Friday, 27 March 2015

County cricket's movers and shakers (part 2)

Posted by Tony Hutton

Some of you may recall that I did an early list of players changing counties about the middle of last month. Since then the list has increased substantially, with lots of new overseas mercenaries joining counties on short term contracts. Now that John Winn has whetted our appetites with next week's fixtures, it seems appropriate to update the list of changes. There are so many, I will do half the counties today and the rest sometime next week.

Derbyshire have been very busy in the overseas market signing New Zealand's batsman Martin Guptill until early June, when he will be replaced by Sri Lanka's Dilshan. In addition they have signed Australian bowler Nathan Rimmington for T20. Tim Groenewald, the opening bowler, has left for Somerset and Wayne White, not to be confused with Wainwright, has joined from Lancashire. Shiv Thakor has joined from Leicester and will hopefully develope his early promise as an all rounder.

Durham have no new signings and will continue with Australian John Hastings as their very useful overseas player. Gareth Breese has retired.

Essex will continue with New Zealander Jesse Ryder as their overseas player, with Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait joining for T20. They have lost Ben Foakes to Surrey and Tymal Mills to Sussex. Darren Gough's son Liam has joined the staff from MCC Young Cricketers.

Glamorgan have appointed existing overseas player Jacques Rudolph as captain in all forms of the game and have recruited batsman James Kettleborough (no relation to the umpire) from Northants. Jim Allenby has left to join Somerset.

Gloucester will suffer from the loss of the Gidman brothers to Notts and Worcester respectively, but Geraint Jones from Kent takes over as captain. Michael Klinger, the Australian batsman, will return in June. The ex-Yorkshire pair of Richard Dawson and Ian Harvey take over as coach and assistant coach.

Hampshire have recruited Australian fast bowler Jason Bird for the first three months of the season and Yasar Arafat from Sussex for one day cricket. Matt Coles has returned to his native county of Kent and David Balcombe has joined Surrey.

Lancashire have added to their fast bowling strength by signing Australian Peter Siddle until July. They have also added to the batting with Alviro Peterson from Somerset.

Leicester seem to have undergone an Australian takeover. Andrew McDonald has taken over as coach and Mark Cosgrove as captain. Another Australian, bowler Clint Mackay will join at the end of April and New Zealander Grant Elliott will be worth watching in the T20 competition.

More news next week.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Just a week ahead

Posted by John Winn

With Yorkshire having despatched MCC inside three days and Adam Lyth reinforced his already strong claims to be the next England debutant opener the first class season can tick off its first match. After a slight pause the season continues next Thursday with six matches, designated first class and featuring the six university sides entitled to put the letters MCCU after their names. These are all against county opposition and are as follows

Cambridge* v Northants at Fenner's 

Glamorgan v Cardiff* at Cardiff

Hants v Loughborough* at The Ageas Bowl

Oxford* v Worcestershire at The Parks 

Somerset v Durham* at Taunton

Sussex v Leeds/Bradford* at  Hove

Sadly for Northern pcws nothing further north than Cambridge but given reports of snow in Harrogate this morning perhaps I should lay this grizzle of mine to rest for a while. A friend from Sussex telephoned yesterday to tell me that 'they say' we will have to wait until July for summer this year which seemed at odds with a forecast for cracked flags in Huddersfield over Easter that was made at the Thoroughbreds lunch on Tuesday.



*university sides

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

One for your shelves

posted by John Winn

Apart from Wisden,  books from Fairfield Books of Bath take up more space on my 'cricket shelves' than those by any other publisher. The publishing company is owned by Stephen Chalke who took up writing about cricket in 1997 with Runs in the Memory, a book about the domestic game in the 1950s,  a time when championship cricket was the only game in town apart from visits by touring teams. Based on interviews with players of the era it is  fascinating stuff and a book I can go to time and time again and the only surprise is that I did not purchase my copy until five years after publication.

It is fitting and a nice coincidence that Tony should have mentioned Stephen's  biography of Bob Appleyard in his tribute to the great Yorkshire bowler posted yesterday. If you are seeking a copy of this then you will probably have to go second hand for it is not on the latest list from Fairfield Books. My own favourite among Stephen's books, at least until last week, is 'One More Run', a slim volume describing Yorkshire's visit to Cheltenham in 1957 a thrilling match described through the eyes and memories of Bryan 'Bomber' Wells and as the title suggests resulting in victory by a single run. To which side went the spoils I will not reveal.

