Monday, 5 October 2015

" The Four Binkses "

   The 4 Binkses -from left to right -Chris and Martin Binks ( Arthington ) Chris and Mark Binks ( Doghouse )

Written by Steve Bindman

The annual Arthington Festival has been - to date - favoured with sunshine and good weather even as we reach October. This weekend Hawks beat Arthington on Saturday but Arthington did register their second win of the festival yesterday against  The Doghouse. Doghouse - though perhaps not as strong as usual - through openers Adam Fenby and Richard Hawthorn were going nicely as they reached 72 before loss and then it was 120 for two down but a huge collapse - partly self-inflicted and due to good bowling from Geoff Barker ( 4 for 19 ) and young Will Rich (2 for 11 ) and suddenly it was all out 146.

Arthington had a few big scares despite the intermittent fall of wickets as first Chris Binks with 40 and then James Lord with 37 took the home side close to victory.There was then a small scare as Hawthorn took two wickets in two balls but Geoff Barker and Trevor Lobley saw Arthington home by five wickets.

An interesting feature of the match was that each team had two players called Binks- in each case M.Binks father ( Martin for Arthington and Mark for Doghouse ) and son both Chris ( Christopher ) Binks ! There was also Paul and David Smith ( father and son ) in the Doghouse side. James Lord of Athington,s father, Dave  ( a recent player ) was present carrying drinks and operating the scoreboard and only Joe Nash was not there to accompany his father in the Arthington team.Not quite the family  affair- scorer ( yours truly )  quipped - when asked if  I'm a  father I always reply - ' nothing could be fa(r)ther from the truth '.

The match was hastily dedicated to the memory of Stephanie Hewitt , the sister-in-law of Arthington guest player Richard Wright , who had sadly lost her long battle against a cancerous brain tumour the day before.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

A slightly disappointing season

posted by John Winn

I spent a few minutes earlier in the week totting up how much cricket I have seen this season and not surprisingly found the number of days is slightly down on last year. The reasons for this are readily apparent, indifferent weather, a surfeit of hospital appointments and clashes between championship cricket at Headingley and The Riverside, four matches as compared with one in 2014, have all contributed. My Saturday league cricket jaunts have also been a little on the dull side, certainly nothing to compare with those of Brian and Ron Deaton, and despite a late flourish with a trip to the Saddleworth League at the very end of the season the number of new grounds visited has not been much to write home about or indeed write on the blog about.

Mustn't get too gloomy however for there have been days that will sustain good memories throughout the winter including of course being at Lord's on September 9th when the news came through that Yorkshire had retained the championship. Other highlights have been a visit to Great and Little Tew, a first time trip to Southport, floodlight cricket at The Riverside where the lights replaced rather than just enhanced the natural light, an excellent finish to the season at the same ground when Durham got home by three wickets with four overs to spare and the most exciting finish of all when my local side Ouseburn CC lost by just one run to Falkland in the village cup. Enough there to keep the glass more than half full.

Regular readers may be aware of my quest to join the 153 club, the number of matches required to see each county play every other county once in first class cricket. This project which I embarked on in 1990 rather slid into the sidings in 2015 when the only match available to me was Derbyshire v Lancashire which was duly 'knocked off' at the earliest opportunity on a bitterly cold Sunday in April and just in case the belt snapped the reverse fixture supplied the braces when I went to Southport the following month. Alas for the first time in a life time of cricket watching none of the remaining fixtures will be available next year. The list is short enough to merit typing here

                                               Somerset v Gloucestershire
                                               Somerset v Leicestershire
                                               Warwickshire v Gloucestershire
                                               Warwickshire v Leicestershire

So successful completion is dependent on the performance of four counties and whilst I have no axe to grind against Somerset I did harbour malicious thoughts towards the end of the season when even up to the last round of matches their relegation was possible. It was not to be for it was Sussex who slipped through the trap door allowing Hants to escape, rather than the west country men. Don't expect me to buy you a pint if next year Leicestershire and Gloucestershire are promoted and Warwickshire and Somerset go down.

