Issue 46 – out now

Managing editor Matt Thacker introduces issue 46 of the Nightwatchman

You might not have noticed but another men’s World Cup is upon us! It’s been a full two issues of the Nightwatchman since the last one, the 50-over extravaganza in India, where those pesky Australians rather rained on Narendra Modi’s victory parade. And then almost 18 months since the one before that, the last staging of the 20-over title, won by Jos Buttler’s England on a heady night in Melbourne.

Buttler will be in the Caribbean this time round, without his go-to match-winner Ben Stokes of course, to try and defend the trophy. Not England’s, but 16 of the 55 matches will take place in the USA, surely a sign of things to come in the sport, with the World Cup followed almost immediately by the second iteration of Major League Cricket, which was successful and steady enough last year to suggest it is here to stay.

It is claimed that the US is already the world’s second-biggest cricket viewing market, based almost entirely on the huge South Asian and Caribbean communities that live there. The potential is undeniably huge, and if the sport can attract just a fraction of the country’s affluent, sports- obsessed market, then the impact could be landscape-altering. Cricket’s presence at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles means this not just idle chatter.

Anyway, on to this issue of the Nightwatchman. There’s plenty for you to get stuck into, starting with a poignant look back at the miners’ strike of 1984 and how it affected county cricket and cricketers. It seems incredible to think today that then Notts junior David Millns, now an umpire, was then working down

the pits. We’ve more politics as we delve into the life and times of an England captain who was a card-carrying member of the British Fascists, and there is also a deep dive into the history of the Eton v Harrow match at Lord’s that makes for extraordinary reading.

Elsewhere, we’ve got teams of playwrights, Poet Laureates and Nobel Prize winners ready to take on the Martians; an imagined – and brief – press-box conversation between Donald Bradman and Douglas Jardine 20 years after they crossed Bodyline swords; and the story of Bob Appleyard that contains the Yorkshire bowler’s father gassing himself and the rest of his family to death, 200 wickets in a first full season with half a lung missing, an Ashes tour, tuberculosis, and successfully suing Robert Maxwell. Quite something.

What’s more, we’ve got three (yes three!) poems which will, as ever, divide opinion like no other pieces. And we finish with an essay to leave you feeling uplifted, realising that cricket, and cricketers, can still be a force for good.

As ever, if you would like to write for us – poetry and prose accepted! – 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, June 2024