Pavilions In Splendour
The cricket pavilions and grounds of Cheshire
Pavilions In Splendour nominated for The Cricket Society & MCC Book of the Year award.
The book is A4 size, 247 pages in a hardback cover with an attractive dustjacket and features 133 clubs. Each entry includes a history of the club along with anecdotes and reminiscences and a colour photograph of the existing pavilion. Other photographic material has been used liberally throughout.
A review of the book appears below.
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The historic county of Cheshire may be the native soil of 14 England cricketers, but in a modern version of Cobbett's Rural Rides of a couple of centuries ago, Geoff Wellsteed has travelled its length and breadth to document in minute detail a more humble level than the Test arena, visiting in person an eye-watering 133 clubs, speaking with officials and members and poring through club histories, records and pavilion memorabilia of all kinds. A more detailed history of Cheshire club cricket would be difficult to imagine.
Few are better qualified than Wellsteed to write about this subject, given his position as Honorary Secretary of the Cheshire County Cricket League and Vice-Chairman of the Cheshire Umpires and Scorers Association, together with his regular umpiring duties around a county which has officially lost areas to Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Derbyshire, although clubs from those parts continue to be within the remit of this book.
Villages and towns with evocative names like Over Peover from the leafy lanes around prosperous Knutsford, or Tintwistle (Tinsel to locals) from that north-eastern part of the traditional county which hints at an industrial past, still boast clubs which continue to survive in the face of economic pressure, counter-attractions and changing family habits.
The writer has, commendably, made lavish use of primary sources, and the results of his indefatigable research are evident in the detailed club histories, where the feats of local cricketing heroes sit side by side with the difficulties, financial and otherwise, experienced by those who have struggled to keep their club afloat whatever the odds.
Indeed, this book is not only a social history of local cricket (and society), but also a tribute to all those players, officials, members and umpires who devote their lives to helping the game flourish at grass-roots level.
Illustrated with colour photographs of each club's pavilion and a miscellany of other pictorial material, this book is, indisputably, the definitive record of club cricket in Cheshire.
Mastermind Champion 2006 and Brain of Britain Winner 2008
Through his meticulous research, his humorous anecdotes and his eye for a telling detail, Geoff Wellsteed has produced a wonderfully entertaining and revelatory exploration of Cheshire's cricket clubs.
I enjoyed every page and was fascinated to learn so much of interest that was new to me about the history of Cheshire cricket, with its multitude of influential club characters and its many scenic grounds, which he so colourfully brings alive. I thoroughly recommend this book to all cricket lovers and historians of the noble game.
About the Author
This is Geoff Wellsteed's third book. In 2010 he jointly authored the much acclaimed Inns & Outs, a book about 334 cricketing pubs spread over 37 English counties. In 2015 he wrote Inside the Boundary, a book about the 26 first-class cricketers born within the Reading town boundary.
A native of that Berkshire town, Geoff is the Secretary of the Cheshire County Cricket League and also an umpire on the league's premier panel. He is a member of Lancashire CCC, the Association of Cricket Statisticians & Historians, the Merseyside Cricket Society and the Cricket Memorabilia Society.