by Jonathan Rice

Published by
Pitch Publishing
A2 Yeoman Gate, Yeoman Way,
Worthing, Sussex BN13 3QZ.

Pages: 288

MRP: £18.99p

Cricket literature is broad in its scope and appeal and it should come as no surprise that we can now be entertained over almost 300 pages by a cricket painting thanks to Jonathan Rice's latest, worthy efforts.

For those of us lucky to be able to use the Lord's Pavilion, we have been able to admire the subject of the book, Kent v Lancashire 1906, whilst watching the cricket or reading the papers. Thanks to Jonathan Rice, some of us may appreciate it even more now that we have an in-depth history of it.

Kent first won the County Championship in 1906 and one of the cricketing and administrative giants of the day, the fourth Lord Harris, wanted the memorable year to be commemorated suitably and Albert Chevallier Tayler was commissioned to paint a defining moment of the season. There was much discussion on what the scene should be and I shall leave the reader to enjoy more of its background but ultimately it was settled upon the Kent and Lancashire match at Kent's main ground in Canterbury, a match easily won by the home side and eventual champions.

All eleven players can be seen in the painting and likely the most famous, Colin Blythe, holds centre stage as the bowler. All players seen in the painting have a detailed resume within the book and there is even an imposter within this most famous of cricketing paintings. If the reader wishes to find out more, the book is available through Pitch Publishing...

Sadly, Blythe and Kent's highest scorer in the match, Kenneth Hutchings, would both be killed during the Great War.

There is so much of interest in this book: why the painting was not the roaring success which it was hoped and anticipated to be; the life history of the painter and his family; the background to Canterbury Week, the local, annual festival, and during which the match concerned was set and many other fascinating titbits on the players. Differences in playing eras are also discussed.

Rice's latest historical book will, I am sure, give much enjoyment to those interested in cricket's history further back in time and my next visit to the Lord's Pavilion will be even better when I see Kent v Lancashire 1906 now that I have a better understanding of the work. For those also interested in that era but who may not ordinarily be able to visit the Pavilion, buy the book and do try to find a - legal - way in.