by Scyld Berry

Published by:
Pitch Publishing
9 Donnington Park, 85 Birdham Road,
Chichester, West Sussex PO20 7AJ

Contact: www.pitchpublishing.co.uk

Copies can be purchased from: https://www.pitchpublishing.co.uk/shop/disappearing-world

Pages: 286

MRP: £19.99


It should come as no surprise that Scyld Berry's latest book, Disappearing World, is packed full of interesting facts and tales about the English counties.

In the introduction, the author starts with a story about a friend's young child who, on going past Lord's, exclaimed that cricket's most famous ground is the home of London Spirit. I have never watched The Hundred so can only write that I am now wiser about this franchise although I prefer to remember the ground more fondly for its home to others and its history in longer formats. I may not be alone there but it does show how cricket has changed vastly more recently. Disappearing World brings in all aspects from pre-county cricket to the modern day.

As a premier journalist and author, Scyld's books are always informative and respected. Two of his earlier books which fired my imagination were Cricket Wallah and A Cricket Odyssey, both books taking in India in the 1980s. Disappearing World is much closer to home - indeed it is at home - and recalls past and present of the eighteen First-class counties.

It is, though, so much more than that. Yes, under each county we may find some of the past or some of the present but with his prescient eye, Scyld offers suggestions in this ever-changing world. Always erudite, yet engagingly written, nuggets of fascinating information adorn just about every page and much can be learnt about each first-class county, and much more besides.

Not only are cricketers mentioned but also what we might describe as administrators (encompassing the many different positions from early days to the present, and how these have changed through the ages) and groundsmen all make an appearance. Under Hampshire, the "cradle of cricket", Hambledon, enters the story. Under other counties, one can read about local people helping out their communities through the game of cricket.

Scyld has naturally visited a vast number of first-class grounds and can therefore write knowledgeably about all whilst remembering how the same grounds have, in many instances, changed over the years. How some counties started out and continued through fallow times also makes for interesting reading.

Disappearing World is like a story through time. It is lovely to see Cheltenham College ground on the book's cover. Well done to Gloucestershire for continuing a declining tradition of festival cricket. For me, an annual visit to Cheltenham is a highlight of the season and is like a throwback to less stressful times.

Disappearing World is a fascinating and absorbing book and congratulations go once again to Scyld Berry and Pitch Publishing.