Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Bat to the Future 2

Our man Thorpster did a very popular feature on cricket bats from the 80's back in the summer, and here he has a look at other retro gear we were wearing on the cricket pitch, back in those halcyon days.

Mike Hendrick in his day job

Following the popularity of my nostalgic look at 80s cricket bats in "Bat to the Future" Dan has asked me to have a look inside an 1980's cricket bag and see what's inside?

This was an era when superbrat John McEnroe famously sported Sergio Tachini gear, whilst Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Savile preferred "Fila". But in the cricketing world as with bats, the choice of attire and equipment was about as standard as a Liverpool players choice of facial hair. As someone one said, "If you had a nose like Rushie, would you underline it?"

Working from the ground up, this was the era of a simple choice regarding the cricket boot, the ubiquitous Winnit Worcester with the reinforced toe cap or the cheaper Mitre cricket shoe. While the Worcester offered every cricketer protection from a toe crusher they were a little expensive and bit heavy. In comparison the Mitre shoe was cheaper and lighter, but had the perennial problem of the separating sole which was stuck on with cheap glue. The result was that halfway through the season the detached sole was flapping around like Tulisa with the cameras on.

Brother Beyond...dual use of cricket kit
In the trouser department the traditional white, flary flannel preferred by Neil Foster was being replaced by the more flexible nylon effect, draw string at the waist affair. Occasionally in the club game, a pair of white jeans was on show which was bad form, as were the fading chinos, which had been made popular in that era by Rick Astley. So dual use of the trouser was available, worn with the waist coat or blazer on a Saturday night, and then on the cricket pitch on a Sunday afternoon.

As far as the shirt was concerned, plenty were still sporting the "schooly" shirt although this was largely being superceded by the short or long sleeve cricket shirt, which didn't button all the way down and still had a fairly flared collar. Again due to the fashion of the day, Saturday club cricket saw many a Pringle, Lyle and Scott or Fred Perry Polo shirt. If the weather was a bit cooler the shirt was normally covered by basic plain, white jumper with no motif, but regularly a baggier "home made" version was on display. 

Your average Thigh pad in club cricket in the 1980's

For head gear, lids were extremely rare and when a club batsman appeared with one on, howls of laughter were often accompanied by comparisons to Neil Armstrong or Evel Knievel! The traditional cloth cap, soon to be challenged but never replaced by the baseball version was popular as was the floppy sun hat. However the 80s version was not todays wide brimmed job but apparel that often flopped down, almost covering the eyes.

In terms of protective gear, pads were often wafer thin leading to cries of anguish and bruised shins, until the arrival of the Gray Nicolls "Test Opener". Gloves were also developing rapidly but the old Don Bradman "crocodile tops" were still widely used along with the "sausage finger" style. Protecting the crown jewels, was a traditional jock, pre the arrival of the "box brief", while the box itself was normally the originally hard pink plastic type which didn't offer the greatest comfort. Consequently one in the "midriff" was about as popular as Jeremy Forrest is in the teaching profession at present! A thigh pad was still unusual, and a packet of B and H was usually thrown in as a substitute in another example of 80s dual use.

Mike Hendrick

Halcyon days with the likes of Mike Hendrick resplendent in the above gear, when he was not busy starring in the era's favourite manual, the Joy of Sex.


  1. Benson & Hedges Gold - ah the class.
    However, that last thought of Hendrick and the Joy of Sex has put me right off my coffee...

    Brilliant read as always lads!

  2. At least cricket wasn't subjected to the shorts on show in the football league! *shudders*

  3. I think more should be made of the sporting jock or the poor mans boxers with the box hanging out of the side as you waddle to the wicket!

  4. Bet there was never a tube of bloody sunscreen in those manky bags.

  5. Hi Gareth I share you shuddering re the shorts they wore in 1980s Soccer. Tad tight eh!


  6. All - thanks for the comments above and those on twitter and facebook. I always like to chuck in a few comedy pieces amongst the "serious stuff".