There was scant evidence in Kent that it was the Summer of Love, and there were few with flowers in their hair, even during Canterbury Week, but the summer of 1967 is fondly remembered in the hop county. It was the year in which the Gillette Cup was won, the start of the golden era of 11 trophies in 12 years. Also, of my first Wisden and first visit to Lord’s. And 50 years ago, so worthy of commemoration.
Which is why I intend to relive the summer of ’67 using media not conceived of then.
The plan is to tweet (@kentccc1967) scores and highlights at the conclusion of the 50th anniversary of each day on which Kent played, and follow it up with blog pieces after each match (or at least once a week). These will flesh out the story of the game, and cast an eye over other matches, both Championship and test. Tweets will imagine that it is 1967, while blog posts will use hindsight to reflect on events. By happy coincidence the dates fall on the same days of the week in 2017 as they did fifty years before.
Scorecards has always tried to be about not only the cricket, but also being at the cricket. What were the people around the boundary talking about in 1967? What music were they listening to, what were they watching on television or at the local Odeon? Both tweets and blog posts will look at what was happening in the world as the cricket was being played.
Wisden, the Kent Annual and CricInfo will obviously be essential sources, as will the online archive of The Times, which carried lengthy reports of most county games. John Woodcock—still writing occasionally for the paper today— was cricket correspondent, heading a talented team. Happily, it was the incomparable Alan Gibson’s first season as a regular writer, and reading new (to me) Gibson reports is already a joy. There was Charles Bray, who captained Essex before World War II and was a founder of the Cricket Writers’ Club, and AA Thomson, writing with waspish humour on cricket in the north. Peter West too, when television commitments allowed. The Times will also be a wonderful source of wider news and events. BBC Genome tells us what was on BBC radio and television, and which commentators were at which games. Collections of diaries and letters from 1967—from Barbara Castle to Kenneth Wiliams—will provide plenty of background material for specific days.
The Twitter account—@kentccc1967—has been set up, but I will blog on Scorecards, at least until I can think of a decent name. I’m after something that is taken from the time with a cricketing twist, but the best I have come up with so far is “Closey in the sky with Double Diamond”, so the search goes on.
Kent’s season started at Trent Bridge on Saturday 29 April. I will post a scene setter before then.