Thursday, January 26, 2006

Fuckin' 'Ell It's Fred Titmus

For those of you who are not familiar with him, here is a biography:

Fred Titmus, one of cricket's great survivors, was a St Pancras-born Cockney who walked like Charlie Chaplin and wisecracked like Groucho Marx. Despite the rivalry of three other top-class offspinners in Ray Illingworth, John Mortimore and David Allen, he won 53 Test caps over 19 years and played county cricket in five decades, between 1949 and 1982. He even came back after a horrific boating accident in the West indies cost him four toes.

His artistry as a slow and flighty bowler contrasted with a highly developed practical streak that made him a fine judge of a player. "Too intelligent for his ability," was his appraisal of one; of another, a youngster who scored a dashing hundred against Middlesex at Lord's, he commented: "I like to see someone make a bad 'undred before I make my mind up."

He made three tours of Australia, and justified his selection each time. But his favourite memory of the country, he claimed, was "The sight of a ground emptying an hour before the close of play."

John Thicknesse

5 comments:

Oxonian said...

Do I remember rightly that, like me, he was brought up in Kentish Town (hardly within the sound of Bow bells) - which was then in the borough of St Pancras (now Camden).

What with the missed opportunity of the "Kentish Town Declaration" you mentioned the other day, I do think we KT-ers need to get ourselves a better PR man ...

Peter Pigeon said...

I believe I saw the game in which Titmus became the first player to play in five decades.

The match was between Glos and Middlesex at Surrey.

That Roger Tolchard is speaking at our cricket club dinner soon. He's one of yours, isn't he?

mike holmans said...

What have Glos to do with it? There was no war on in 1982 which necessitated Lord's being evacuated.

Fred had looked in on the home dressing room at Lord's to wish the team good luck against Surrey when Brearley had the bright idea of telling him to get his whites on and play, it being near the end of a dry season so a third spinner could well be useful.

Peter Pigeon said...

at Surrey !

I meant at Cheltenham


the Surrey game was two years later. I suppose a purist might say taht 1980 was still the decade of the 1970s - but the millenium celebrations seem to invalidate such an argument.

Mark Wheaver said...

Reasons to be Miserable (Part 10) comes to mind as a suitable Biscuits heading just now.

I Predict a Trumpton Riot.