The Society is delighted to welcome back journalist and author, Murray Hedgcock, who was born during the early 1930's, just before the Bodyline series, in Australia. This is a return visit from Murray who was our sixth speaker in our programme for 1989/1990.

We may refer to him as being "a Melbournian Londoner" since he has lived in London for many years after having lived in Melbourne. Because he has lived in both countries and he knows both Australian and English cricket very well he is ideally placed to give us his insights into the forthcoming Ashes series Down Under.

Murray was taught in Melbourne by the Australian Bodyline captain, Bill Woodfull, who was Headmaster of the school. Maybe this experience influenced Murray.s great love for cricket. He has described the Ashes, in The Times, as "the greatest sporting contest of all".

Murray says that he drifted into journalism when, as a bank clerk, he wrote a piece about a badminton league final in up-country Victoria in 1948 or 1949. He played in a team which beat the hot favourites. He reasoned that the only way his team mates and friends would get any publicity would be for someone to file a report in the local bi-weekly. If he didn't write the report then nobody else would!!

In 2006, in The Times, he selected his Ashes Top Ten. He chose Fred Spofforth, Douglas Jardine, Don Bradman, Harold Larwood, Shane Warne, Len Hutton, Keith Miller, Denis Compton, Geoff Boycott and Sir Allen Stanford!! So, he came up with five Englishmen, four Australians and one American. We shall leave Murray to explain his choices to us!

In 2000 Murray was selected, as one of 20 Australians, amongst a panel of 100 cricket experts worldwide to select their best cricketers of the 20th century. The top five comprised Bradman 1st with 100 votes, Sobers 2nd with 90 votes, Hobbs 3rd with 30 votes, Warne 4th with 27 votes and Viv Richards 5th with 25 votes. I wonder who Murray chose as his top five?

Murray has written for various cricket publications such as Wisden and The Cricketer as well as for national newspapers such as The Times. He has written books including social histories of his locality in South West London and has edited "Wodehouse: A Cricketing Anthology".

We can expect an entertaining evening from a man who has loved, and watched, cricket for many decades and who relishes the electric atmosphere of a fiercely contested Ashes series. What I want to know, above all, is which team will Murray be supporting when the Ashes series gets underway?!


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