You Didn’t Know This – The story of Peter Wight, one of Somerset’s finest

There was a superb article a long while back about Peter Wight at Cricinfo.

Well worth a read. Here is the link. excerpts:

Only Harold Gimblett has scored more first-class runs for Somerset.


He had grown up in British Guiana, his family a mix of Scottish and Portuguese …… He came to England on a cargo boat in 1951, a 20-year-old shivering in his tropical clothes and shocked by the rationing and outdoor toilets. “I came to learn engineering, not to play cricket.”


He was the first to 2,000 runs in the summer of 1960, he reached 2,000 again in 1962 but in 1965, after a poor season, Somerset released him and he went on to the umpires’ list, where he stayed for 30 summers.


In all first-class cricket in the UK since the War nobody – as player and umpire – has taken part in more matches. Yet he never stood in a Test. “I’ve never been at an international match in my life,” he says.


It Never Rains: A Cricketer’s Lot

It Never Rains: A Cricketer’s Lot (George Allen and Unwin 1984), by Peter Roebuck, is a wonderful, wonderful read. Probably the best book on sports that I had read this year.

Peter Roebuck (photo courtest Cricinfo)

In fact, this is hardly a book, it’s a diary, a journal, a blog. Peter Roebuck was a player for Somerset in 1983 (and by then a senior player, a gnarled veteran of some five years in the county circuit). A top order batsman, sometimes an opener, for whom the word dour and doughty almost come as compliments, so defensive he confesses to be as a batsman, he was part of the crack Somerset team of the early eighties of Botham, Viv Richards, Garner, Vic Marks and Brian Rose. This book is a journal of Roebuck’s and Somerset’s 1983 county season, and shares wonderful stories of the life of a traveling pro cricketer, and the various characters, some legendary and some forgotten, that he shared the dressing room with.

And most of all, this is about Roebuck the man. In his present day writing, it is almost impossible to trace a hint of lack of confidence or a shadow of a doubt, in Roebuck. As a cricketer, he was hardly that. In this book, Roebuck is as finicky, over-analyzing and bewildered as a batsman could be, albeit one skilled at the art, you don’t become a pro cricketer (and a respected, almost-played-for-England one) without being quite good.

He is a brilliant analyst of people and behaviours, of course. And he writes well, his opinions are intelligent, direct and if sometimes acerbic, never anything but honest. It is indeed not (yet) the writing of one of the best cricket writer of our times as he later turned out to be, but that of a cricketer who has a talent for observation, who has top-class writing skills, who has humour by the shovelfuls, and one who does not take himself so seriously as to not to be able to laugh at himself (albeit it’s a completely different story about his batting technique and his average).

I cannot recommend this book highly enough to fellow followers of sport. Read it, it’s a joy.