Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Yorkshire Post tells it straight

Posted by Tony Hutton

For those of you who only read the sports pages, a rather curious item appeared in the centre page of the Yorkshire Post at the weekend. A large picture of Geoffrey Boycott, in trade mark hat, was shown alongside the following story which has more than a grain of truth about it. It does however seem to contain a slight element of bias against people from Lancashire, the midlands and the south of England. Judge for yourselves.

Listening to the peerless punditry of Geoffrey Boycott on Test Match Special, it's a shame his late mother Jane is not available for slection to England's misfiring World Cup squad. Evidently, she could bat like a demon with a stick of rhubarb, bowl in 'the corridor of undertainty' and pocket catches in her pinny. The Yorkshire cricket legend has taken sporting analysis to new levels because of his straight-talking. No wonder football fans switch off when Match of the Day is broadcast - bland panellists like Jermain Jenas and Phil Neville, together with Gary Lineker's lame smugness, epitomise BBC sport at its very worst.

I wonder if Geoffrey's agent wrote it.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Another Overseas player for Yorkshire

Posted by Tony Hutton

The original headline on Yorkshire county cricket club's prolific website yesterday was a little misleading. I think it may have changed now, but it gave the impression that Australian Women's International player Beth Mooney was to be added to the first team squad along with the four other overseas players already signed.

However, it appears she has been signed for the Yorkshire Women's team for the coming season as a wicket-keeper batsman. This may add to the grumblings, already going the rounds, about the volume of overseas players reducing the prospects for our home grown talent. Cannot Yorkshire women find a wicketkeeper?

This is just a small part of the usual pre-season discontent, which for once is not confined to Yorkshire. It seems that nine of the New Zealand squad to tour England this summer have been signed on for the Indian Premier League. This means that they will only get to England some two days before the first test match. This has already caused problems for two warm up games against counties and the one at Worcester has already been declared non first-class, so that it can be used as effectively net practice for the players who will be available, possibly including a few from league cricket.

This same thing happened at Derby last season when the tourist game was ruined and became a travesty of a proper competitive cricket match. Many people, including myself, may not now travel to Worcester and the sales of hospitality packages will inevitably suffer. The Australians are due to play a three day game at Derby later in the summer, before the Test matches start and one wonders whether the same will apply here. One of the reasons I renewed my Derbyshire membership was the hope of seeing a proper game of cricket, but this now seems very unlikely.

Never mind Colin Graves is now in control and we hope that he will have a positive input into the many problems which face the game in this country, including the question of T20 city franchises.

Fortunately the professional cricket watchers have many alternatives and I feel that many more may turn their backs on the first class game and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of Minor Counties, county second XI, junior and schools cricket. The attached picture from the cover of the newly published Cumberland year book shows one such place - the lovely ground at Sedbergh School. Roll on the first week in July when Cumberland will play Lincolnshire over three days on this ground.

Sedbergh School ground
One further item of bad news from Headingley this week has been the closure of the rugby stand seating for all cricket due to long term health and safety problems. This will be a blow to all those who enjoyed the best view of the ground from the top deck,despite the very cold temperatures endured as this part of the ground never got any sun. However the last item is good news, in that James Middlebrook, the popular former Yorkshire, Essex and Northants all rounder, whose services were dispensed with by the latter county, has been appointed to captain Minor County Bedfordshire for the coming season. We are sure he will do a good job and wish him well.


posted by John Winn

Serendipity: 'making fortunate discoveries by accident' Chambers Dictionary

Earlier this week, having about fifteen minutes left before my parking permit expired I popped into the excellent Local Studies Room at Darlington Public Library where there were several displays relating to World War 1 and on a side table the bound volume of copies from January to June 1919,  of  The Northern Despatch, a local evening paper first published in 1914 'to bring you news of the war'. Latterly known as The Evening Despatch the paper ceased publication in 1986.

