1970. I'd been to the local library and taken out a copy of Runs in the Family, the autobiography of one of my earliest sporting heroes.
"Some of my best friends have put me in hospital. Fred Trueman did it the first time we met. He broke my hand." That's how John Edrich began his account of his life and career up until that point. I started to watch cricket in 1968. The grainy black, white and grey image on the massive 17" screen of our Pye TV didn't make picking out the ball at all easy, but I was gripped by Colin Cowdrey's men attempting to wrestle back the Ashes from Bill Lawry's side.
England's remarkable win in the final, rain-affected, Oval test match meant that the series was drawn 1-1 with Australia retaining the little urn. John Edrich was named as both England's Player of the Match and of the series. His 164 in the first innings of that final test at The Oval still sits in the memory.
But what's all this cricket stuff got to do with bygone boozers? Well, the subject of this post is the Edrich Arms. That was the local, unofficial, name for the Globe Inn in Blofield, Norfolk. At least, that is, according to Edrich's book.
Blofield was a village full of Edriches. Hardly surprising considering that John's grandfather, Harry, had thirteen children, eight of whom were boys. His grandson's weren't bad with the willow and leather. Geoff (Lancashire), Brian (Kent and Glamorgan) and Eric (Lancashire) all played county cricket with Bill (Middlesex) and John (Surrey) also going on to have outstanding test match careers. The family often fielded an entire side of Edriches to play in charity matches against the Lords Taverners and their like.
When test matches were being played the bar of the Globe would apparently be packed with Edriches peering over their pints at a small screen to see how one or other of their relatives was doing.
The Globe used to sit alongside the A47 on the western edge of the village of Blofield. In existence since at least 1772 it was one of the landmark pubs of my childhood, like the Griffin in Thorpe St. Andrew, by which the progress of car journeys to and from grandmothers could be measured. In my time it was firstly a Bullard's house and then, following their acquisition by Watney's, a purveyor of Norwich Brewery products.
There's no doubt that the building of the village's bypass would've greatly reduced the Globe's passing trade. It was for sale as private accommodation in the spring of 1999 and ended up being demolished in November of the same year. Housing now stands on the site.
The Globe has gone and sadly so too has John. A few days before Christmas Surrey CCC posted this picture on their Facebook page
If it's not my landmark pubs, it's my sporting heroes. I can't help wondering at times just how long it'll be before it's my turn.
The image of the Edrich family XI came via Greg Edrich.
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