During our recent visit to Norwich for the game between Norfolk and Cumberland I failed to mention that we were fortunate to meet Ken Taylor and his wife in the Norfolk shop where some of his paintings were on sale. What a pleasure for both of us this was.
For those of you too young to remember, Ken played cricket for Yorkshire and England and football for Huddersfield Town as a centre half. He was a schoolboy prodigy and I remember as a very young teenager he had a remarkable bowling performance, something like 7-15 for Primrose Hill in the Huddersfield league. He was just two years older than me and soon established himself in the great Yorkshire team of the late 1950s and early 1960s which won seven championship titles and the Gillette Cup.
He was an opening batsman, renowned for his running between wickets with long term opening partner Bryan Stott and was an excellent fielder in the covers, being responsible for many run outs. He was also a useful change bowler who inevitably took a wicket when Brian Close brought him on to break a difficult partnership. He played three times for England but never really did himself justice. He retired from cricket in 1968.
Stott and Taylor opening for Yorkshire
As a footballer he was a calm and confident centre half who could out jump many a taller centre forward to win the ball in the air. His tackling ability won praise from team mate Ray Wilson who went on to win an England world cup winner's medal. In those days Huddersfield Town were a first division side and he held his own against the very best. He played under legendary manager Bill Shankly and was a team mate of the very young Dennis Law.
After his playing days were over Taylor, who was a professional artist, taught art at Gresham's school in Norfolk for thirty years and many of his illustrations graced a splendid book written by Stephen Chalke 'Ken Taylor: Drawn to Sport' in 2006, which was a fitting tribute to a great sportsman.
What a pleasure it was to chat to him and his charming wife, also from Huddersfield, at Manor Park with memories of what really were the good old days for both Yorkshire and Huddersfield Town. Ken, as polite as ever, was obviously pleased to meet two people who remembered his career so well from so long ago.