THE Devon Cricket Yearbook has gone on-line for the first time in its 125-year publishing history to beat the Covid-19 crisis.
The 130-page book, produced in full colour, can be viewed by clicking this link, or the one at the foot of the page.
In most years the DCB yearbook is edited and printed in time for distribution to clubs at the Devon Cricket League’s pre-season meeting in Exeter.
Because cricket has been suspended until further notice, the league meeting did not take place. Rather than have hundreds of yearbook copies gathering dust, the book has been converted into an on-line read using page-turner software.
Between the covers are reports and analysis on all the Devon teams, from the county club through the age groups all the way down to the under-11 boys’ team.
There is a full round-up of women’s county cricket – and the over-50s and over-60s have a section dedicated to them.
Devon League secretary Ed Leverton has penned his final report before retiring this summer and handing over administration matters to David Sheppard.
One of the functions of the yearbook is as a chronicle of cricket in Devon, which means all the significant competitions across the county are recorded in detail.
Devon Cricket Board staff members working with clubs and in the community present a review of their activities later in the yearbook.
The final section of the yearbook contains obituaries of significant cricketers past and present who have died since the last 2019 edition was published.
Conrad Sutcliffe, who has edited the yearbook since 2001, said going on-line was the right thing to do.
“The yearbook is a chronicle of cricket in Devon, something that can be referenced by cricket lovers for years to come,” said Sutcliffe.
“Cricket is a game steeped in who did what and when, probably more so than any other game apart from golf. The yearbook is where they can be looked up.
“And for young county players, cup winners and league champions it is a permanent memento of their best days on a cricket pitch.
“It simply was not practical to print huge numbers of year books this year, but by putting it on line the record is there. And there will be a limited edition print run when the time is right to ensure archive copies are available in years to come.”
The Devon Cricket Board, and before it the Devon County Cricket Club, have produced a handbook every year since 1895. Current editor Sutcliffe has copies dating back to 1905 in his archive, but is missing several years in the 1920s, 1930s and odd years between 1956-62 and 1964-68. He would welcome the chance to fill the gaps in his shelves.
The first book in Sutcliffe’s collection is a 58-page edition bound with fine twine that exclusively detailed the activities of the county club. Full-page adverts filled more than half of the book and produced ten guineas (£10.50) in advertising revenue. Allowing for inflation, that’s £1,108 in 2020.
Although there was no cricket between 1914-18 due to the Great War, a yearbook was produced in 1916, just to keep members up to date with finances and future plans.
Between the wars the yearbook started to include details of other sides, such as the Devon Colts and the Devon Dumplings, both of which fed players into the county side.
Little changed in print until the mid-1960s when feature articles on clubs, groundsmanship and ball manufacturing appeared alongside the county club batting and bowling averages.
Throughout the 1970s yearbooks went up in pages as sections were added on the Devon Cricket Association, the Devon League and county cups as well as a regular 25 years ago feature.
By 1999 the yearbook contained more about cricket in Devon than it did about the county club that had started it. That was when the Devon Cricket Board took over production. Derek Cole stepped down as publisher after 31 years in the role.
Over the last 20 years the book has almost doubled size from 62 to 130 pages. The county club with 32 pages of reports, statistics and records continues to feature prominently.
Click here to view this 2020 Devon Cricket Board Yearbook