 
About 18 months ago in a newsletter from Fairfield Books, Stephen warned his readers that there would be an unusually long gap before his next publication and that this was because he had been invited to write a history of the county championship. My copy of the magnum opus arrived last week and what a splendid record it is, a book that feels good in your hands before you even look inside its 352 pages . With many lovely photographs the book is a record of a competition that is just about recognisable today compared with its beginnings in the nineteenth century. How much longer that is likely to be the case was a topic of discussion at The Thoroughbreds lunch yesterday. 'Not much longer' once Colin Graves slides back the bolt on  the new broom cupboard at the ECB, seemed to be the consensus.

For those of a certain age, reading books like 'Runs in the memory' and 'One more run' can be chastening for it leaves you wondering why it can't still be like that and longing for a time when for a little over four months each year every Wednesday and Saturday saw the start of seven or more three day championship grounds with lots of 'out ground' cricket and festivals at places like Bath, Maidstone, Folkestone and many more.

I suggested earlier that 'Summer's Crown', the title of the new book, might usurp 'Just one Run' in my affections but whilst essentially they have the same subject matter they are very different kinds of books and will sit proudly side by side, filed under Chalke, and each will continue to give me great pleasure. 'Summer's Crown' retails at £20 post free in the UK from Fairfield Books 17 George's Road, Bath, BA1 6EYwith £2 postage for overseas delivery. If you wish to check availability ring 01225 335813.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Three former Yorkshire cricketers die within last two weeks

Posted by Tony Hutton

A very sad period for long time Yorkshire followers, with the deaths of Ken Smales, Bob Appleyard and now Ted Lester within the last two weeks.

Ken Smales, not to be confused with Frank Smailes, many years his senior, made his first class debut in May 1948 for Yorkshire v Northants at Fartown, Huddersfield. He was a 20 year old off spinner, who could also bat, going in at number six in his first game. This was also the first county cricket match I ever saw, at the age of 10.
Strangely enough the Yorkshire captain that day was the aforementioned Frank Smailes, a professional, which was very rare in those days of amateur captains. Norman Yardley was absent at a meeting of England selectors.

Young Smales did well taking the wickets of three top order batsmen for 51 in 26 overs in the first innings. His most notable scalp that of Northants best player Dennis Brookes, another Yorkshireman. Yorkshire won the game by ten wickets with Hutton and Halliday knocking off  the 167 runs on the last afternoon. Strangely enough I have only this week come across the Yorkshire Post report by the eminent cricket correspondent J.M. Kilburn. Despite the game being a real highlight for me, he was rather scathing of the last day's events. After Hutton reached 80, Kilburn's comments were as follows:- 'Thereafter the proceedings were uncommonly dull. Hutton was near enough his century for Halliday to limit his own run getting. In the end Hutton had need of the last 13 runs, he made them and our departure was thankful, for this was on the whole, a match of small merit.' How different from my schoolboy enthusiasm.

However Smales could not get a regular place in the strong Yorkshire line up and moved to Notts in 1951 where he played with distinction until 1958 when he retired to become secretary of Notts Forest football club for thirty years, which included their great triumphs under Brian Clough. He wrote a very good book on the history of the club. His outstanding cricket performance was figures of 10-66 against Gloucester at Stroud in 1956, still the only Notts bowler to take all ten. His best season was 1955 when he took 117 wickets.

Ken Smales

Appleyard's story is much more well known with the publication of Stephen Chalke's marvellous book 'No Coward Soul' in 2008 telling of not only Appleyard's struggle with illness, but his very difficult family background. Not only did he take 200 wickets in his first season in 1951, but he became a valuable Test cricketer for England, not only at home, but in Australia and New Zealand too. He just wanted to bowl all the time and it became very difficult for any captain to get the ball off him. His many years of devotion to the Bradford Park Avenue ground, the formation of the Yorkshire Academy and his work for cricketing charities are well known. He was a great man and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

Bob Appleyard

Ted Lester who died yesterday at his home in Scarborough was Yorkshire's senior living player. Here was a man who made an immediate impact in the 1947 season, finishing third in the first class averages behind Compton and Edrich in their great year. He was in some ways a breath of fresh air, not in the normal Yorkshire cautious mood, but willing to take risks and score quickly. He was once reprimanded by skipper Brian Sellars for wearing his cap at a jaunty angle, being called into the middle from the boundary and immediately sent back with a flea in his ear. Another coincidence was the fact that he was awarded his county cap during the game with Northants in 1948.

His relatively short career in the first team came to an end in 1956, but he continued to serve Yorkshire for many years to come, first as second eleven captain, then as scorer for thirty years, during which time his wise counsel and knowledge were passed on not only to the younger players coming through but to the travelling press men. Yorkshire cricket was his life and although never really in consideration for higher honours he was a good and faithful servant remembered with affection by many.

