BEING GEOFFREY BOYCOTT by Geoffrey Boycott and Jon Hotten

by Jake Perry and Gary Heatly

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


Pages: 270

MRP: £16.99

Copies may be purchased from Playing With Teeth | Pitch Publishing


I took to this book immediately on reading the first paragraph, in the Acknowledgements...

The reason for this was the decency and gratitude which came out so quickly and which continued throughout the book. Scotland's cricket history is most worthy of being charted and Playing with Teeth - the title, I believe, coming from a coach who said that he wanted the players to be seen to enjoying their play - follows their more recent progress in the last decade or so.

I have to be completely honest and say that I always loved watching the World Cup more when the Associate teams were involved and the fact that the last tournament excluded the majority of them (as will the 2023 version) disappointed me. More often than not the Associate teams would lose, sometimes badly but there was always the element of surprise and maybe hope that you were watching something special. I watched an absorbing game at Port Elizabeth in 2003 between England and Namibia that was, to me, far more exciting than a subsequent far-from-close match between England and Pakistan at Cape Town.

I will also be completely honest when I say that I sometimes found those World Cup matches involving Scotland frustrating. They are the one Associate side not to win one World Cup game, not even against a fellow Associate side. That said - and this is the essence of the book - I sensed a greater improvement and even more determination in their play in the 2015 tournament. I did feel sorry for them that they could not land that elusive win given the standard of their play.

The authors take the reader through the highs and lows of Scottish cricket since 2013 and explain very politely how life as an Associate side differs to the Full Members. It has made an impact on me and a feeling that I might have known better. It most certainly gives a better understanding. They have endured disappointments not through their making and Scotland undoubtedly has a fine breed of cricketer, many having represented counties.

Yes, the book does resemble an account of most of the Scottish matches during this period but it is given through the words of the players and coaches which makes it more interesting than a normal match account. One can see how different coaches have used presumably more modern techniques to bring out the best in players.

An opponent we read regularly about is Afghanistan, the team who made it to the 2019 World Cup and the one who denied Scotland that win in a thrilling match in 2015. Passions are aroused when it comes to matches against the Auld Enemy, England, whom they beat in an ODI at Edinburgh in 2018, but the tone and style of the book is gracious throughout and the authors have done a splendid job in detailing how hard the Scottish cricketers have worked.

Whether Scotland make it to the World Cup proper in 2023 remains to be seen but we can rest assured that they will be giving it their very best shot.