On 30th June 2007, the Keele Reefer Association – whose tour to Devon is proudly supported by The Village Cricketer – will pay tribute to the life and times of Sir Ian Botham in its match against Ottery St Mary CC. The touring Reefers will decorate themselves in the manner of the great test players of the early-80s, which will certainly include a wide array of false moustaches.

So, in anticipation of the great occasion, The Village Cricketer today nominates the top ten cricketing moustaches, a decoration sadly lacking in today’s modern game.

10.   Sir Richard Hadlee: Small but perfectly formed, Sir Richard’s ‘tache was like many Kiwi attempts to keep up with the cricketing powerhouses, not bad but a little short of what is required for world class.

Sir Richard

9.   Jack Russell: Eccentric wicket-keeper who could tell to within a matter of seconds how long his Weetabix had been soaked in milk for. Perhaps England’s greatest ever gloveman, now an artist, his moustache was as bedraggled as his trademark floppy hat.

Bedraggled 'tache

8.   Clive Lloyd: A powerful batsman who, as captain from 1974 to 1985, was largely responsible for the West Indies’ extraordinary success. Also a star for Lancashire, the world’s greatest county cricket club. Great man, great ‘tache.

Great 'tache

7.   Robin Smith: Nicknamed The Judge because of his hair, Smith combined his ‘tache with a mullet. The Judge did not wear a grill on his helmet, which meant the bowlers had a clear view of that top lip while he was hammering the fastest of bowling with supersonic cuts and hooks. He visibly enjoyed the regular snatches of chin music he received from the West Indian quicks.

'Tache Judged highly

6.   Kapil Dev: An Indian legend, Kapil Dev was a fine batsmen and the greatest pace bowler his country has ever produced. Competed in an era of great all-rounders, and like Botham and Hadlee he also had a decent ‘tache.

Fine generation of 'taches and all-rounders

5.   Sir Ian Botham: The great man had to make an appearance. Not many men can look good with shoulder length, semi-permed hair and a moustache. But Beefy did, plus he managed to be the world’s greatest ever all-rounder at the same time. What a legend!

Top mullet/'tache combo

4.   Graham Gooch: Goochie ran the full gauntlet of facial hair during his career, from facial hair to full beard via designer stubble and his famous Zapata moustache. He was at his best though when sporting the ‘tache, as his 333 against India would testify. Interestingly, his 333 was boosted by hundreds from Allan Lamb and Robin Smith in a marvellous Test match for hairy-lips.

Goochie greatest when 'tached up

3.   David Boon: Tasmania’s all-time favourite cricketing son, Boonie would have held the Australian prize for the greatest cricketing ‘tache, but for the presence of the world beating Big Merv. Rumour has it that he was considered to be featured on the Aussue $5 note but they couldn’t fit his moustache on.

Wouldn't fit on Aussie bill

2.   Adam Hollioake: Perhaps a surprising pick for second place, Hollioake managed to do what other England captain’s have never, that is win an international ODI tournament when he led an inexperienced team to the Champions Trophy in Sharjah. His Aussie background maybe why he sported an incredible handlebar moustache for the start of the 2004 season.

Holy smoke!

1.   Merv Hughes: The clear winner by a hairy mile. According to Cricinfo, the big-hearted Australian fast bowler “was a lively character armed with an imposing run-up and delivery action, a classic fast bowlers’ glare down the pitch, a mischievous sense of humour and a moustache of incredible proportions”. Merv’s facial appendage is listed in Wikipedia as one of the all-time leading handlebar moustaches. Today’s “metrosexual” modern cricketers would do well to follow his lippy lead.

Big Merv