Finally I set a hare running a couple of weeks ago with a question asking for the  names of the 28 surviving  England test captains. They are readily available on wiki so no need to type them here but if you have not already looked them up the name of the oldest may surprise you for it is Derbyshire's Corinthian*, Donald Bryce Carr who played in just two tests, was skipper in one, the one which gave India their first ever test victory and who was born on 28th December 1926 which makes him just about six months older than Tom Graveney, the second most senior. Carr was born in West Germany, which nicely sets up another little puzzler, name the test captains not born in England. Answers in due course.

Donald Carr Derbyshire's Corinthian by John Shawcroft is one in the ACS series Lives in Cricket

Donald Carr

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Reorganisation of Yorkshire League cricket

posted by John Winn

I had intended my first posting of the close season to be a summary of the changes being introduced into the higher echelons of league cricket in Yorkshire in 2016 but I have beaten to it by John Fuller at so why not go that excellent website where you will find a very clear account of the composition of the two new leagues, Yorkshire Premier North and its southern counterpart. John even has some fixtures for next season so if you haven't got your 2016 diary yet, now is the hour.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

And so to Arthington again

Posted by Tony Hutton

Have just returned from Brian Close's memorial service at St Chad's Church, Far Headingley. The large congregation were moved to applaud all three speakers who paid tribute to the great man. Brian Stott, former opening batsman for Yorkshire, read a speech prepared by John Helm, sports commentator and neighbour, who was away in India and then paid tribute to his former schoolboy friend himself. This was followed by Sir Ian Botham who spoke warmly of his former skipper at Somerset and how he had revitalised the county as well as developing the talent of Viv Richards and himself.

Finally Colin Graves, now chairman of the ECB, paid tribute not only to Brian Close the cricketer, but to his work for the club in developing young talent, as well as his period as President of the club. He spoke for everyone present by saying that his presence at Headingley will be missed by all cricket lovers. All the speakers quite rightly said we shall never see his like again.

Brian Sanderson has already reported on the weekend's events at Arthington, where cricket will be played for the next two weekends and does not end until Sunday 11th October. We are privileged each season to have this extended period of cricket when cricket watchers elsewhere have already shut up shop.

Martin Binks, the club secretary, as well as conductor of the Leeds Symphony Orchestra for the last 45 years, was awarded the CBE earlier in the year for his services to music. It could have been for services to Arthington cricket club for whom he has now taken over 500 catches behind the wicket.

Martin was in action behind the stumps last weekend with one agile stop down the leg side being particularly efficient. However, he did find time to demonstrate that he is also a very good photographer with a series of pictures of the regular spectators which he has sent to Catherine, daughter of the late Mick Bourne. Twelve months ago a memorial match was held at Arthington and the impressive Mick Bourne seat unveiled.

The Arthington regulars
The Arthington irregulars - Tony and Brian Senior on Mick Bourne's seat.
Fellow blogger Brian Sanderson looks as though he got a part in a Western.
Jennifer and Tony with their two 'minders' John Rex and Reg Parker.
Combined ages of the minders - 178 not out!
One final thought - we are approaching 300 blogs for the year, well past our record in 2013 already. We hope you have enjoyed them.                                                                                                                                                                
All three pictures by Martin Binks 

Monday, 28 September 2015

Farewell to two cricketing legends

Posted by Tony Hutton

Just before my recent departure to France I learned of the death of Brian Close and soon after my return I was reading about the death of Frank Tyson. Two famous players whose careers have been written about at some length in the well documented obituaries.

However I have some brief memories of coming into contact with both of them and would like to share these with you. I saw Brian Close on three occasions during his wonderful double season of 1949 when he was only 18 years old. The Roses match at Headingley, against Hampshire at Hull and the most memorable against Gloucestershire at Fartown, Huddersfield.

This was well into August and he must have been within sight of the double. For some reason in Gloucester's second innings he opened the bowling and carried on for 41 overs, bowling a mixture of seam and spin, to take six wickets for over 100 runs in what was a fairly low scoring game.

