'A Tingling Catch': A Century of NZ Cricket Poems 1864-2009
edited by Mark Pirie

A Tingling Catch
For Daniel Vettori, the sun
dips over a shimmering pitch
knocks out distant island stumps
spins on towards the clouds
   - Nicola Easthope, 'How does your sun?'

'A Tingling Catch' is the first anthology of New Zealand cricket poems to be collected. This substantial volume traces the history of cricket poetry in New Zealand from 1864 to 2009 spanning 145 years of New Zealand cricket. It brings together verse and song by some of our best poets - past and present. From Samuel Butler's classic description of the visiting All-England XI in 1864 to Arnold Wall's widely known First World War piece, 'A Time Will Come', to the 'underarm incident' of 1981 and more recent cricket poems that feature current members of the New Zealand team.

'A Tingling Catch' is presented with notes by editor and cricket follower Mark Pirie and a foreword (a poem) by well-known cricket historian, former national selector and former President of NZ Cricket, Don Neely. It contains over 100 poems and songs and features a wide variety of forms and styles from rhyming poetry to free verse and is sure to appeal to cricket lovers and poetry readers of all ages.

Contributors include: Don Neely, John Clarke (aka Fred Dagg), Whim Wham, Samuel Butler (England), Sir A P Herbert (England), Denis Glover, Harry Ricketts, Brian Turner, G P Williams, Jim Tocker, David Mitchell, Mark Pirie, Tony Beyer, John Dickson, Pat Wilson, Michael O'Leary, Murray Edmond, Tim Jones, J H E Schroder, James Brown, Bill Direen, Geoff Cochrane, Peter Olds, Richard Langston, Anne French, Rob Jackaman, Harvey McQueen, William Pember Reeves, Arnold Wall, David McKee Wright, Robin McConnell, Scott Kendrick, Elizabeth Smither, Alan Roddick, Robert J Pope, Amy Brown, Sarah Jane Barnett, Jack Perkins, Nick Whittock (Australia) and more.

Cover painting is by well-known English cricket painter Jocelyn Galsworthy.

"...a delightful collection and covering three centuries of English verse in this country. It reminds me of a country cricket team - a few gun players, a run-of-the-mill middle order, and the odd keen youngster and lame oldster, all united by their love of the game." - Harvey McQueen, anthologist and co-editor of The Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse

About the Editor

Mark Pirie is the author or editor of over 20 books, including the anthology of 'Generation X' New Zealand writing, The NeXt Wave and (with Tim Jones) an anthology of New Zealand Science Fiction poetry, Voyagers (one of the "Best 100 Books" of 2009 in the NZ Listener). He has been a cricket watcher and enthusiast since he was a boy and has played social grade cricket for two Wellington clubs, Wellington Collegians Cricket Club and Hutt District Cricket Club.


Foreword: What is Cricket? by Don Neely


Introduction by Mark Pirie



Cricket - Brian Turner 18
A Ball That is Bowled - Arnold Wall 19
Six - Bill Direen 20
Cricket song I - Cyril Childs 21
Pitch, Please - J H E Schroder 22
The Cricket Pitch - G Dewar 23
Three Cricket Haiku - Tony Beyer 24
The Outfield - James Brown 25
How to Catch - Jim Tocker 26
Catches I Have Dropped - Scott Kendrick 27
Cricket ball in the cemetery - Elizabeth Smither 29
Swing - Tim Jones 30
Cricket song II - Cyril Childs 31
Ten Ways to Get Out - William Outhwaite (c1883) 32
11 Ways of Being Dismissed - Mark Pirie 33
Cricket song III - Cyril Childs 38


Legacies and Cold Stats - Mark Pirie 40
Ode to Harry - Anon (c1997) 42
Brett Lee - Nick Whittock 44
'The day I bowled Don Bradman' - Anon 47
'The day Lance Cairns got lucky' - Anon 47
A Tribute to R J Hadlee - Ian Donnelly 48
the intense disciple: Richard Hadlee shade and light - Robin McConnell 50
The Batsman - Brian Turner 51
To Bert Sutcliffe, Master Batsman - Mark Pirie 53
Ken Wadsworth - Brian Turner 55
'But who their chief? His name in Southern town' - Anon (c1883) 56
Song of the Old Cricketer - A E Sandford 57
King Willow - Robert J Pope 59
Axemen XI - Chris Boxall 60
Poet & Cricketer - Ron Riddell 61
Cricket Man - Mark Pirie 62
Uncle Arthur - Kendrick Smithyman 63
Sportsman - Anton Vogt 64
From The Late Great Blackball Bridge Sonnets - Jeffrey Paparoa Holman 65
Epitaph for an Old Cricketer - Harry Ricketts 66

