Alfred, Lord Tennyson was a mainstay of the top order for the Innisfree Bards. He lead the league in runscoring in Season 1, the year the Bards were pipped on the last game on run rate by the Royals for the title. That season, Tennyson scored 460 runs with 6 fifties. Reading a Wisden obituary, I discovered that Tennyson had a grandson, Lionel Hallam Tennyson, who captained Hampshire and England. Lionel was known as an astonishing character. His autobiography is called ‘From Verse to Worse.’ He once lead an MCC tour to India which included a tiger hunt, and his wicket keeper at Hampshire was also his valet.
The first time I ever went to a county cricket match was 2nd July 1983, the first day of Kent v Glamorgan at Canterbury. My dad took me with both of my grandads.
Who Wants This More?
The grandfather laureate, Lord Tennyson,
hidden behind a royal blue helmet
and a beard as untamed as
Hashim Amla’s, or RS Thomas’ eyebrows,
is in the nets, keeping on his toes,
drafting his cover drive.
The grandson cricketer, Lord Tennyson,
wearing the sweater he captained
England in for three tests
against Australia in Nineteen Twenty One,
is running in, around the wicket,
hoping one will nip back.
The grandfather poet, star-struck, attentive
to his younger generation, not out
of indulgence but to learn.
“He was three years old the last time I saw
him before death, but see, he holds
more skill and cheer than I.”
The grandson batsman, carrying a name in
honour of his grandfather’s friend,
certain with a rifle on a
tiger hunt, but facing this monument he’s
lived alongside by reputation and
the repetition of verses.
Tennyson attacks and Tennyson defends.
A sharp bounce catches the edge
and the netting trembles.
Innisfree linnets whistle the commentary,
song without cliché, as who could
tell who wants this more.
© Simon Travers, 2014