Access to back copies of this and its sister papers, The Northern Echo and The Darlington Stockton Times, is normally via micro film, a somewhat fiddly process. especially when we have become spoiled by the search engine,  and I opened the volume with the intention of looking at the state of local cricket in the first summer of peace. It fell open at the edition of Saturday March 1st and my eye was immediately arrested by this headline

Death of a Brilliant Local Cricketer
The cricketer in question is seated on the grass, padded up, in this 1906 photograph of Haughton Le Skerne CC, his name was Albert Watson. The other player on the grass is my paternal grandfather, John Winn and the scorer is Roland Winn, my father's eldest brother, and captain of the club in the 1920s. Albert, despite long standing poor health was indeed a 'brilliant cricketer' for in age when outfields were mowed by grazing livestock and wickets were at best unpredictable, he headed the batting averages for six seasons out of seven and at a time when team scores often failed to reach three figures he regularly averaged twenty. In 1913 his aggregate was 404 with a top score of 53 and on a memorable day in 1907 he scored 113 not out of Haughton's total of 224 for 7 declared. Opponents Manfield and Cliffe were dismissed for 60. Cliffe CC ( and Haughton) continue to play in the Darlington District League to this day. When Cliffe parted company with neighbouring village Manfield is not known.
Cliffe cricket ground
Albert's reputation and performances were known to me and I was aware that he had 'met a premature end' and given his absence from the village war memorial it was unlikely that he had been a casualty of the war. As the report of his funeral describes his poor physical condition had made him vulnerable to illness and his death on Thursday February 27th aged 39 was from influenza. Tragedy is heaped on this sadness by the fact that his wife, also suffering from 'flu, had given birth to a still born baby just a day before her husband's death. Not surprisingly she is not amongst the list of mourners who were led by his father, sister and two brothers. Five of the other listed mourners are on the above photograph and amongst the pall bearers are Herbert Buckton, a Darlington footballer and standing next to the umpire in the picture, and my Uncle Roland, listed as Sergeant R Winn after war service in Mesopotamia.
The Despatch reports that 'Amongst the floral tributes was a beautiful wreath, 'In remembrance of Albert,from the Cricket Club-His innings ended and he played it well'. Nearly a hundred years on we might think this a bit corny, but not a bad way for cricketer to be thought of. And for me another piece in the jigsaw that makes up the history of the village were I was born.

Friday, 27 February 2015

What might be

posted by John Winn

Monday 22nd May2017

Fixtures for the week ahead

Friday 26th May
Super Smash T20 (7;00 starts)
Birmingham Bears v Southampton Solent
Knights of St John's Wood v Kennington Ovals
Sunderland Blizzards* v Nottingham Trent
Wales v Bristol Temple Meads
Yorkshire Fitzwilliam v Manchester Heat
* In the event that the lights at The Riverside are not ready this game will be switched to The Stadium of Light
Spectators travelling to the London derby at Lidl's Lord's  are reminded that St John's Wood tube station will be closed thirty minutes after stumps to allow for overnight engineering work on Crossrail 2.  Deputy Prime Minister Johnson will bowl the first delivery in this game.
Saturday 27th June
County Championship Div 2
Derbyshire v Essex
Leicestershire v Northants
Somerset v Worcestershire
Sussex v Kent
Wickets pitched 11:00am (pm in the case of the all night game at Hove)
Sussex President John Snow has reiterated that the eight Division 2 counties will continue to fight for the reinstatement of promotion between Divisions 1 and 2.
In other news the Prime Minister was in Leeds today to attend the investiture of Sir Geoffrey Boycott, Sir Harold Bird, Sir Jason Gillespie and Sir Harry Gration. Interviewed in the Headingley Long Room after the ceremony Ms Sturgeon said that the granting of Devo Max to Yorkshire had been a great success and was hopeful that it would soon be rolled out to other counties.

Friday, 20 February 2015

National KO Cup

posted by John Winn

Brendon McCullum having provided me with a little more spare time than expected today my thoughts turned towards the National KO Cup, the draw for which was made a few weeks ago. In my neck of the woods, and it is a giraffe's neck stretching as it does up to Northumberland and South Northumberland in cricketing terms, for the Newcastle Club have a bye in group 1. In the same group 2012 winners York go straight through to Round 2 but there are some attractive fixtures pitting County Durham teams against Yorkshire sides. Scarborough will host another Newcastle side when Benwell visit North Marine Road on April 26th. Passing Benwell on the A1 will be Harrogate en route to Ropery Lane, the home of Chester le Street and a venue for first class matches before Durham moved the short distance to The Riverside: twenty years ago would you believe.

