Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Made in Huddersfield

Posted by Tony Hutton

Reading the book reviews in the Winter Edition of 'The Cricket Statistician' I came across one headed 'Born in Bolton'. This is a recent book by Geoff Ogden on first class cricketers born in Bolton which the reviewer, Richard Lawrence, compares with a previous volume written on the many cricketers produced by Reading, which included both Peter May and Alec Bedser.

Bolton certainly has an impressive list which includes such names as Dick Barlow from the distant past and Haseeb Hameed very much of the present. Also listed are such well known names as Charlie Hallows, Mike Watkinson, Bill Farrimond, Frank Tyson, Walter Brearley, Dick Tyldesley and Roy Tattersall. The side would undoubtedly be captained by the one and only Jack Bond.

At the end of his review Mr Lawrence wondered what other towns have similar claims to fame for the production of great cricketing names. There is only one real answer, which I conveyed by e-mail fairly rapidly, as Huddersfield must stand supreme in this regard. Not only the great triumvirate of Hirst, Rhodes and Haigh, who stand out from the past, but almost a full team of England Test players, with perhaps one whose career was cut short by injury making up what would be an unbeatable eleven.


Part of the memorial to Hirst, Rhodes and Haigh at Fartown, Huddersfield.

Hirst and Rhodes, whose records speak for themselves, were of course products of the Kirkheaton club whereas Haigh played for Armitage Bridge. Haigh, despite being in the shadow of the two great men, was a fine all rounder in his own right. His bowling figures were particularly outstanding. Another pre-war hero was Percy Holmes famous opening partner of Herbert Sutcliffe who shared in the record first wicket partnership of 555. A trio of pace bowlers of post war vintage would be provided by Alec Coxon, Ron Aspinall and Ryan Sidebottom. Aspinall, the only non Test player listed had his first class career ended early by injury but like Coxon, spent many years as a successful league professional in the north east.

Percy Holmes & Wilfred Rhodes at Scarborough 1927.

Coxon had just one Test Match for England when he allegedly had a serious falling out with Denis Compton in the England dressing room. Ryan Sidebottom had a more prolonged career with England as well as with Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. The odd man out could be Eddie Leadbeater, a leg spin bowler who gave many years of service to the Almondbury club and rather fortuitously played for England on a tour of India, when the leading players were absent.

The team is completed by three post-war batsmen Willie Watson, Ken Taylor and Chris Balderstone. Watson and Balderstone, like Percy Holmes, both played for Paddock whereas Ken Taylor started as a very young teenager with Primrose Hill. Watson, a double international who played soccer mainly with Sunderland, had the longest Test career and achieved fame with a match saving century in partnership with Trevor Bailey in the Lord's Test match of 1953 against Australia.

Ken Taylor was another soccer player, as a centre half with Huddersfield Town, who opened the batting with Brian Stott for Yorkshire when their running between wickets was outstanding. He played only fleetingly for England but had an outstanding career with Yorkshire, where his athletic ability in the field also stood out. It was a pleasure to meet him and his wife at a Norfolk Minor Counties match only a couple of years ago.

Chris Balderstone, with a couple of caps for England, was a more than useful batsman who blossomed after moving to Leicestershire. He too was a footballer with the unusual distinction of playing county cricket at Chesterfield during the day before playing football at Doncaster in the evening.

No doubt I have missed out a few others but this eleven would undoubtedly give any side a very good game. One who should certainly be added is Roy Booth, from Marsden, who was an
admirable wicket keeper for Yorkshire and Worcestershire.
His deputy could be Geoff Hodgson from Kirkheaton, who played just one game for both Yorkshire and Lancashire, another wicket keeper who suffered due to the consistency of Jimmy Binks.


Monday, 23 November 2020

Michael Crawford only Yorkshire Championship match

 By Brian Sanderson

In by last blog ,I wrote about Billy Sutcliffe first Championship

as Yorkshire captain. Today I am writing about Michael Crawford

first Championship match on the 15 August 1951 and he was 


Michael Grove Crawford played for the Seconds from 1947 to

1953 as amateur and right hand batsman ,captained them in 

1951 and was joint captain with Ronnie Burnet. He was invited

to captain the side at Scarborough against Worcestershire as 

Norman Yardley was absent. This was his only first class 

match for Yorkshire.

