Issue 16 – out now

Issue 16 of The Nightwatchman is out now and available to buy here.


Matt Thacker introduces the latest issue of The Nightwatchman


It’s another English winter. End-of-season dinners are done, feats all but forgotten. The barren wasteland of a cricketless Christmas is a far-from-pleasant prospect. There’s nobody round these parts who thinks April the cruellest month; it’s what we’re now all dreaming of, willing it to get a shift on.


But life goes on. And as luck would have it, there is another issue of The Nightwatchman to help ease you through the iciest of days, the gloomiest of nights. And like a generous and surprisingly well-informed grandparent, this one has something for everyone. In terms of geography, we are genuine globetrotters. Keshava Guha takes Aravind Adiga’s novel Selection Day as his starting point to discuss the sport in India; Alan Tyers opens up the world of cricket in Hong Kong; we have not one but two pieces on the game and its players in Canada; Peter Prendergast regales us with tales of growing up playing in Northern Ireland; Mike Phillips digs into the psyche of Switzerland; and Telford Vice wants South African cricket to get real.

As for history, Sarah Shephard looks at the Olympics’ past to see if cricket might feature in its future, Tom Holland gets all medieval on us as he tries to solve England’s Twenty20 identity crisis, and Daniel Norcross scours the centuries looking for English heroes and haters to play each other in a dice game of his own invention. And in poetry corner, we have Benjamin Brill trying to make sense of his relationship with his father during the Scarborough festival, and Adam Collins deconstructing our non-anthem “Jerusalem”.


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Meanwhile, Nicholas Hogg is struck by a portrait of the great Sir Viv at Lord’s, Tim Cooke gazes on Grahams (and Graemes), Tim Wigmore reckons fielding should be treated with the same seriousness as batting or bowling, and John Crace sort of enjoys his club’s end-of-season knees-up. Then, to round things off, Rob Johnston gets wistful about winter nets, Richard Beard doesn’t have a single nice thing to say about French cricket, and Anthony McGowan brings a touch of Italian farce to the seemingly straightforward act of getting the ball back to the bowler. And as usual we have a lovely set of black-and-white portraits from the Getty archive, this time looking at life in the dressing-room.


So there you are, your selection box is complete – which will be your instantly gobbled hazelnut praline and which your Toffee Penny, saved until the the end?


Happy Christmas, one and all.


Matt Thacker, December 2016