flying in bowled and Bill took an almighty swing at the ball and missed. I don’t know what happened next
ball, but Percy decided to bowl his “Slower One” which had got wickets in the past by its element of surprise! Not
today Percy! He bowled a slow full toss which Bill to Therfields’ total delight and my stunned amazement
clubbed one handed over the square leg boundary for the match winning Six.
“Six Struck by Disabled
March 28th 2017
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