Issue 39 – out now

Managing editor Matt Thacker introduces issue 39 of the Nightwatchman

That’s pretty much the summer gone then. Although these days, who knows? Might still be pushing 30 degrees in mid-October for all I know. In the UK we’re just not used to waking up in July and August knowing for certain that it’s going to be a scorcher. And helpful though it may be for cricket match scheduling, we’ve gone well past the stage where it’s a good or a fun thing. I think and hope we’d all be prepared to give up a few sunny days lounging on the boundary in return for a liveable future for our kids and our kids’ kids.

As for the Nightwatchman, well, we’re burying our head in the burning-hot sand yet still managing to provide you with some entertainment to prevent your cricket withdrawal symptoms getting out of hand. And, as is the modern way, we’ve encouraged this issue’s crop of writers to go all Bazball. To give it a real go, not to worry what others might think. To dare to dream.

Scott Oliver is never afraid to play his shots and in this issue he’s chatted to former Dutch speedster Andre van Troost, who loomed large in the nightmares of many a county batsman in the 1990s, in a brilliantly illuminating profile. From the same era, Richard Edwards remembers CricketCall, the kind of weird thing that makes men of a certain age come over all misty-eyed.

Further back in cricketing history, Jon Hotten looks at the Ashes origin story with a descendant of one of the key players, and Peter Mason tries to sort

fact from fiction in the competition to see who has thrown a cricket ball the farthest. Meanwhile, round about the time those early ball-throwing competitions were taking place, Venn (father and son) were making diagrams of revolutionary bowling machines, a story explored by Rod Edmond.

Elsewhere Will Yates gives us reasons to be miserable as he tells us how it is in state secondary schools, and Um-E-Aymen Babar adds to the pain as she reports on the racism crisis in Scottish cricket. Just to prove modern cricket does not hold a monopoly on such things, Garfield Robinson and Giles Wilcock look into race issues from a different era. Sometimes, you just want to give up.

But then Arthur Beard tells us how simultaneous interpreting and batting are essentially the same thing, and William Dobson reports from a car park in Beirut, showing just how much the sport means to so many, however straitened the circumstances. And you can look on the bright side once more.

As ever, if you would like to write for us or just let us know what you think about the Nightwatchman, good or bad, please get in touch at editor@ We read every submission (but promise nothing) that fulfils our criteria: that articles should touch on cricket (however tangentially) and are original, well written and thought-provoking.

Matt Thacker, September 2022