Saturday, 24 January 2015

The torch is getting brighter

posted by John Winn

An email from Tony Hutton last evening tipped me off that the Yorkshire Second XI fixtures are now on the county website along with those for the academy. Just go to fixtures and results on the drop down menu and select the appropriate team. Slightly less straightforward is the path to the university fixtures (Bucs), you will need to know which institution you are looking for, which sport, which gender (what we used to call s*x), but you will get there in the end. Leeds Met is now Leeds Beckett. Thanks for that Tony. A quick trawl reveals that Notts have also released their second XI fixtures but the other 16 counties are still working at the speed of the Chilcot report.

Now for the answers to the quiz posed on my last posting

Geoff Pullar's eleven opening partners at Lancashire were

Bob Barber, Alan Bolton, Alan Wharton, Brian Booth, Bob Bennett, David Green, Jack Dyson, Gerard Knox, Duncan Worsley, Barry Wood, Graham Atkinson.

Well done if you got all those at home.

Test yourselves a little further: which three played for England, which six played for other counties, who played for Manchester City and scored a goal in the 1956 cup final, who was born in Lofthouse, who went to Staffordshire and back, who played for Yorkshire before Lancashire, which three have died, and who played rugby for Sale and wrote his memoirs under the title 'A handful of confetti'?

Answers next time.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Another quiz about Pullar

posted by John Winn

Following the recent quiz question asking for the names of the lately deceased Geoff Pullar's six opening partners in test matches I offer another teaser which may tax even our readers of the red rose persuasion. Diligent research by Tony Hutton has revealed that there were eleven, in Tony's words 'a very varied bunch, some long forgotten'. Answers next time. If it is any help Pullar's career with Lancashire stretched from 1954 until 1968 when he joined Gloucestershire. For a bonus point you might like to consider who accompanied him to the crease for the west country men but in all fairness I should mention that he didn't open for Gloucestershire. Thanks again to Tony for that information

Old Trafford but not as in Pullar's time.

My recent reading has been of a book in the ACS Lives in Cricket series, a biography of WE Astill 'All-rounder debonair' by AR Littlewood. Although Littlewood has spent much of his life in Canada he is very much a Leicestershire man and his previous contribution to this series was an account of another running fox, JH King. Ewart Astill played nine tests for England but was never selected to play on English soil or for an ashes tour, He played five tests on matting in South Africa in 1927/28 and four in the West Indies in 1929/30. Astill was a nephew of Thomas Jayes who played for Leicestershire between 1903 and 1911.

Littlewood's is an extremely diligent researcher, the slim volume has over 300 footnotes expanding on sources, and some may find the early chapters a little too detailed but Astill was unlucky not to have played more tests and were it not for writers like Lockwood even less would be known of people like Astill and King. One footnote that particularly interested me was a reference to the novels of CP Snow. Snow was born in Leicester in 1905 and after a degree at what is now Leicester University he took a  PhD  at Christ's College, Cambridge. In a lecture in 1959 Snow expressed his regrets about the division of culture into science and humanities. He did his best to straddle the divide in a series of novels entitled 'Strangers and Brothers', the best known of which 'The Masters' was adapted for stage and radio and televised in 1984. I enjoyed reading some of them in my late teens and early twenties but suspect that they have rather fallen out of fashion. Perhaps not entirely for they would still cost about six or seven pounds in the kindle version.

Snow was a friend of Astill's and on page 118 of 'All-rounder debonair' Lockwood reveals that the cricketer confided in the novelist that he had lied about his age in order to increase his chances of test selection. The connection to the series of novels is that Snow used the names of Leicestershire cricketers for some of his characters. Now there's an idea for a quiz question.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Gilbert proves a little elusive

Posted by John Winn

Jim the thoroughbred stretched his legs yesterday and filled eight places at the quaintly named Toss O Coin pub near Holmfirth. A car bringing a trio from Leeds joined with five from Huddersfield to enjoy an excellent lunch and conversation, mainly but not exclusively on cricketing matters. While we waited for our first course some clues helped reveal the answers to the quiz question I posed in last week's posting, namely to name Geoff Pullar's six opening partners. The six were:

Colin Cowdrey (8 tests)  Ramon Subba Row (7)Rev David Sheppard (5) Peter Richardson (5) RW Barber (1) and the first shall be last for the most elusive but helped by a clue as generous as the jam roly poly on offer the name of Gilbert Parkhouse (2) was extracted. The Welshman, born close to the St Helen's ground in Swansea had a strange test career for his seven matches were stretched over nine years.

