Thursday, January 18, 2007

It's Not Over Until It is Over

In 1983, Henry Blofeld (affectionately known as 'Blowers') was a sports reporter for The Guardian and was covering the cricket game between Essex and Surrey at Chelmsford. After the first day was washed out, the game was meandering to a draw and Surrey came in to bat with an hour remaining on the second day. Blofeld had to leave the ground early, however, to go to a dinner party, so he filed his copy and left a note for the sub-editor (the bloke who checks and cuts the words and saves most reporters' bacon more often than they'd admit) saying "please insert how many runs Surrey scored and how many wickets they lost".

Come 10pm, around the time the port was being passed around at Blofeld's dinner, and the great man calls into the office to see if everything was ok. "How many runs did Surrey score?" Blofeld asked the sub. "Fourteen" was the response. "And how many wickets did they lose?" "Ten."

Of course, Blofeld had written his story from the point of view of the match heading for a draw, rather than one side being bowled out for the lowest total in history. Fortunately, the sub had taken it upon himself to rewrite the story (which still appeared under Blofeld's name).
What makes the story even more interesting is that apparently the sub was a young fellow by the name of Matthew Engel, now Editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.


Image: Henry Blofeld