Tuesday, 18 October 2016

9 November 2016 - Dr Dean Allen, 'Empire, War & Cricket in South Africa: Logan of Matjiesfontein'

In 1877 James Douglas Logan, the 19-year-old son of a Borders railwayman, left Scotland for a new life in Australia. En route he landed in Cape Town - and there he stayed. In little more than a decade the entrepreneurial Logan - like his friend and ally Cecil Rhodes - amassed a huge fortune via the diamond fields and railways of his adopted country. But how could he achieve the social elevation he craved? The answer lay in the British Empire's favourite sport – cricket.

In Empire, War & Cricket in South Africa, profusely illustrated with rare and unpublished photographs and documents, Dean Allen uncovers Logan's fascinating rags-to-riches story. Although hopeless at cricket, Logan played a vital role in developing the sport in South Africa, sponsoring teams primarily as a means of personal advancement. Using Lord Hawke as his agent, he arranged some of the earliest international matches between England and South Africa - once having the captain and manager of the England team arrested as they boarded their ship for home! 

Several of these matches were hosted by Logan in Matjiesfontein, the town he built in the arid Karoo, 200 miles north-east of Cape Town. Now a National Heritage Site, in its heyday Matjiesfontein was a fashionable health spa, attracting visitors like Lord Randolph Churchill and Rudyard Kipling, as well as Surrey and England all-rounder George Lohmann, widely regarded as the finest cricketer of his generation and still the fastest man to 100 Test wickets. During the Anglo-Boer War, the town was fortified as the headquarters of Cape Command, and its famous Lord Milner Hotel used as a hospital and look-out post. Yet in the midst of the conflict Logan also organised a highly controversial South African tour to England - attracting many critics, including Arthur Conan Doyle. 

Born and raised in Somerset, Dean Allen now teaches sports history at Bournemouth University. He first visited Matjiesfontein while researching for his master's degree at Stellenbosch University, and his fascination for the history of cricket, coupled with the region's rich past, formed the basis of his PhD, which he completed in 2008.  

Dean has enthralled audiences in lectures and interviews across the UK and South Africa, with appearances on Test Match Special, Simon Mayo's BBC Radio 2 Drivetime, TalkSport, Classic FM and many more. Read, watch and listen here ...

Signed copies of Empire, War and Cricket in South Africa will be available for sale.

For more information visit http://www.deanallen.co.za/

Please note: the society's AGM will take place prior to this meeting at 7.15pm.

Coming up ... YCCC Chief Exec Mark Arthur + 1st XI stars, John Abrahams, Angus Fraser, John Holder 

All welcome! Join at any meeting - £15 a year/ £5 on door.

Venue: Brewery Bar, King William IV, Hallgate, Cottingham HU16 4BD, 7.30pm for 7.45pm 

Raffle: £2/ticket - prizes include 2017 Yorkshire CCC match tickets 

More information: email ercsoc@gmail.com or call Maggie Sumner (01482 861848) 

Next meeting: Wednesday 14 December - YCCC Evening, Chief Exec Mark Arthur + 1st XI stars 

PROGRAMME 2016/17 
12 October - Dan Waddell, Field of Shadows: The English Cricket Tour of Nazi Germany, 1937 
9 November - Dr Dean Allen, Empire, War & Cricket in South Africa: Logan of Matjiesfontein 
14 December - YCCC Evening, Chief Exec Mark Arthur & 1st XI stars
11 January - John Abrahams, ex-captain, Lancashire CCC; Manager, England Under-19s 
8 February - Angus Fraser, ex-England paceman, Test selector & Middlesex Director of Cricket 
8 March - John Holder, ex-Test Match umpire & Hampshire CCC fast bowler