Mike Cowan, Ted Lester, Willie Watson and Bob Appleyard


APRIL CRICKET FIXTURES

By Brian Sanderson,

After eating my jam roly poly sweet , I agreed to start my contribution to the blog with the fixtures for April.


APRIL 3  NOTTINGHAM V DERBYSHIRE FRIENDLY TWO DAYS        TRENT BRIDGE


APRIL 4   NEW ROVER V  ST. CHADS        1.00PM

           SOUTHPORT V  LANCASHIRE   U 19

APRIL 5  BURNLEY  V  LANCASHIRE U 19

APRIL 7  YORKSHIRE  V  LEEDS AND BRADFORD  MCCU 3 DAYS     HEADINGLEY

               NOTTINGHAM  V  LOUGHBROUGH        3 DAYS

             DURHAM  V  DURHAM  UCCCE        3DAYS RIVERSIDE

APRIL 11   SHERIFF HUTTON BRIDGE   V  YORKSHIRE  ACADEMY  12.00 PM

            NEW ROVER    V  CAMBRIDGE STREET GILES CC      1.00 PM

          OLICANIANS     V   BEN RHYDDING                            1.00 PM
         
           YORK CC V PUDSEY SL 12:00 45 overs

             ACOMB V YORK CC II 12:30 45 overs

             NYSD Sunday Leagues start




APRIL  12    WORCESTERSHIRE   V   YORKSHIRE   4 DAYS LVCC

                    LANCASHIRE   V   LEEDS AND BRADFORD  MCCU 3 DAYS  OLD TAFFORD

                NEW ROVER   V  CAMBRIDGE  STREET GILES CC     1.00 PM

                   YORK V THE GRANGE EDINBURGH 11:30 T20 (x2)

APRIL 14  YORKSHIRE SECONDS  V   GLAMORGAN    3 DAYS  HEADINGLEY


APRIL  15   DURHAM  V  YORKSHIRE ACADEMY   2 DAYS  RICHMOND

APRIL 18  LEAGUE FIXTURES BEGIN

APRIL  19  NOTTINGHAM  V   YORKSHIRE   4 DAYS  TRENT BRIDGE.

                 LINCOLNSHIRE   V   CHESHIRE   GRANTHAM   11.00  AM

APRIL 20   LEICESTER SECONDS  V   NOTTINGHAM    1 DAY  KIBWORTH

APRIL 21   LEEDS AND  BRADFORD   V OXFORD  2 DAYS  WEETWOOD

APRIL  22   LEEDS BECKETTS   WOMEN  V  DURHAM  KIRKSTALL EDUCATION   1.00 PM

DURHAM SECONDS  V  SCOTLAND A

APRIL 26   YORKSHIRE  V  WARWICK  4 DAYS HEADINGLEY

APRIL 27  LEICESTER SECONDS  V  YORKSHIRE   1 DAY   LEICESTER INVANHOE

APRIL  28  LEICESTER SECONDS  V   YORKSHIRE   3 DAYS   HICKLEY TOWN

                  LINCOLNSHIRE  V  NOTTINGHAM    SECONDS  3 DAYS SLEAFORD
           
LEEDS AND BRADFORD  V  CAMBRIDGE   2 DAYS  WEETWOOD

          DEBYSHIRE SECONDS  V  GLAMORGAN   3 DAYS   DERBY

APRIL 29  LEEDS BECKETT V LOUGHBOROUGH KIRKSTALL   11.00 AM

                UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS   V   LEEDS BECKETT WOMEN   WEETWOOD   12.30

               SEDBERGH  V   YORKSHIRE ACADEMY      12.00

There will be some fixtures I have missed out but enjoy your cricket. Let it stay dry.

 

Harmy takes the Colliers' reins

It may not be widely known outside the North East that former England and Durham fast bowler and occasional media pundit, Steve Harmison is now the manager of Ashington FC. The Colliers, briefly members of the Football League in the nineteen twenties, play their football in the Northern League, a stronghold of the semi pro game with its member clubs stretching form Northumberland to North Yorkshire and with a couple of out posts in Cumbria.

 
Last week Ashington visited Dean Street, the home of Shildon FC and close friend, fellow Durham member, Sunderland devotee and resident of Shildon, Peter Sixsmith attended the match as well as writing a column for the programme.

Peter's column's theme of cricketing footballers was sparked by Harmison's tie up with his home town club, for whom he played as a teenager. Steve took up the manager's position in early February, since when the Colliers have shown improvement and made progress up the Division 1 Table, the ninth tier of English football. The blog has previously touched on cricketers who made the grade as footballers and the article included names like Willie Watson, Chris Balderstone, Arnold Sidebottom, Ken Taylor, Brian Close and  Jim Standen. Pcws may well be able to name their cricketing counties, their football clubs might be a little more taxing. Something for the Thoroughbreds to chew over between mouthfuls of jam roly poly when they meet for the last of this winter's lunches later today.