The Worcester players had to travel through the night by 

coach and only arrived at 2 o'clock on Wednesday morning

so were pleased R.E.Bird,Worcester captain won the toss

and batted.There was a crowd of 8000 and at on stage 

burst into a demonstration of slow hand clapping .Kenyon

declined to continue batting until given a signal by umpire

Emmott Robinson .The noise immediately subsided and the

crowd handsomely apologised for any bad manners when 

Kenyon fell in the late evening lbw to Leadbeater by the

reception they gave him on his way back. He had scored 

145 runs in five hours and 50 minutes out of a score of


The next day Yorkshire were bowled out for 114 with 

Perks taking six wickets for twenty nine runs.Worcester

did not  enforce the follow on and scored 92 so setting

Yorkshire 250 to win and a run a minute.

 Yorkshire had to get 12 points to keep their Championship 

hopes alive .

Yorkshire looked like they were going to win wanting 

31 runs in  forty minutes  and five wickets in hand.

Instead of gaining the victory , they collapsed against 

the left arm slows of Howorth and were all out eight runs

short. Vic Wilson was last out scoring 94.


Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Look Away Now

posted by John Winn

Wisden 1997 page 685 


681 for declared by Leicestershire at Bradford ............1996

Playfair 2020 page 199 Highest Totals v (Yorkshire) by Leics    Bradford 1996

So in 24 years all that has changed is the type and although Yorkshire have not played a championship match at Park Avenue in that time no blame can be attached to the wicket on which 1211 runs were scored in that match.  

Bradford has the distinction of having hosted Yorkshire's first home championship match in June 1890 when Sussex were defeated by six wickets but that counted for nothing as the city joined Sheffield, Middlesbrough and Harrogate as places where first class cricket would no longer be played. There was even talk at that time of Yorkshire leaving Headingley for a new ground at Durkar, just off the M1 at Junction 39. 

The match in question was dominated by The Foxes' mammoth score with 'Yorkshire appearing to lose heart on having to field on a batsman's pitch.' (Wisden) James Whitaker and Vince Wells both scored double centuries while 'Yorkshire bowled much too short and dropped seven catches' (Wisden). Yorkshire's reply began ignominiously with openers Moxon and and Vaughan both going for 0. Bevan led something of a recovery assisted by Byas and Gough.Silverwood and Stemp added 79 for the last wicket. Following on Yorkshire fared a little better but from  149 for 3 they collapsed to 188 all out (Bevan 65 not out). On the fourth morning they lost five wickets for 28 with Gordon Parsons taking three wickets for no runs at one point. 

Leicestershire went on to record a further seven victories that season finishing in style with innings wins against Durham at The Riverside and Middlesex at Grace Road. They learned that they were champions during the tea interval of their last match when news came through that Surrey had forfeited first innings against Worcestershire thus ensuring that they could not get the maximum points they needed to take the title. It was The Foxes' second championship to which they added a third in 1998. Four batsmen reached a 1000 runs, Whitaker, Phil Simmons, Wells and Ben Smith. Simmons, an outstanding overseas player topped the bowling averages with good support from Mullally and Millns. Wisden was fulsome in its praise for Whitaker's captaincy. 

James Whitaker

Monday, 16 November 2020

Remarkable game at Old Trafford in 1993

 Posted by Tony Hutton

Like John Winn and Brian Sanderson I too have been looking back at memorable games from the archives. Purely by chance the other day I came across a game I saw at Old Trafford in 1993 and had completely forgotten about. This was Durham's second season as a first class county with a large collection of somewhat senior players recruited from other counties, together with one or two young hopefuls.

The Old Trafford pavilion as it used to be.

I was there on the first day Thursday 6th May when Durham won the toss and batted against a strong looking Lancashire side captained by Neil Fairbrother and including the likes of Mike Atherton, Mike Watkinson, Phil De Freitas, Warren Hegg and Glenn Chapple. Durham's opening pair were former Lancashire man Graham Fowler, making his first appearance for the county, and veteran Wayne Larkins recruited from Northants. This experienced pair batted with unusual caution on the first morning and were not parted until well after lunch when the score had reached 143 with Fowler out for a patient 49.

Paul Parker the former Sussex player joined Larkins and he too got his head down obviously intent on playing a long innings. When I had seen Parker play before he had been much more adventurous with both Combined Universities, who famously beat Yorkshire at Barnsley in the Benson & Hedges, and Sussex. However he was possibly better known for his outstanding fielding in the covers. Larkins was out soon afterwards for a valuable 76 which had taken not far short of three hours, but he did manage to hit one six.