Parkhouse began by making a better fist than most of fathoming the wiles of Ramadin and Valentine in 1950 but was left out after two tests when suffering from a bad cold. Wisden was uncharitable about his efforts in Australia under FR Brown in 50/51 claiming a weakness against the short stuff but his average of 19.25 was superior to that of four other specialist batsmen, Washbrook, Sheppard, Compton and Dewes. He was recalled for one test in New Zealand but fell twice for modest scores to Tom Burtt's slow left arm. For the next seven years Parkhouse was neglected by the selectors but established himself as an attractive fast scoring opener for his native county.

After the disastrous 58/59 tour of Australia Englan's selectors used the weak Indian tourists in the glorious summer of 1959 to experiment at the top of the order and five openers were used, Arthur Milton, Ken Taylor, Geoff Pullar, Subba Row and perhaps most surprisingly WGA Parkhouse. After the Milton Taylor partnership was tried in two tests the selectors double declutched and paired Pullar with Parkhouse for the third and fourth tests. At Headingley where England won by an innings they added 146 with Gilbert hitting his top test score of 78 and Pullar, normally a number three, on his debut made 75. They were less successful at Old Trafford where their two efforts were 33 and 44 but in attempting to play himself onto the boat to the West Indies Parkhouse batted 'listlessly' for his second innings 49 and the scorebook entry 'ct Contractor bowled Nadkarni' signalled the end of his nine year test career. He was replaced by Subba Row at The Oval and the Northamptonshire man's 94 ensured he, rather than Parkhouse would spend a winter in the Caribbean.

Parkhouse returned to the valleys for a further five years and then took up a coaching appointment at a prestigious Edinburgh school. The new vintage of summer wine went our separate ways after two hours of pub grub and chat, some of us envious of those for whom the next few weeks will be spent watching cricket in Australia, New Zealand and West Indies. Bon voyage.

Library photograph which means we've used it before but with gale force winds blowing outside I thought it better than a picture of my fence which has lost both middle and leg stumps this week. 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Adding some blocks to the Yorkshire pyramid

posted by John Winn

Further to my last posting in which I touched upon the plans for the reorganisation of Yorkshire league cricket I can now add a little more information, this time taken from The Star (Sheffield) website. In an article headed 'Alliance League could merge with South Yorkshire League', Star correspondent Paul Goodwin discusses the possibility of a merger between The South Yorkshire Cricket Alliance and The South Yorkshire Cricket League. The Alliance is a fairly recent creation coming out of a merger between The Doncaster and District League and The Sheffield Cricket League.

As a tailpiece to this article Goodwin mentions the possibility of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and the two Sheffield clubs, Collegiate and United, being joined by seven South Yorkshire League clubs to form an ECB Premier League at the apex of the Yorkshire pyramid alongside the northern division I described on Friday. Despite the Star's article being dated 10th of October 2014 I can find no further reference to this subject on the websites of the five clubs or the two leagues which seems odd given the significance of these proposals. More to come one imagines.

 In the meantime you might like to test the little grey cells with the following. Geoff Pullar of Lancashire and England who died on December 28th played 28 test matches between 1959 and 1963. Can you name the six opening partners who accompanied him to the crease in his test career? Answers next time.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Chasing the Dragon

posted by John Winn

Doing a bit of post Christmas clearing up earlier this week I came across the scorecard for a trip I made in September for the match in Cardiff between Glamorgan and Hampshire which enabled me to complete the 'full set' for these two counties, a trip I reported on in a posting 'Away in Wales'. As I type, the morning in the Lower Ure Valley is dark and windy and the sunshine of those late season days seem a long way off.

