Sylvester Clarke: Unforgiven

The name of Sylvester Clarke is receding now, but during the first half of the 1980s in his years at Surrey it hung over county cricket in the same way that Sonny Liston's had hung over boxing: star-crossed, whispered, feared... Steve Waugh could feel the will of his Somerset team-mates "disintegrating" ... Read More...

Dabbler Diary – I Was Norman Smith

Last year I wrote a short biography of my childhood dog, Jason, and mentioned that, preposterously indulged, he had his own armchair in the front room. It was a pretty naff 1970s-coloured one left over from a previous suite, but this is what British people are like with their dogs. ... Read More...

The Cricketer in Winter

Is there anything in sport more melancholy than the English cricketer when the long winter begins? Jon Hotten - The Old Batsman himself - looks back on his efforts in the summer of 2014... After one of my worst seasons ever with the bat last year, I began 2014 by scoring ... Read More...

The sheer unlikeliness of CB Fry

'His party trick was to jump backwards onto a mantelpiece from a standing position'. Jon Hotten salutes the incomparable sporting Renaissance man, CB Fry... John Arlott called him 'the most variously gifted Englishman of any age,' and Arlott, conjuring his musty magic from an old typewriter set next a glass of ... Read More...

World Cup Preview

Word Cup fever has reached The Dabbler! Here's Frank's complete guide to the foopball tournament... Next week sees the beginning of the 2014 World Cup foopball tournament, What this consists of, for the uninitiated, is a few weeks during which men in shorts run around grassy fields, huffing and puffing and ... Read More...

Ghost grounds

Jon Hotten on memory, dreams and cricket pitches... It's hard to write about a feeling as elusive as this one, yet it's that elusiveness that makes it both rare and worthwhile. It happened the other day, for the first time in a couple of years. I was driving through a town ... Read More...

The Spinner’s Web

Amongst the most shocking moments of England's shocking Ashes series this winter was the sudden mid-tour retirement of Graeme Swann, one of the country's greatest ever spin bowlers. Here, Jon Hotten examines the mysteries of the spinner's art, and what Swanny leaves behind... Decades ago on a Saturday afternoon in winter ... Read More...