Parker was then joined by Phil Bainbridge, from Gloucestershire, a perhaps under rated all rounder. He batted through the rest of the day when Durham finished with a creditable score of 330-2, Parker 85 and Bainbridge 79. A pleasing day's cricket for Durham supporters but much more excitement was to come over the remaining days of the match.

On day two Durham compiled what was then their highest score in county cricket making 515-9 declared. It was always hard graft and the run rate never got over three runs per over against some good accurate bowling particularly from Peter Martin and Glenn Chapple, while Mike Watkinson toiled for forty overs to end with 3-125. The hero of the day was Paul Parker with an innings of 123, despite losing Bainbridge without adding to his overnight score. Young hopeful Jimmy Daley played a fine innings of exactly 50 before Ian Botham and Nigel Briers both fell cheaply. However the tail enders Scott, Wood and Graveney all got useful twenties to reach the magic five hundred.

Paul Parker batting for Durham.

When Lancashire batted they too had to graft for runs and of course had just the man in Mike Atherton, who made 137 in six and a half hours. John Wood the opening bowler had the best figures of 4-106 and skipper David Graveney matched Watkinson's marathon effort with figures of 42-7-131-4. Lancashire, after a last wicket stand of 82, reached a total of 442 all out on day three when the game looked to be heading for a draw.

However the match was turned on it's head on day four when Durham collapsed from 34-0 overnight to 83 all out. Fowler and Larkins were the only batsman to reach double figures and the damage was done by slow left armer Alex Barnett with career best figures of 5-36 and Mike Watkinson with an even better 5-12. Again no contribution from Ian Botham and it seemed that his career was coming to an end. Lancashire then made short work of knocking off the 157 runs required for victory, with 47 from Graham Lloyd and skipper Fairbrother 36 not out in partnership with the likely man of the match Mike Watkinson 30 not out.

It must certainly be a rare event for a side to score over 500 in the first innings and then to go on and lose the match by six wickets.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

South Africans in Sheffield

 By Brian Sanderson

Above is a photograph of Eddie Barlow of South Africa 

batting against Yorkshire in 1965 at Bramall Lane Sheffield.

This was South Africa second match of the tour after losing

to Derbyshire at Chesterfield.

There was only two hours play on the first day due to rain

with the tourist batting first.

On the Monday Lindsay hit four sixes and ten fours in his

innings of 105 and scoring his team's first century ,in three hours.

It was Yorkshire first team bowling attack including Trueman,

Nicholson ,Illingworth and Wilson .

Yorkshire owed everything to Brian Close .In May he made 115

against the New Zealanders and now came his second century of 

the season in under three hours and including nineteen fours.

He experienced plenty of problems against Peter Pollock who 

presented plenty of problems with his fiery pace,

One of Yorkshire first wickets was Doug Padgett, above ,leg 

before to Botten who was the opening bowling partner to Pollock.

He was right handed fast bowler who played all three test matches

taking just eight wickets and this was to be his only tour .

The South Africans led by 69, found little difficulty increasing

their advantage. Barlow ,quick on hi feet ,showing a variety

of strokes in his 69 not out. Bland never afraid to loft the ball

hit two sixes and five fours in his 45 not out.

Yorkshire were set 210 but they did not attempt to get.One

 interesting point was that Boycott was run out twice

 in the match by Colin Bland.

Monday, 9 November 2020

An historic day at Park Avenue

 posted by John Winn

In his wonderful book, Summer's Crown, Stephen Chalke describes the first ever match played in the county championship when Gloucestershire entertained Yorkshire at Ashley Down, Bristol. The match was played over three days on May 12th, 13th and 14th 1890. Other county matches were played on those dates, eventual champions Surrey were warming up with a game against Leicestershire at The Oval for example, but the game at Bristol was the only match in the newly confirmed official county championship. Despite the presence of WG Grace, who made only modest contributions, Yorkshire won by eight wickets by lunch on the third day. 

With the exception of 1919 when two day matches were played, three days remained the standard format for over a hundred years until the 1990s when the change to four day games was introduced. The pivotal season was 1992 when a mixture of three and four day games was played with the last round of three day games beginning on August 21st. For the record the final fixtures were 

Glamorgan v Gloucestershire at Swansea, Leicestershire v Notts at Grace Road, Northants v Kent, Wantage Road, Somerset v Hants at Weston-Super-Mare, Sussex v Middlesex at Hove, Worcestershire v Durham at New Road and Yorkshire v Surrey at Bradford Park Avenue

Two more rounds of four day matches were played that year with all 18 counties involved in the last games which began on September 12th. Essex were runaway winners of the championship.

