Trent Bridge abuzz as Wynne-Thomas joins Twitter

Twitter has never been short of cricketing converts, be they past or present players, journalists or opinionated fans of the game.

In recent times the ranks have even gained their first fake accounts, with the merciless lampooning of Kevin Pietersen’s pronouncements and those of the ECB’s hapless marketing department.

Yet in the typically sotto voce way of a 77-year-old librarian, the arrival of Peter Wynne-Thomas on the social media network may finally have provided it with a user worth following.

Better known as Trent Bridge’s historian and archivist, Wynne-Thomas has been a fixture at Nottinghamshire for decades, editing the club’s year book since 1975.

A former secretary of the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians, he also managed the Sport-in-Print bookshop opposite the Trent Bridge Inn until its sale in 2006.

But his latest venture seeks to share his wealth of knowledge with a new generation of adherents via the World Wide Web. Not that it’s come easy, as he’s the first to admit.

“I don’t know anything about Twitter, quite honestly. I’m afraid it’s entirely designed by our infamous marketing department,” he said, ruefully.

“One of them warmed up their computer to show me how it worked the other day as I’ve never so much as sent an email to anyone previously.

“I’m told that Graeme Swann holds the record on there for making more stupid remarks per day than anyone else. Maybe what they put on it from me will offer something different.”

Despite Wynne-Thomas’s reluctance to fully embrace the technology, his tweets thus far – or at least those typed by the county’s marketing department – hint at an intriguing mix of long forgotten facts and historical whimsy to come.

Not slow to miss out on a scoring opportunity, his first one plugged his latest venture into print – a typically encyclopaedic history of the game’s chroniclers and statisticians.

But since then he has reminded followers of the passing, some 67 years previously, of a certain James Turner, whom history records turned out twice for Notts in 1894 and contributed 26 runs against Kent.

He also notes, with no further explanation possible in the medium’s 140 characters, that in May 1904 bowler TG Wass conceded seven runs to Kent batsman CHB Marsham off a single ball.

Wynne-Thomas, whose nickname ‘Wiz’ is incorporated into his tongue-in-cheek Twitter name @wizipedia, describes himself on the site as having an “irrational love of cricket and typewriters”.

His self-penned cartoon avatar shows him sat in front of the latter and surrounded by books on the former in the Trent Bridge library, the second biggest cricket collection in the world after the one at Lord’s.

He added: “We’ve probably got more books than them in one place as most of theirs are in storage. Ours are much easier to access too as you don’t have to go through so much security or be a member of MCC.”

At the time of writing, Wynne-Thomas was following just two other Twitter users, though how much ‘banter’ he’ll share with one of them, Stuart Broad, remains unclear.

And in the YouTube video that accompanies his new venture into the world of online comment, he is heard asking an unseen colleague: “What’s all this in aid of, then?”

But the meeting of old and new is bound to be an intriguing one this season as one of the county game’s most careful compilers uses the internet to go back to the future.

*You can follow Peter Wynne-Thomas on Twitter @wizipedia. His new book ‘Cricket’s Historians’ is published by the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians.

Picture: Nottinghamshire CCC


About Robin Hutchison

Robin Hutchison is a Midlands-based sports Journalist and PR consultant. He is a regular contributor to The Cricketer magazine and currently pens their monthly betting column. He also contributes articles to a number of national newspapers including The Sun, Daily Star, Sunday Mirror and Sunday Express and is the author of The Tinman: The Ted McMinn Story.
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