Every summer weekend, in every village and local park, thousands of amateur cricketers don their whites and turn out for their club. The weather may be threatening rain, the wicket treacherously green, the team composed of too many last-minute and frankly Hobson's-choice selections - but a day's fiercely contested club cricket, from the fast bowler's first ball to the final post-match pint, is a timeless, indestructible tradition. Gideon Haigh is one such cricketer. As well as being the author of critically-acclaimed and award-winning cricket biographies like "Mystery Spinner" he is, as readers of the Guardian will know, not only a keen member of the Yarras Cricket Club in Melbourne Australia but also chairman of the selection committee for its Fourth Eleven. Now, the columns he has been writing about his club's fortunes "A Load of Hard Yarra", have been collected to form a humorous diary of the Yarras' season, and a portrait of club cricket that weekend cricketers the world over should recognise.
Gideon Haigh is the author of Mystery Spinner, the Life and Death of an Extraordinary Cricketer, and The Big Ship, his biography of the legendary Australian Test captain Warwick Armstrong - both published by Aurum. Based in Melbourne, Australia, he writes regularly for the Guardian and Wisden Cricket Monthly.