Exhibition gets second innings

Grimethorpe Miners Welfare CC v Sheffield Caribbean CC - Runs On The Board
Grimethorpe Miners Welfare CC v Sheffield Caribbean CC - Runs On The Board
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IT was a somehow very Yorkshire celebration of a somehow very Yorkshire sport – but it has been so popular it’s now set to go nationwide.

Runs On The Board was an exhibition and hardback book of incredible photographs and poems showing more, ahem, mature cricketers enjoying the rites and rituals of the amateur game.

Sheffield Caribbean CC - Runs On The Board

Sheffield Caribbean CC - Runs On The Board

Featuring experienced batsmen and bowlers from more than 20 clubs, including Sheffield Caribbean Sports CC, Elsecar CC and Whiston Parish Church CC, it has attracted almost 20,000 visitors to three venues in Barnsley, Leeds and Scarborough, over the summer.

And now the men behind the project – art commissioner Graham Roberts, Barnsley photographer Anton Want and poet Andrew McMillan – are set to take it around the country after receiving widespread critical acclaim.

“We always thought it was good and hoped it would strike a chord,” says Graham, himself a more mature player at 63.

“But the response has been even better than we could have hoped.

Elsecar CC - Runs On The Board

Elsecar CC - Runs On The Board

“The exhibition is going into storage at Headingley cricket ground for the end of the cricket season but the interest has been so over-whelming it will be coming out again next year, and we’ll probably be taking it round the country. The interest has been expressed by some venues.”

As part of the project – part of a £42,000 cultural commission to celebrate the country’s sporting achievements in the run-up to London 2012 – a special Grey Fox Trophy tornament for teams of over 50s was held.

“And that has been a success too – so much so we’ll be holding it again next year.

“There’s some interest in the East Midlands about it too so perhaps we’ll widen the trophy area too.”

The exhibition is now being shown at Ilkley Literature Festival and is expected to start a small tour of the country early next summer.

“To be honest,” said Anton, aged 40, of Silkstone, previously, “When I first took the commission I wasn’t really a fan of cricket but over the summer, as I was learning the subtleties and intricacies of the game, I couldn’t help but get more into it.

“And the guys who play are absolute gentlemen. Most of them have been doing it since their teens and their passion is so complete you can’t help begin to feel it yourself.”

Howzat, indeed.