Last-Wicket Stand

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Paperback, 288 pages

Last-Wicket Stand is an honest account of one man’s search for meaning, purpose and reinvention, both for himself and the sport he loves. At the start of the 2020 season, English county cricket faced radical change. The Hundred was coming, introducing new ‘franchises’ playing a new format in the hope of attracting much-needed new audiences. Its inception was controversial. Advocates argued only drastic action could halt the decline of cricket in the UK. Opponents feared it would undermine the very fabric of the much-loved county game. One devoted Essex fan set out to document the last summer before the big change. He toured the country in 2019 chronicling this often-ignored sport, from the gentle lullaby of the County Championship to the bawdy singalong of T20 Finals Day. Richard Clarke was in his 50th year, at a personal crossroads and fearing his best days may be long gone. Change vs tradition, growth vs security, money vs meaning – these perennial struggles lie at the heart of this absorbing and revealing journey of redemption.