In the East Riding, Driffield take on strong opposition in Burnmoor, champions of the Durham Cricket league in its inaugural season (2013) and now members of North East Premier League. Group 2 embraces clubs in West and South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire. Ties include Methley v Chesterfield and Hanging Heaton v Wickersley Old Village. The latter are a Rotherham outfit, members of the much enlarged South Yorkshire Cricket League.

In Group 3 holders Sandiacre Town are excused boots until the second round where they will entertain the winners of Loughborough Town and Welbeck CC. In the same group 2013 winners Nottingham's West Indian Cavaliers are drawn away to Sileby CC, near Loughborough.

The full draw is to be found ecb.play-cricket.com. There are sixteen groups in all and although there are some matches scheduled for April 19th, which is only 8 weeks on Sunday the majority of first round matches are the following week..

Signs of Spring

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Geoffrey get's it right

Posted by Tony Hutton

Quote of the day by Geoffrey Boycott - 'cricket is not rocket science'.

How true! So why do we need this world wide army of pundits, summarisers and so-called commentators trying to persuade us that it is?

I could go on, but can only point you in the direction of Geoff Lemon's excellent piece entitled 'How channel nine are destroying a legacy' which can be found at
It is the last item on this page.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

County cricket is alive and well

Posted by Tony Hutton
 County ground at Worcester

School half term is upon us. A time when all grandparents should have undergone a concentrated fitness course to prepare them for the week ahead. The good news however, is that eight weeks today Yorkshire will be stepping out at Worcester to start the defence of the county cricket championship. That assumes of course that the ground will not be under water, as it often is at this time of the year.
Before that happens we will have to endure the cricket world cup, the Indian premier league and an England tour of the West Indies, which will be still going on when the proper cricket starts here. Yorkshire, probably missing about half their first team on England duty, will be playing the MCC towards the end of March in Abu Dhabi in front of a few hardened travelling followers and even more camels.
This travesty of what used to be the traditional opening game of the season at Lord's is yet another symptom of the proliferation of T20 cricket to the exclusion of all else. If the tradition of a game at the end of April could continue, a much larger contingent of Yorkshire members might travel to Lord's at a slightly lower cost than flying out to the desert.
Still there is more good news. A circular from Stephen Chalke, possibly the crown prince of current cricket writers, confirms that his latest book 'Summer's Crown', a history of the county championship, will be published late in March at a price of £20. I am sure it will prove to be an absolute bargain. Stephen had to postpone a trip to the Northern Cricket Society as the book took longer than anticipated to write, but will be doing a tour of Yorkshire cricket Societies in September and October.
The dates for these are 29th September at Halifax 13 Cricket Society, 6th October at Northern Cricket Society, Headingley and 8th October at Wombwell Cricket Lovers, Barnsley.
Apart from Yorkshire's signing of three well publicised overseas players, one hopes that several of the younger generation will also get a chance in the first team this season, particularly as many of the regulars may be on England duty. Probably next in line as batsmen are Jack Leaning and Will Rhodes, but Ryan Gibson who was outstanding for the Academy last season might also get a chance. Of the bowlers it would be nice to see Moin Ashraf back to form and fitness, but apparently he has suffered another injury while playing in Australia. Other bowlers who have impressed are the England Under 19 trio of Shaw, Fisher and Carver, the slow left arm bowler.
There have been a good few changes in personnel moving from various counties. Lancashire for instance, having lost Kyle Hogg through injury and released Oliver Newby and Kabir Ali, look short of pace bowlers, but have recruited Nathan Buck from Leicester and George Edwards from Surrey. Joe Denly has left Middlesex to return to his original county Kent who have lost Geraint Jones, who will captain Gloucester, and Mark Davies, the former Durham player, who has retired.
Gloucester have perhaps suffered the greatest loss as both Gidman brothers have moved on. Will to Notts and Alex to Worcester. Andre Adams, the very useful New Zealander, has left Notts to join Hampshire. Derbyshire could have made a good move in signing the young all rounder Shiv Thakor, who was troubled by injury at Leicester, but has always looked a very good prospect.
Steve Kirby has retired at Somerset and Nick Compton has also returned to his original county of Middlesex to replace Denly.
There are quite a few more movers and shakers and I will do another summary as the season approaches. All that remains is to study the proliferation of county, minor county, university and second eleven fixtures now available and try to work out the best possible programme despite, as usual, many unfortunate clashes.