With Peter's permission I reproduce the final two paragraphs of his article which are devoted to former Sussex, Hampshire and England cricketer C B Fry.

'The ultimate all-rounder was C B Fry, who won an FA Cup runners up medal with Southampton in 1902, played 26 test matches for England in the days when there were maybe 15 in a three year cycle, held the world long jump record with a leap of 26' 3.5'', had a trial for the England Rugby Union team and had a party piece where he would 'leap from a stationary position on the floor and do a back flip and land on a mantelpiece. He would perform this trick at country houses much to the interest of the guests. He was also asked by a newly independent Albania to become King of that country ( he refused, presumably because of the lack of net facilities in Tirana) and was almost elected as Liberal MP for Banbury, losing by 829 votes.

Steve Harmison may not have done all these things but C B Fry was  never asked to be manager of Ashington. Should Harmy's boys win tonight, he may want to do a backward leap onto the bar.'

For the record Ashington were 4-3 winners thus denting Shildon's hopes of a first championship in 75 years. Whether Harmy tried to emulate Fry's party trick is not recorded. Readers wanting to know how Fry filled his afternoons might like to search for CB The Life of Charles Burgess Fry by Clive Ellis.

Monday, 23 March 2015

They don't write cricket reports like this any more

Posted by Tony Hutton

Having recently become a client of the British Newspaper Archive, I need to acknowledge that the following article from the Yorkshire Post on 1st August 1949, which may still be copyright of the Yorkshire Post and the author Derrick Boothroyd, is reproduced from their archive.

However, I feel it is worth risking prosecution, by the fact that this is such a well written and fascinating account of the first day's play in the Roses match at Headingley. All the more so as I was there as an eleven year old schoolboy.

The article is headed 'In the crowd at Headingley - Weary cricket spectators' by Derrick Bothroyd.

Yorkshire copied the railwaymen in their match against Lancashire at Headingley on Saturday and went slow. Occasionally they went one better and stopped altogether. Five hours' batting produced 211 runs - 42 an hour.

The crowd of 16,000 clapped slowly, cheered ironically and swore they would never go again. Perhaps they had not realised that it was the centenary of these Roses duels. To ask Yorkshire, or for that matter Lancashire, to score at more than 40 an hour on such an occasion would have been asking them to ignore a grand tradition. It would have been like asking the organist to play ragtime at the Harvest Festival.

That's Hutton - that was
The day started tragically. Before we had got our score cards from the little man with the white hair a dejected Hutton was walking back to the pavilion, run out from the third ball. Gloom struck the Yorkshire ranks. There was not a single small boy to clap him on the back as he walked up the gangway and only the Lancastrians to applaud. They enjoyed it immensely, of course. One of them was so excited that he lost his return ticket to Manchester and its discovery later had to be announced over the loud-speakers.

 But Lowson and Halliday came gallantly to the rescue and it was half past two before another wicket fell. it was a grand partnership between sharply contrasting personalities -  the serious Lowson, who always looks ashamed of himself whether he has scored a duck or a hundred, and the happy Halliday, who can smile broadly at a bowler when he spreadeagles his wickets with his score at 96.

Crosswords and cross words
It was the afternoon that dragged interminably. The only time Wilson swung his bat was when he was practising at the bowler's end, and Halliday did not even do that. He merely leaned on it and thought about the Theory of Relativity or something.

The women did their crosswords and discussed Princess Elizabeth's dresses and the men argued fiercely about who should be dropped from the Yorkshire team. Only Hutton, apparently, was worth his place - and even he will have to do something in the second innings.

The tea interval arrived without anyone noticing that the players had left the field, and then, at 4.20, a boy reading a detective story looked up and said. 'Somethings happening, Dad.' It was. It was raining. So 12,000 people got up gratefully and went home.

24 runs a day
It stopped about five o'clock, and we martyrs who were left gathered in front of the pavilion to inform the umpires and players that they could start again. But we had to wait until twenty five to six before they made a reluctant reappearance. 'Why haven't you all gone home?' they seemed to say.

Watson came in a five to six and showed his annoyance at being disturbed by getting two in the final half hour. 'He's scoring at the rate of 24 a day,' a statistician announced. 'He should just reach his 50 before close of play on Tuesday.'

And so we homeward plodded our weary way. And the funny thing about it is that we shall all be there again today. These English.


How does that compare with the bland quotes from captain and coach which summarise a day's play in the papers of today? Answers on a postcard, but mind your language!