Brian Close leading out Yorkshire at Scarboroough.
(The more observant of you might recognize the attractive young lady)
Having moved to the Midlands shortly after this I only saw him perform in away matches at Warwickshire and Worcester for many years and by the time I moved back to Yorkshire he had left to join Somerset. One lasting memory is of him coming out to bat for Somerset at Park Avenue in a John Player match with a packed crowd. They all rose as one as soon as he appeared and applauded him all the way to the wicket. Very few cricketers have ever received an ovation like that.

Many years later I remember him captaining the Yorkshire Academy side of youngsters in the first few Yorkshire League games at Headingley. They could not have had a better leader to set the example.

That may have been after I came across him at Harrogate cricket club during one of the Tilcon Trophy competitions. He was scheduled to award the man of the match trophy, but it was noticeable that he hardly watched any of the cricket and spent the day studying the racing papers and phoning his bookmaker, which was quite usual for him.
As the game neared its conclusion he came out onto the pavilion balcony where I was sitting and said to me 'Hey lad, you've been watching the match. Who should I give the man of the match award to?'

Fortunately I had been paying attention and was able to say that Mike Haysman, the Australian turned South African, who was playing for Leicester, had scored the only fifty of the match and should get it, which he duly did. He now of course commentates on cricket in South Africa.

I can only remember seeing Frank Tyson in action once, but again met him long after he had retired. It was my first visit to Lord's, still just a schoolboy in 1954. Northants batted almost all day and scored 400, with Tyson unusually making 60 not out.
Middlesex then had an uncomfortable half hour or so to bat before the close.

Tyson marked out his run, and seemed to be winding himself up, pawing at the ground with his feet, before he set off and hurled his first ball down at such pace that it crashed against the pavilion railings for four byes, before anyone could blink. I had never seen pace like it and soon afterwards he poleaxed Bill Edrich, the England batsman who could not resist the hook shot. Edrich was carried off and a young amateur from Oxford came in as a night watchman and somehow survived. Fortunately Edrich was not seriously injured and returned to bat the next day.

Frank Tyson

It was thought at the time that this incident got Tyson selected for the Australian tour on which he was so successful. Many years after his retirement he came to England with school touring sides and spent a couple of seasons coaching at Woodhouse Grove School. I was introduced to him by a mutual friend, Chris Turner, who had been at Durham University with Frank and acted as his agent in this country to arrange tour fixtures and speaking engagements.

Anyway Chris arranged for me to interview Frank for Leeds Hospitals Radio, which I remember doing at Whitkirk cricket club. We spoke for about half an hour with my tape recorder on and I reminded him of the game at Lord's and showed him the scorecard which I still have. Strangely he did not want to talk about his bowling but was overjoyed to see that he made 60 not out with the bat. He signed my scorecard which is reproduced below.

So two remarkable players who I came across only briefly, but for many cricket followers their achievements will live for ever. May they both rest in peace.

A day to forget

Posted by Tony Hutton

Monday 14th September - Hampshire v Yorkshire (Ageas Bowl, Southampton)

My last day of county cricket this season started well, despite a somewhat unpromising weather forecast. I caught the train from London Waterloo to Southampton Airport Parkway which arrived in good time (I thought) to get me there for the 10.30 start.
However, some years since my last visit, I discovered that the somewhat erratic bus service to the ground only ran once an hour for most of the day.

So I took a taxi which got me there within a few minutes. Then my problems really started. Having remembered the uphill walk to the portakabin type building which serves as a ticket office I still had ten minutes to spare before the start of play. On reaching the office I found that the only occupant, a lady, was busy talking on the phone. So I politely waited, while the queue behind me grew steadily. Eventually I tried to interrupt the telephone conversation to enquire whether tickets for the match were actually on sale or not.

