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Time Gentlemen please

Time Gentlemen, Please

Steve Pittard: AMATEURS ABOLISHED! screamed the headlines in 1962, during cricket’s equivalent of the French revolution. Daily Telegraph correspondent EW Swanton condemned the change as ‘not only unnecessary but deplorable’. Moreover, it meant curtains for the traditional ‘Gentlemen versus Players’ fixture – cricket’s oldest rivalry – in which carefree cavaliers had crossed swords with paid professionals since 1806. Early duels witnessed the Gentlemen struggle. Though blessed with silky stroke-makers, few noblemen indulged in bowling – a rather tiresome pastime best left to under-gardeners and stable-lads. To compensate, the aristocrats rode roughshod over the rules. One wizard wheeze involving widening the… Keep Reading

Royal Ascot

The Arts of the Turf

Brigadier Gerard de Piercy: There can be few sporting events in the calendar that delineate the lingering vestiges of the British class system as clearly as Ascot in June. Royal patronage of the meeting dates back to the purchase of Ascot Heath as a place to race horses by Queen Anne in 1711. A keen hunter in her youth, Anne had grown so repulsively obese by the age of 46 that she was unable to find a horse strong enough to carry her to go hunting. The queen was forced to find another way to indulge her passion for all… Keep Reading

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