Jazz and cricket memories

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Many thanks to Matthew Wright for his informative and entertaining articles on jazz and cricket. In today’s high-pressure, money-driven society it’s not easy to imagine the same thing happening now.

His mention of trombonist Frank Parr deserves some amplification. While Frank Parr’s Lancashire 1st XI career spanned 1951-1954 it was, including his 2nd XI apearances, much longer, from 1946-1955. During the seasons 1952-1953 he played in 43 matches and was responsible for 77 dismissals. Not a bad record for a fun-loving trombonist from Wallasey. What’s more he kept wicket to a pair of very fast opening bowlers in Brian Statham and Colin Smith, later to be knighted for his work as county architect of Hampshire.

Reference is made to captain Cyril Washbrook and his put-down of Frank, which was maybe not without a little, albeit mean-spirited, justification. Colin Smith told me that being on tour with Frank was always a journey into the unknown. He would know where the clubs were in town and proceed to lead the team on “a good night out”, usually resulting in a less than athletic performance on the following day.

As I understand it what finally did for Frank occured at a Cambridge or Oxford game when the team were entertained to dinner at one of the college’s high tables. Formal dinner dress was the order of the day when Frank descended late, wearing open-necked shirt and sports jacket. Resultingly cricket’s loss was Mulligan’s gain.

Bob Lamb, Chester