Checking through my records I note that I first saw Glamorgan in action in 1991 when, within the space of a few weeks they were at Maidstone and  Edgbaston. So a journey that began by the Medway ended by the Taff, twenty three years and fourteen grounds, stretching from Scarborough to Taunton, later. Of those grounds, only one, Abergavenny, is still not in regular use for first class cricket, although the purist might say that Sophia Gardens, where I saw Glamorgan's batting pulverise a weak Durham attack on a scorching hot day in 1995, is so far removed from today's stadium that they can't be considered as one.

 My memory of  my day at Avenue Road Abergavenny is constantly refreshed by a print on the wall at home of a painting of the ground by former Sussex and Durham wicketkeeper Martin Speight, painted by a nice coincidence from a spot close to where I spent a day in the sun. An unusual incident occurred when, after just two overs on the first morning the umpires, Messrs Burgess and Clarkson, took the players from the field whilst the ground staff realigned the stumps which had been pitched four inches out of line. A knock by Kevin Curran for Northants dominated the first day and Steve James hit centuries in both innings for Glamorgan. Glamorgan went on to win the championship with Kent runners up. How long before that can be written again? Another memory of that excursion is of agreeing to share the bill in an Indian restaurant that evening with a man at least twice my weight. As a general rule people don't reach 24 stone by going light on the poppadoms, or anything else for that matter.

Pcws may well be aware of major changes being planned to the structure of league cricket in Yorkshire. Despite trawling through several websites nowhere can I find a definitive account of the reforms that does not leave some questions unanswered. What I do know is that at a meeting last month the Bradford League Clubs have voted 20 to 1 to seek ECB Premier League status, one of four such leagues to be at the apex of the proposed pyramid. The proposals also involve the regionalisation of the current ECB league on a north south basis. In the north, York, YCCC Academy, Harrogate, Scarborough, Driffield, Hull and Castleford will be joined by the top five clubs from the York and District League with promotion and relegation in subsequent seasons. More when I have a clearer picture.

Happy New Year.

Saturday, 3 January 2015


By Brian Sanderson,

Looking out of the window at 11.30 this morning ,I thought the cricket match at St. Chads for the charity for Sue Ryder Wheatfields would not start. However the rain stopped and I went up  to the ground which is just off  the main road to Otley  from Leeds. It is  a club who boasts 130 years of history.

The match was 18 overs match against a Presidents X1 and Chairmens X1. The team in blue batted first in front of a good crowd. which included Ian from Lancaster.The ground was damp but on the artificial pitch the conditions were not bad for January in Leeds.

The President time score 81 and then was time for a excellent lunch in the  pavilion.. The cake was especially good. So after a forty-five minute break the match started again in weak sunshine. One special player in the second half was Greg Mulholland , the MP for Leeds North West who shown his bowling skills. However the the highlight of the second innings was Steve Bindman caught and bowled . Unfortunately I was unable to photograph it but  it is the top catch of 2015 so far. It came down to the Chairmans X1 requiring 8 of three balls which was obtained on the last ball. Excellent match to start 2015 year  season and let us hope the match can become annual event as everybody seem to enjoy it.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Winter Warmers

Posted by John Winn

If you really can't wait until April 1st to see some cricket then here are two games you might like to consider

Saturday Jan 3rd at St Chad's Headingley  wickets pitched 12 noon a charity match in aid of Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice

Sunday 11th Jan the traditional Malhamdale v Appletreewick match. Meet at Buck Inn Malhamdale 12:30: wickets pitched later than 12:30. Your guess is as good as anybody's

Thanks to Tony Hutton for passing these on to me.

Happy New Year
The tea room pictured in my last posting will have been familiar to many pcws. It was of course the famous Red Cabin at Todmorden CC