Book Review

AS former Craven League umpire Jim Appleby knows only too well, cricket can get in your blood.

The former Telegraph & Argus journalist, who pulled on his white coat for Airedale second team, may not have broken many pots as a player, despite having a sports-mad father who taught him to play in the back yard.

But Jim, who only gave up his dream of playing cricket when he was told by a surgeon that his right knee needed replacing tells with empathy and humour the story of history lecturer Adge Harrison, who retires from the hubbub of London to the little North Yorkshire village of Rivendale.

Just when he thinks it might be too quiet, a kind deed on a bleak, wintry night introduces him to a new career as a cricket umpire in a place where the game is played with a consuming passion he soon finds himself sharing.

Among the high fells and remote valleys of the Dales, he learns of the ancient sporting rivalries and tales that make cricket more than just a game.

And in a team with more than its share of eccentrics, dreamers and enthusiasts, he finds a welcome that soon feels like a homecoming as he is drawn into the lives of the players and their families.

Their adventures and misadventures are chronicled with an abundant knowledge of the game and its lore – and a host of other topics.

By the way, Jim has revealed that it was a while before he finally stopped himself appealing for lbw when standing at the bowler’s end!

lNay Umpire (8.99), published by Pegasus Publishers, is available to order from bookshops or direct from the publisher by visiting their website or by calling 01223-370012.