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Cricket fan Iris Wright writes a poem to explain how she fell in love with the game

Gloucester > Sport > Cricket

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Tuesday, 6th February 2018, 09:00

Bill and Iris Wright Bill and Iris Wright

“I don’t like cricket oh no, I love it,” are lyrics penned by popular band 10cc in the late 70s.

Dreadlock Holiday was released in 1978, and while some people may not be aware of the band even though they are still going strong today – they’re not the Beatles or the Rolling Stones after all – the lyrics of that particular tune, the reggae-styled Dreadlock Holiday, will be familiar to many fans of the game of cricket.

Iris Wright, who lives in Gloucester, is certainly someone who is a fan of cricket. In fact she loves her cricket so much that she decided to put pen to paper, and write a few words expressing her passion for all things bat and ball.

And after seeing February’s edition of The Local Answer, she decided to send us a copy of her tale which is printed in full at the end of this story.

Born and bred in Gloucester, Iris now 70, moved to Dorset when she married her husband Bill, who lived and worked down south, in 1971.

And it was through Bill that former Churchdown Secondary Modern School pupil Iris developed her fascination of a sport made famous by such legendary Gloucestershire names as WG Grace, Tom Graveney and Jack Russell.

“I never even knew cricket existed before I met Bill,” laughed Iris, “and I’ve never played the game.”

She used to watch Bill play for Evershot, a village team in Dorset.

“I wasn’t very good, I just made up the numbers,” said Bill modestly. “I was a bowler. I used to bowl medium pace and could swing it a bit. It wasn’t just your hand and arm action, it was your body movement as well.”

Work brought Bill, Iris and their three children – Kelvin, Andy and Mike – to Gloucestershire in the early 1980s and for two years they lived at Highgrove House, home to Prince Charles, where Bill worked as head gardener.

The family then moved to Elmbridge Road in Gloucester – where Bill and Iris still live today – when Bill worked on the estate at a nursing home at Minsterworth, a job he did until he retired.

And their love of all things cricket certainly rubbed off on their youngest son Mike, who played cricket to a very good standard when he was a pupil at Sir Thomas Rich’s.

And cricket isn’t the only interest that Mike and his dad share.

“We both play skittles for Cosmos Twisters in the Gloucester Skittles League,” said Bill. “Our home alley is the Gala club in Longford. I used to be pretty good but Mike shows me how to do it these days! He’s top of our averages.”

Bill says that he prefers skittles to cricket these days because he’s too old to play cricket, but for Iris, who also likes to write poetry, cricket will always be number one.

Here’s the story that she wrote last year. It’s called quite simply The Game of Cricket:

I first became fully aware of cricket in 1971 after getting married. I moved from my home in Gloucester to Dorset where life was beautiful and very tranquil.

One Sunday afternoon there was cricket on the television, the sport that my husband loved to watch and also play.

For whatever reason, I found myself saying, how on earth anyone can sit and watch this all day I shall never know. Totally unaware that I had insulted my new husband and the sport that he loved so much, he quietly left the room; I was still completely unaware that I had said anything wrong.

After a while I began to think where he might have gone. We lived on the edge of a 300-acre deer park, but where was he? I soon found him sitting on a log in silence. We talked, went for a walk then went back indoors.

After that whenever cricket was on the television I would sometimes sit and watch with him, but had no idea what I was really watching. Bill would talk to me about it; when a no ball was thrown, how and when a batsman was out, the different positions around the ground, but I still found it difficult to understand.

I would ask the name of the person who was commenting and try to understand what they were saying, but it wasn’t easy. The one name that has stuck in my mind, the late Australian cricketer Richie Benaud, I would find his voice soothing and easy to understand.

Around that time, the names that I also remember were Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee, the two Australian fast bowlers, also Bill’s heroes John Edrich and Alec Stewart, who played for Surrey and England,

More than 46 years have passed since those early days. I still don’t fully understand the game of cricket. Whether watching on television or sitting in the garden listening to the voices, of Henry Blofeld, now, sadly retired and Jonathan Agnew, watching or listening to the Test matches between the different countries. And when Bill isn’t around I will keep him updated when a batsman is out.

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