Monday, June 3, 2013

Anonymous 1938 Ashes poem

The big event on this year’s cricket calendar is the 2013 Ashes series between England and Australia.
Kevin Pietersen is back from injury for England, which is good news for their Ashes chances. With Joe Root, Cook and Trott, they have a good batting order in store for the upcoming Tests.
A cricket poem I found recently is incidentally an Ashes poem from 1938. It was an advertisement for “Minties” confectionery in the Auckland, New Zealand paper, The Weekly News.
Minties’ hilarious ads became well known in New Zealand for their ad campaigns based around the idea that when things go wrong, one can always reach for a Mintie. Some of the TV commercials in New Zealand during the ’80s featured bad moments from New Zealand cricketers such as when John Bracewell during an ODI (4 March 1990 v Australia) ducked a full toss and was clean bowled when the ball from Simon O’Donnell dipped in flight. O’Donnell took 5-13 that day. New Zealand, featuring most of their future 1992 World Cup squad, were all out for 94 after being 79-2 at one stage. 8 wickets lost for 15 runs. How does that compare to recent batting disasters? Other Minties ads often had catches embarrassingly put down.
I haven't seen Minties around for a while. Maybe they've stopped making them?
This particular Minties ad refers to a dropped catch by New South Welshman Arthur Chipperfield. Chipperfield split his finger in the 1938 Lord’s Test trying to catch Wally Hammond who went on to make 240.
I once tried to catch a scorching drive myself and split the webbing around my middle finger in a club match. I still had to bat No. 11 with my arm in a sling but I wasn’t needed as we won the match. The team had put my pads on for better or worse...
Here is the poem or ad:


Hush, hush! Mourn for the match!
The Aussie bowler dropped a catch;
Hammond’s drive was full of ginger,
And poor old Chipperfield split his finger.
Does Stan McCabe or Bradman swear,
Or Chipperfield mumble in dumb despair?
Not they! With hearty acclamation
They turn to MINTIES for consolation.

(From The Weekly News (Auckland), 2 July 1938)

It’s universal. You could change the names for any international, provincial or club team worldwide on a bad day, and amuse your mates.

Article © Mark Pirie 2013

(Sources: The Weekly News, Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, ESPN cricinfo)

"Minties" advertisement 1938

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