The historic county of Cheshire may be the native soil of 14 England cricketers, but in a modern version of Cobbett's Rural Rides of a couple of centuries ago, Geoff Wellsteed has travelled its length and breadth to document in minute detail a more humble level than the Test arena, visiting in person an eye-watering 133 clubs, speaking with officials and members and poring through club histories, records and pavilion memorabilia of all kinds.
A more detailed history of Cheshire club cricket would be difficult to imagine.
Few are better qualified than Wellsteed to write about this subject, given his position as Honorary Secretary of the Cheshire County Cricket League and Vice-Chairman of the Cheshire Umpires and Scorers Association, together with his regular umpiring duties around a county which has officially lost areas to Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Derbyshire, although clubs from those parts continue to be within the remit of this book.
The writer has, commendably, made lavish use of primary sources, and the results of his indefatigable research are evident in the detailed club histories, where the feats of local cricketing heroes sit side by side with the difficulties, financial and otherwise, experienced by those who have struggled to keep their club afloat whatever the odds.
Indeed, this book is not only a social history of local cricket (and society), but also a tribute to all those players, officials, members and umpires who devote their lives to helping the game flourish at grass-roots level.
Illustrated with colour photographs of each club's pavilion and a miscellany of other pictorial material, this 248-page book is, indisputably, the definitive record of club cricket in Cheshire.