By Dan Waddell
Adolf Hitler despised cricket, contemplating it un-German and decadent. And Berlin in 1937 used to be now not a time to be going opposed to the Fuhrer’s needs. yet sizzling at the heels of the 1936 Olympics, an enterprising cricket enthusiast of huge bravery, Felix Menzel, by some means persuaded his Nazi leaders to ask an English crew to play his motley band of part-timers.
That crew was once the gents of Worcestershire, an ill-matched team of mavericks, minor the Aristocracy, ex-county cricketers, wealthy businessmen and callow schoolboys – led by way of former Worcestershire CC skipper significant Maurice Jewell. Ordered ‘not to lose’ through the MCC, Jewell and his males entered the 'Garden of Beasts' to play unofficial try out fits opposed to Germany.
Against a backdrop of repression, brutality and sporadic gunfire, the gentlemen battled searing August warmth, matting pitches, the ability and crafty of Menzel, and competitors who didn't constantly adhere to the legislation and spirit of the sport. The travel culminated in a fit on the very stadium which a yr prior to had witnessed one in every of sport's maximum spectacles and a sinister public exhibit of Nazi could.
Despite the shadow solid by means of the cataclysmic clash that was once presently to engulf them, Dan Waddell's bright and precise account of the gents of Worcestershire's 1937 Berlin journey is a narrative of triumph: of civility over barbarity, of ardour over indifference and desire over melancholy.