ISSUE 16, January 2006
Editorial
Historic: Sherlock Holmes incarnate
Travel: In the Footsteps of the Incas
Sport: Batting for England
Grand Lodge: Pro Grand Master's speech and Quarterly Communication
Supreme Grand Chapter: First Grand Principal's speech and Committee of General Purposes
Royal Masonic Girls' School: Stories in windows
Specialist Lodges: Brotherhood of the Angle
    Napoleonic Wars: A Mason's Word
International: Macedonia: New Grand Lodge consecrated and Enthusiasm unbound
Grand Lodge: Development of Freemasons' Hall
Masonic Rebels: Rise and fall
Bristol Museum: A Phoenix from the Ashes
Freemasonry and Religion: United in diversity
Library and Museum: Most glorious of them all
First Aid: Masons learn to shock
Education: The Third Degree and Forthcoming events
Masonic Charities, Letters, Book Reviews, Gardening

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Above
Bob Sirett presents a painting of Kevin Pietersen to the England player at Arundel

Below
The artist shows Pietersen in full flow


    Behind many great sporting headlines are odd little stories that add to the background and bring almost a touch of romanticism to such events. In a modest way, such a tale involves both me and my son, Joe, a discarded cricket bat and last summer’s heart-stopping Ashes series.
    After reflecting on that thrilling series against Australia and all those tense, nailbiting moments, I find it difficult to believe that I had a personal involvement with the proceedings, or that the Sussex village of Billingshurst had a connection with the massive contribution made by England stars Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen, two players contracted to the local Woodworm cricket company, run by my son Joe.
    When we were preparing to move from Christ’s Hospital to Billingshurst on my retirement, a bat was found in the garage which was riddled with woodworm. There were trails and holes everywhere and it was only fit for the dustbin.
    What made me keep it? I don’t know and I certainly don’t know why I bothered to go to work on it with my sander and wood filler. However, after many hours I felt that the new shape which emerged with ‘cut-aways’ at the top of the bat had something different to offer.
    Wood had been taken away from a vulnerable area of the cricket bat, which is always susceptible to that little snick to the wicketkeeper or slip. There was a symmetry in the new-shaped bat, which looked elegant. The next defining moment was when Joe used it in a match for his Surrey League club. He scored 142 not out and everybody at the game said that this bat performed like a magic wand. Hence the name of the first commercially produced bat!
    The rest is history. The signing of Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen, James Anderson and Murilatharan to use the commercially made bats was to follow. Finding financial backing was a vital part of the story. Now the company has 10% of the U.K market. Who knows what will happen in the future? There is no doubt the company will expand into other areas as investors will be keen to join forces with the young company.
    It was a great team effort, which Freddie never ceases to stress, but when I see the ‘heart and soul’ batting and bowling of Freddie and the ‘rock and roll’ batting of Kevin, I just pinch myself and think about those hours whittling away with that Black & Decker mouse in Dell Lane.

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