Matches and Tours

The Australians at Worcester, 1961 - Harry Ricketts 68
The New Zealanders at Lord's, 2004 - Mark Pirie 69
The Basin - Jack Perkins 70
The English Cricketers - Samuel Butler 72
England v. Australia - G P Williams 75
'Sons of the giant islands of the South' - Thomas Bracken 77
Luncheon to the New Zealand Cricketers, 1958 - A P Herbert 79
Lunch Break, India, 1988 - Mark Pirie 80
From Red Path - Graham Lindsay 81
It's All One Ball Game - Whim Wham 82
From Basin of Words - J H E Schroder 84
The Record - Mark Pirie 85
Cricket at Ilford - Pat Wilson 86
Cricket at Oturehua - Brian Turner 88
The Man Who Saved the Match - David McKee Wright 89

Songs, Satires and Parodies

The Incredible One-Day Cricket Match - André Surridge 92
Hey man, Wow! - Michael O'Leary 93
The Central Commentary Position - John Clarke 94
Rastaman Declarations (Positive) - Michael O'Leary 95
Catching - Jim Tocker 96
Cricket is Strange - Michael O'Leary 98
Cricket Initials - John Ansell 99
From The Ballad of Reading Oval - Michael O'Leary 100
Baxter Between the Wickets - Michael O'Leary 101
An NZ Lit XI - Harry Ricketts 102
George Gordon's Second Innings - Michael O'Leary 103
'To walk or not to walk: that is the question;' - Don Neely 104
A Summer Evening - Jim Tocker 105
When Hadlee Bowls the Ball - Colin Croft & The Maiden Overs 106
Goodall's Revenge - Anon (c1980) 108
'There's a good time coming, boys' - Anon (c1883) 109
Grafton United Cricket Club (Inc.) - Jack Williams 111
Remembrance - Jim Tocker 112

Watchers and Listeners

A Time Will Come - Arnold Wall 114
Under Cover - Jenny Powell 115
Echoes from Lancaster Park - J H E Schroder 116
Saturday morning in the hut at Seacliff with the radio on listening to cricket - Peter Olds 117
My Elderly Father Watches Television - Geoff Cochrane 118
From Grandmother - Sarah Jane Barnett 119
Cricket - p n w donnelly 120
Around the cenotaph - Peter Olds 121
Karori Park - Nelson Wattie 122
From A Green Jesus - Geoff Cochrane 123
A woman watching cricket - Elizabeth Smither 124
Elegy in the Kaiwharawhara Valley - F W N Wright 125
'and' - John Dickson 127
Kelburn Park - Harry Ricketts 131
At Lord's - Mark Pirie 132
From Intimacies - Rob Jackaman 133
Patterns of Play - Kevin Ireland 135
How does your sun? - Nicola Easthope 136
Le Cricket - John Pine Snadden 137
Reading Poetry at a Cricket Match - Pat Wilson 138
Eleventh Hour - Grant Duncan 139

Boys' Songs

A Boy's Cricket Dream - John Henderson 142
From Slips - Mark Pirie 143
Blind Boys at Cricket - Alan Roddick 144
Backyard Cricket - Brian Turner 145
A Boy's Song - Mark Pirie 146
Bush Children - Thomas Bracken 147
No Judge of a Run - William Pember Reeves 148
From Akaroa DHS - Harvey McQueen 150
Cricketers of the Eighties - David Eggleton 151
Two Cricket Tanka - André Surridge 153
From Newton Flat - William E Morris 154
The Crickets - James Brown 155
Operator - J H E Schroder 156
From Papatoetoe Poems - Tony Beyer 157
To Stuart - Alistair Te Ariki Campbell 158
From The Life Frieze - Murray Edmond 159

Social Members

An ode to social members - Kevin Ireland 162
Playing the Game - Tim Heath 163
Gerald Gebbie - Jim Tocker 164
A Peculiar Game Not Played in Oklahoma - Richard Langston 165
'Fair ladies at a cricket match' - William Outhwaite (c1883) 166
Bowl a Maiden Over - Anne-Louise Philpott 167
'Farewell! farewell to you, Gridiron's daughter!' - Anon (c1883) 168
Cricket - Anne French 170
Sticky Wicket - Frank L Bailey 171
The Yacht - Amy Brown 173
don bradman - Nick Whittock 174
Joe - Mark Pirie 175
gasometer/ ponsonby - David Mitchell 176
Invisible Cricket - Denis Glover 178
Cricket Limerick - David McGill 179
Net Gains and Losses - Tim Heath 180
The Streaker - Richard Langston 181
The Pavilion - Mark Pirie 182

Index of Poems by Poet


About the Editor