I got a reply of sorts rather brusquely to the effect that ' can't you see I'm on the phone'.
This was communicated to the still growing queue behind me to be met by low muttering to the effect that it was always like this and sympathising that I had come all the way from Yorkshire to be treated thus. Eventually the conversation ended and more politely this time I was informed that membership for next season had opened today and she was having to deal with a lot of enquiries. Perhaps there should be more than one person there to actually sell some tickets was my response.

Once I got the precious ticket in my hand I had to walk back down the hill to the bank of threatening looking turnstiles to gain admission. By this time the wind had got up and it was starting to drizzle with rain. However the players did enter the arena perhaps somewhat reluctantly particularly as Yorkshire, after only one day's rest following the Lord's match and no doubt continuing celebrations, had to field.

It all seemed somewhat familiar when I recalled my previous visit to the splendid Arlott Atrium. I did eventually purchase a scorecard and a cup of coffee, but the whole atmosphere lacked any sort of welcome, making Headingley look positively friendly.

The Arlott Atrium at the Ageas Bowl

Never mind perhaps it was just that end of season feeling and Hampshire were batting and making runs, if only slowly. Even the usually aggressive Carberry was taking his time to settle in along with Adams and I thought it may be a long weary day in the field for Yorkshire. However when the score had reached the seventies Brooks suddenly came to life to dismiss Carberry caught behind and Bresnan removed the dangerous Vince soon afterwards. Things were looking up but not for long - light rain took the players off, but they soon returned.

Four slips for Jack Brooks

A third wicket fell when the persevering Patterson had Adams caught at slip by Lees for a hard earned 50 and Yorkshire seemed back in the game. It didn't last though and Will Smith and Dawson grafted away for some considerable time, while it got colder and by tea time I had had enough and decided to leave. Rain was still in the offing and in fact the day did end early after only 78 overs with Hampshire on 219-4.

Yorkshire ready for lunch

A very poor crowd but the weather did not help and the game was being shown live in its entirety by Sky Sports. A strange choice for their one token championship game of the season, the game at Lord's would have been much more appropriate. So all in all a day that will not live in the memory, but I can't complain (much) after such an enjoyable week at Lord's.

Sky Sports in action at the Ageas Bowl

So it was off to Paris the following day to visit my family, where I was able to watch the rest of the game on Sky, after almost no play on day 3, the last day providing a contrived finish with Hampshire having to gamble to avoid relegation. Yorkshire however bounced back from the defeat at Lord's to win the game comfortably with a fine century from Gale and 76 from the consistent Leaning, who has had an excellent season. Why no county cap for him yet I wonder.

A week at Lord's

Posted by Tony Hutton

Seems a long time ago, but on Tuesday 8th September set off for London (after a day in Carlisle!) for a full week of cricket at Lord's followed by a day at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. So from one end of the country to the other and this was followed by a ten day trip to Paris to be in attendance for my two grandsons' birthdays.

However, I was delighted to read Brian and John's blogs keeping everyone up to date during my absence. So day one -
which was to see MCC schools playing ESCA (English Schools Cricket Association) at Lord's in a 50 over a side game. The first surprise came early on at Kings Cross Station in fact. We saw a familiar figure in the distance crossing the overhead pedestrian bridge. It looked like Peter Mann from Burley, aka Motor Bike Man, who now has great difficulty in walking.

On arrival at the ground we soon realised it was Peter, accompanied by the Brook family from Burley, as local lad Harry Brook was out there opening the batting for ESCA. Now at Sedbergh School, young Harry is an outstanding talent and has already been playing regularly for Yorkshire Academy and the Second XI in recent matches. 

Harry Brook at Lord's
He batted steadily, taking no risks, and with ESCA captain Haines from Sussex, put on 78 for the first wicket before being bowled for 34.

The smallish crowd on the grandstand side were entertained by some good batting by the top four, Haines top scoring with 63, but then the fell away somewhat towards the end and didn't really accelerate. The final score was 219-7 which seemed a little below par on a good batting wicket.

