Monday 30 August 2010


The language is peppered and salted with sporting terms. Whether somebody is fielding questions, playing on a sticky wicket or hitting something for six, he is playing cricket.

Slightly more obscure is the feat of H.H. Stephenson in 1858. Stephenson was a fast bowler who took 303 wickets over the course of his career. He once took three wickets with consecutive balls. Nobody had done this before. Everybody was terribly impressed with Stephenson: he had taken a trick of three wickets (trick as in card games). They felt Stephenson should have an award, but they didn't know what to award him. So they made him a special hat.

That's why it's a hat trick.

Incidentally, a google was originally a kind of cricket delivery, a forerunner of the googly.

P.S. I was at the cricket yesterday and it has been scandalously unreported in the papers that when Amir was facing his first delivery somebody with a very loud voice shouted "No ball".

P.P.S. I can't work out exactly what a google was. Anybody know?


  1. The Antipodean, apparently still fond enough of cricket to enjoy this post,30 August 2010 at 14:53

    At Lords, Dogberry? That definitely should've made the papers - it's positively Australian.

    Cricket even made the intro to the leader's debate during our recent (as yet unresolved) election: "Now the Opposition Leader won the coin toss and decided to send Julia Gillard in to bat first."

    The term googly has been around since 1903 or 1904, I think, so perhaps google was an early verb form? Harold Pinter used it in No Man's Land in 1975: "Tell me with what speed she swung in the air, with what velocity she came off the wicket, whether she was responsive to finger spin, whether you could bowl a shooter with her, or an offbreak with a legbreak action. In other words, did she google?"

    Liked his cricket, Harold. Among other things.

  2. The founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, apparently mispelled "googol" - a term coined by Edward Kasner. It is a 1 followed by 100 zeros or 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. It was suggested to him by his nine-year-old nephew!