‘His Day in the Sun’
Published by Red Rose Books, 2016
Original A5 blue card wrappers, new.
iv + 32 pages, illustrated.
Limited edition of 88 copies, signed and numbered by Stephen Musk.
‘Old George’ Pilch, the great nephew of the legendary Fuller Pilch, was a talented all-round sportsman, representing the County of Norfolk at soccer, cricket, golf and bowls. In his later days he was a director of Norwich City FC and was a leading force in overseeing the construction of the ground at Carrow Road in a few weeks when their home ground at The Nest was condemned by the FA as unsafe. Pilch played cricket for Norfolk in the Minor Counties over a period of 22 years, from 1899 to 1921, but did very little to justify the selectors’ faith, finishing his career with a bowling average of nearly forty and a batting average of under nine. His bowling, though quick, was unsubtle and his batting depended largely on the ‘hoik’ to deep midwicket - in short he fell short of the standards expected of a regular county player, with his only plus point being his availability to turn out at short notice. And yet Pilch did have one day of utterly joyous triumph. Norfolk’s final match of the 1905 season saw them hosting Cambridgeshire in a match that they needed to win in order to carry off the Minor Counties Championship outright for the first time. On a filthy wicket, Norfolk struggled and, when Pilch went out to bat at number ‘nine’ in their second innings, their lead was a mere forty. Defeat stared them in the face. This book tells how Pilch, having been dropped off his usual ‘hoik’, went on to play the innings of any lifetime, hitting 88 in just 80 minutes, destroying Cambridgeshire’s morale and ensuring that title was Norfolk’s. In order to put this single, almost unbelievable innings in context, Pilch’s career as club and county cricketer is examined in detail and his life as a keen sportsman is recounted.
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