A Garland of White Roses

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Back again

Head down

Scrubbing the ball

furiously on his flannels


A little sweat off the brow

onto the hand


onto the ball


Four men up close

A scowl at the batsman


Hawke goes forward

and he’s caught


Cowdrey swooped at it

Up went Trueman

Up went the crowd

Stood to him

Cheered him


And as Hawke walked away

Trueman congratulated him




All lines (including the title) are taken from the 1964 Test Match Special Ashes commentary by John Arlot. When Fred Trueman became the first ever cricketer to achieve 300 test wickets in his career.



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M.C. Newberry

Thu 31st May 2012 18:47

When I was a boy in the 50s I was the proud owner of the Picture Post (remember it?) photobook of the tests in Australia when Frank "Typhoon" Tyson struck fear into their batsmen. These lines remind me of those halcyon days of this essentially English sport when the Hampshire burr of John Arlott told us all was well with the world. Happy days. I have a few lines I wrote in praise of Denis Compton/Richie Benaud. I must post them some day.

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Greg Freeman

Mon 28th May 2012 09:50

Win, I'd love to see as a companion piece your 'own' poem about Trueman. Mine might begin with a steam train whistling in the distance as Trueman comes in to bowl at Headingley ...! Is cricket a more poetic subject than football? Discuss. John Arlott featured as a poet in my battered school copy of the Penguin Book of Contemporary verse, back in the 60s. I don't think Fiery Fred was as rhapsodical when he retired to the commentary box, and certainly not after the lunch break!

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winston plowes

Sun 27th May 2012 22:01

Hi Graham, thats the thing, they ARE his words, just selected by me. But yes, you can still hear the great man can't you. I know a lot of his commentaries were more 'poetic' than this one but there is a lot of internal rhyme here and like the birds ref' (swooping / Hawk) and Fred looking a bit like a black crow landing on his prey with his black mop. Thx for looking in. Win

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Graham Sherwood

Sun 27th May 2012 21:55

There's never been a better bowler Win. I can hear Arlot in your words. Clear, succinct, informative. And he liked Beaujolais too.



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winston plowes

Sun 27th May 2012 15:40

You can listen to the TMS broadcast here -

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