June 13, 1928 – When a telegram fired up Harold Larwood’s bowling
Harold Larwood was part of the game between Nottinghamshire and Hampshire.
Updated - Jun 13, 2020 10:43 am
Harold Larwood is remembered for the “bodyline” bowling around the 1930s but had a decent career in the limited time he got to play. The pacer bagged 78 wickets at an average of 28.35 with the help of four 5-wicket hauls during his 21-match Test career that spanned between 1926 and 1933. He was also a decent batsman having scored 485 runs with two fifties at an average little below 20.
Harold Larwood’s last Test appearance came before he turned 30 as he denied himself from apologizing to Australia for the bodyline bowling in the 1932-33 tour. Larwood was known to have given importance to his family and the sport and an incident proving the same was written by Duncan Hamilton in his book about the Nottinghamshire pacer – “Harold Larwood: the Ashes bowler who wiped out Australia”.
You’re supposed to be concentrating on the match, not reading messages.
Harold Larwood was married to Lois Bird at the end of the 1927 season. Less than a year into his married life, Larwood was set to become a father. But Larwood’s county side Nottinghamshire had a home fixture against Hampshire while his wife was expected to deliver the first child. Larwood seemed to be tensed on the first day of the game as he failed to pick a wicket while Hampshire reached 148/3 after electing to bat.
At the same time, Harold got hold of a telegram which was passed to him on the outfield. Arthur Carr, the Nottingham skipper, jogged from the slips having found Harold reading a piece of paper. Arthur began to question regarding the telegram only to find out that Larwood blessed with a baby girl.
“What’s that? You’re supposed to be concentrating on the match, not reading messages,” said Arthur to Harold. “I’ve got a baby girl,” replied Larwood and celebrated the happy news by punching in the air.
Thank God it wasn’t twins!
Arthur Carr handed over the ball to Harold Larwood after finding out him in the joy. He felt it was the right time for Larwood to get back his rhythm and give his team a couple of wickets. Harold did more than what Carr would have imagined as the pacer bagged three wickets in space of four balls as Hampshire were down to 148/6 as they lost three wickets at the same score.
It was believed that Harold’s pace was increased by two gears after hearing the news. He claimed three of the remaining four wickets to finish with 6/66 as the visitors were bowled out for only 253. The No.4 batsman of Hampshire, Phil Mead, remained unbeaten on 89 despite their collapse. Walking back to the pavilion, the Hampshire batsman uttered “Thank God it wasn’t twins!” over Harold Larwood’s bowling.
Nottinghamshire made 91/2 by end of the first day but the following day was washed out due to rain. On the final day of the match, the home team declared their innings at 387/6 with Wilfred Payton scoring an unbeaten 129. However, the Nottingham team couldn’t win the match as Hampshire ended their second essay on 116/6 before the game came to an end. Larwood took 2/15 in the ten overs he bowled in the second innings.