Bradford Park Avenue in days gone by.

Yorkshire's match with Surrey was the first played at Bradford since 1985 and was the only one of the seven fixtures not to end in a draw, perhaps supporting the argument for four day matches. August 21st was a Friday, the two sides met in a 40 over game at Scarborough on the 23rd and on winning the toss Yorkshire skipper Martyn Moxon opted to bat. In a total of 341 top scorers were Simon Kellet, 78 and David Byas, batting at five,70. By close of play Surrey were 9 for 1 and with much of the second day lost to rain Surrey declared their innings closed at 39 for 1. Yorkshire then forfeited their second innings leaving Surrey to get 303 off 93 overs. This contrivance produced a thrilling finish with fortunes swinging this way and that until when last man James Boiling came to the middle Surrey still needed 21 to win. Boiling who had batted as night watch man in the first innings stayed with Neil Kendrick and the winning runs came with just two balls to spare. Graham Thorpe top scored with 79

The teams were Yorkshire: Moxon, Kellett, Metcalfe, White, Byas, Grayson, Jarvis, Pickles, Hartley, Chapman (wk), Batty (J).

Surrey: Bicknell (D), Sargeant (wk), Thorpe, Lynch, Ward, Brown, Feltham, Bicknell (M), Kendrick, Bryson, Boiling. 

Bradford Park Avenue in more recent times.

Thanks to Tony for supplying the photgraphs.

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Man from North Yorkshire arrested breaking into Grace Road.

posted by John Winn

The county championship was officially recognised as such at a meeting of county secretaries in 1889 and the following year it was contested by eight counties, Gloucestershire, Kent, Lancashire, Middlesex, Notts, Surrey, Sussex and Yorkshire. It was won by Surrey with six points, a total which can be achieved in little more than a morning at The Riverside in April in these days. Surry played 14 matches, winning nine, one point for each victory, lost three, one point deducted for each defeat and draws were ignored. Bottom county Sussex finished on minus ten (one victory and eleven defeats). The eagle eyed amongst you will have spotted that Surrey played two matches more than Sussex and with the exception of Middlesex, who also played twelve games, all other counties played 14. 

Purists might demand that for a competition to be a championship proper then each side should play each other twice on a home and away basis and for three seasons, (1892 to 1894) this was the case with each county playing 16 matches. Somerset had been added to the list to make 9 counties. This uniformity did not last long however for when Derbyshire, Essex, Hampshire, Leicestershire and Warwickshire joined in 1895, Surrey and Yorkshire played 26 matches and at the other end of the scale the first four of the newcomers played only 16. 

The variation in the number of games counties played, which persisted until 1929, and then only for four seasons, brought about a change in the method of determining the placings with percentage points gained being the decider. Total points took over for just four seasons before percentages were brought back in 1933 only to be replaced by averages in 1939. After a six year break during WW II 1946 saw a degree of uniformity restored with each county playing 26 matches including at least one against each other county. Twenty six became twenty eight in 1950 but ten years later the slide rules were out again with some counties playing 32 matches, others 28 but in 1963 Yorkshire won the championship with 144 points from 28 games the same number as played by all other sides. 1969 saw a reduction to 24 games, 1972 to 20, back up to 22 in 1977 and to 24 in 1986. The roller coast goes on for from 1988 to 1992 counties played 22 games but by 1993 four day cricket has taken over and each county played each other once to make 17 matches.* What you might call half a championship.

2000 brought further changes when two divisions were introduced and only nine teams competed for the title of county champions, but at least they played each other twice. Nothing lasts for ever, at least not in the county championship, for since 2017 the number of games has been reduced to 14 and in 2020, for reasons we are all too well aware of there was no championship. It is intended that it should be restored next year with counties initially divided into three conferences but eventually somebody will be crowned county champions. And the good news for me is that Somerset will play both Gloucestershire and Leicestershire thus setting up  the two matches I require to have seen every county play every other at least once. Should spectators not be allowed to watch matches, look out for the heading of day's blog in the Leicester Mercury. I will plead insanity. 

* Durham were admitted in 1992 to make 18 counties.

This photograph has no relevance to today's posting and I have used it before but I
like it as it serves as a reminder of the time when even the smallest villages could put out a cricket team. Tholthorpe lies in the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire about twelve miles north west of York. The map shows the location of the cricket field.