MCC member watches from the pavilion

MCC schools lost one of their openers for a duck but then Lynch from Somerset took over with a fine 68 which was the highest score of the match. The rest of the batsmen all made a few but only Keeping from Stowe school with 34 made a significant contribution. The return of opening bowler Jafri led to wickets beginning to fall and a close finish was on the cards when the eighth wicket fell on 206.

Close finish coming up

However McCoy from Millfield and Meyer from Whitgift saw MCC home with a partnership of 16 to win the game by 2 wickets with just one ball remaining. So an entertaining day's cricket ended with a presentation ceremony on the pitch, with the spectators allowed on the hallowed turf to see medals awarded to both sides.

David English presents the trophy to the winning captain
The winners - MCC Schools

Next day it was back to the serious business of the county championship with the four day game between Middlesex and Yorkshire. A good contingent of Yorkshire members were there in the pavilion for the 10.30 start, although some latecomers missed the sensational opening of the match. Ryan Sidebottom opened from the Nursery End and amazingly took three wickets in the first over. So Stirling, Compton and Malan (who had one of his stumps removed) were all back in the pavilion with the total 0-3.
End of Sidebottom's first over

By mid-afternoon it became clear the Yorkshire were county champions by picking up full bowling bonus points and that Notts had failed to get maximum batting points. However from then it took almost an hour, until the tea interval in fact, for the public address announcer to broadcast the news. Not to worry the travelling fans were all well satisfied. From then on the game became something of an anti-climax but still plenty of excitement in store.

Despite Yorkshire's first innings lead of almost 200, with captain Gale unluckily dismissed for 98, Middlesex fought back with a vengence in their second innings.
Compton played a splendid innings of 148 and such was the support he received from the later batsmen that some people were suggesting a declaration late on day three when the lead reached 350. However they batted on to the close to enable number 10, Toby Roland-Jones (a product of Leeds/Bradford University of course) to reach his first ever century.

Middlesex reach 500

The declaration came next morning, start of day four, and expectations were high that Yorkshire would go for the runs - target 381. The players must have been exhausted after their long day in the field and possibly due to some level of celebration of that second championship title in two years. Whatever the reason Yorkshire appeared to give up the ghost rather easily, despite 62 from Alex Lees and were all out for just 134, leaving Middlesex the winners by 246 runs.

Middlesex pack the slip cordon

What a turnaround, reminiscent of last years' game when Middlesex chased a huge total to win on the last afternoon. Full marks to Middlesex for not giving up and also to Roland- Jones who followed his century with five wickets for twenty seven. It must be said that the procession of Yorkshire batsmen seemed to hang their bats out to dry and most were caught in the slips or behind the wicket. Yet another remarkable game of cricket at Lord's which will linger long in the memories of all who saw it. The trophy was presented in front of the pavilion and the players soon made their way to the grandstand side where most of the fans and the players families were assembled. A proud moment for Andrew Gale, after his experience last season.

Andrew Gale gets his hands on the trophy

The following day (Sunday) was another Yorkshire occasion. This time the Village Cup Final with Woodhouse Grange, who play in the York Senior League up against Foxton from Cambridgeshire, who were making their first appearance in the final.
A great day for both teams and their supporters. Woodhouse Grange are of course old hands in this competition and were probably red hot favourites.

Woodhouse Grange

Grange's openers Andrew Bilton and captain Nick Hadfield were never really in trouble and put on an opening stand of 120. Both scored 60, as did Chris Bilton 65 not out at the end with Tom Young a quick fire 40 not out. So a daunting score of 256-2 in just 40 overs for Foxton to chase.

Foxton - gallant losers

Foxton were not going to lie down and their star batsman, yet another Sanderson, who had made three centuries in earlier rounds looked dangerous from the start. When he was out for a well made 74 things began to change and although some late hitting brought Foxton within sight of the target they were never going to win. Full credit to them for making it a close contest and they finished with a respectable 237-8. Woodhouse Grange taking the trophy for a record fourth time. It will be their last as next season they will be playing in the new Yorkshire Premier League North, which disqualifies them from this competition.

Foxton go down fighting
Woodhouse Grange take the trophy