Hobbsy – A Life in Cricket

In the late Sixties and early Seventies the Essex circus, led by Brian ‘Tonker’ Taylor and featuring three spinners, was, for cricket fans, as bewildering and beguiling as its contemporaries Sergeant Pepper and Monty Python.

 

At the heart of it all, both on and off the field, was Robin Hobbs. His fun-loving personality, brilliant fielding and leg-spin skill made him one of the great characters on the county circuit. He could (but wouldn’t) lay claim to being the second best leg-break bowler in the world through most of his career. The fact that he only played seven Tests says much about English pitches and a general mistrust of his bowling art.

 

Hobbs played cricket in four continents, took over 1000 first-class wickets, scored a 44-minute century against Australia and generally brought far more into the game than he took out of it. Dodging riots in Pakistan, driving Geoff Boycott to distraction or clubbing with Princess Margaret in the West Indies – he was the perfect tourist, always willing to do what was necessary with a smile and a joke.

 

Through extensive conversations with the man himself and many of his fellow players of the time, Hobbsy – A Life in Cricket is an evocation of a time gone by where the one-day game was a bright young thing and the County Championship was still king. There are tales aplenty from seasons in Essex, Suffolk, Glamorgan and the brief foray into the international arena where Hobbs had the unenviable distinction of playing one Test match without ever getting onto the field.

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