With the 2011 season behind us and the days shortening, now is the ideal time to invite some of Yorkshire’s greatest cricketers into your home – and to watch and listen as they recall the golden moments of their illustrious careers.
Yorkshire County Cricket Club, in partnership with Leeds Metropolitan University, have over the past few years produced a series of 12 DVDs which place the spotlight on some of the most eminent White Rose players in the Club’s long and glorious history.
Most of the fascinating interviews are conducted by one of cricket’s greatest authors, Stephen Chalke, who also has written award-winning books on two of the players featured strong> Bob Appleyard and Ken Taylor while BBC Radio Leeds Yorkshire cricket presenter Dave Callaghan chats to Darren Lehmann, the Australian batting supremo who became a firm favourite with the Headingley crowds when he was adopted by the county.
One of the DVDs is a tribute to Sir Leonard Hutton, who stands tall among the greatest batsmen the game has ever produced and the other players featured are Ted Lester, Fred Trueman, Brian Close, Raymond Illingworth, Vic Wilson, Don Wilson, Jimmy Binks, Ken Taylor and Bryan Stott plus the man who became even more famous as an umpire than a player, the legendary Dickie Bird.
Just to get a flavour of the treat in store, here is a taste of the DVDs and the players featured.
SIR LEONARD HUTTON
There is footage of Donald Trelford’s absorbing interview with Len and film of his epic 364 against Australia at the Oval in 1938 as well as scenes from the same ground in 1953 when England won the Ashes under his command. His son, Richard, talks about his famous father, and other friends and cricketers who knew him well reminisce about the great man as his life is traced from birth in the Moravian settlement at Fulneck, near Pudsey, where he played for the St Lawrence Club – and was once even sacked as their captain!
Few Yorkshire cricketers have had a longer association with the Club than Ted – who was a powerful, hard-hitting batsman after the Second World War and good enough to follow Denis Compton and Bill Edrich at the head of the national batting averages in 1947. Scarborough-born and bred, Ted is interviewed on his home ground at North Marine Road, where he recalls as a boy seeing the likes of Don Bradman and Wilfred Rhodes. The last Yorkshire batsman to score a century in each innings against Lancashire, Ted went on to captain Yorkshire Seconds before taking up his pen as Yorkshire scorer until his retirement.
In a fascinating interview, Bob tells how in 1951 he became the only bowler to take 200 First Class wickets in his first full season before being diagnosed with tuberculosis and spending most of the following year in a hospital bed. His operation over and his recuperation complete, he went on to tour Australia and play a big role in Len Hutton’s Ashes-winning team. Bob worked tirelessly in helping to create the Yorkshire Academy and the Sir Leonard Hutton Foundation, and in 2006 he was appointed Yorkshire CCC President for two years.
No one deserves the tag of “Captain Courageous” more than Brian. This is the gripping story in words and film of how he became England’s youngest Test player before going on to lead both his county and his country, Yorkshire winning four Championships and two Gillette Cup finals under his command. Brian stood up to ferocious bowling from some of the greatest West Indian pacemen of all time – and he had the bruises to prove it! One of the saddest days of his life was when he was ditched by Yorkshire, but he went on to lead Somerset to greater things before returning to Yorkshire as Cricket Chairman and then Club President.
Follow step by step the career of another great England captain who first gave tremendous service to Yorkshire before leading his country to Ashes glory. He helped Yorkshire to win seven Championship titles between 1959 and 1968, but then left Yorkshire for Leicestershire following a contractual dispute. He rebuilt Leicestershire to the extent that they lifted the Championship and four one-day trophies – and it was while he was at Grace Road that Raymond proved to be an inspirational England captain. Later, he returned as Yorkshire manager, and then became captain at the age of 50. Now he is President of the Club.
Marvel at the action of one of the greatest fast bowlers the game has produced – and watch him become the first player to take 300 Test wickets. Relive his storybook England debut at Headingley in 1952 as he captured three wickets in eight balls to leave a stunned India on 0-4 in their second innings. Fred reminisces in nostalgic mood as he looks back over a Yorkshire career which brought 1,745 wickets at a miserly 17.12 runs apiece.
The quiet-spoken farmer from Scampston, near Malton, became Yorkshire’s first modern-day professional captain. Here he tells how he went about his job of bringing home the Championship title in two of his three years in charge. A powerful left-hander and a brilliant close-in fielder, Vic is one of only 12 batsmen to have scored over 20,000 runs for Yorkshire. Chosen for Hutton’s tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1954-55, he never actually made the XI, but he got on to the field several times as 12th man.
Don displays an infectious enthusiasm for cricket which few have been able to match. This shines forth as he talks about his days with his beloved Yorkshire when he became one of only 13 bowlers to top 1,000 wickets for the county with his left-arm spin. Don played a pivotal part in the great Yorkshire team of the Sixties, and he featured in six Test matches for England, all on foreign soil. On retirement, he became chief coach with MCC at Lord’s until 1991, when he returned to take over as coach at Ampleforth College. Another proud day came when he was installed as president of Yorkshire Players’ Association in 2008-9.
Watch the master technician at work behind the stumps in this splendid portrayal in words and film of one of the greatest wicket-keepers in Yorkshire’s history - and one of the Club’s most popular personalities, both in the dressing room and among the fans. Only David Hunter with 1,186 wicket-keeping victims for Yorkshire can better Jimmy’s tally of 1,104, comprised of 872 catches and 172 stumpings. He played in two Test matches against India, and his popularity among his former Yorkshire teammates was reflected in him being elected as the first president of Yorkshire Players’ Association.
One of the most remarkable stories of all concerns Harold “Dickie” Bird, who needs no prompting to tell how he was dropped by Yorkshire in 1959 after hitting a career-best 181 against Glamorgan. He went on to play regularly for Leicestershire between 1960 and 1964. but, as Dickie recounts, it was only after he retired from the First Class game that he became a celebrity figure throughout the cricket world as a Test umpire, standing in a record of 66 Tests and 69 one-day internationals.
KEN TAYLOR AND BRYAN STOTT
Both are interviewed by Stephen Chalke on the same DVD , and appropriately so because the two front-line players from Yorkshire’s last golden age remain the firmest of friends. Ken’s is the story of an exceptionally versatile sportsman who played cricket for Yorkshire and England – and soccer for Huddersfield Town and Bradford Park Avenue. In addition to his sporting prowess, Ken is a most talented artist who was once art master at Gresham’s School, Norfolk. Bryan entered the Yorkshire team in 1952, and went on to play in 187 matches - hitting 9,168 runs and plundering 17 centuries – but no innings was more important or more memorable than his dazzling 96 against Sussex at Hove in the last match of 1959 to clinch the Championship and set Yorkshire off on a decade of almost unbroken success.
Darren talks with passion to Dave Callaghan of how he came to Yorkshire on a one-year-contract, was “welcomed with open arms” – and how he extended his stay with the odd gap until the end of 2006. His last innings was his most incredible - 339 against Durham at Headingley, a monumental effort which finished only a couple behind George Hirst’s all-time Yorkshire record of 341. He also touches on his breathtaking 191 against Nottinghamshire in the National League at Scarborough and his 252 in the Championship Roses clash at Headingley. Darren, who married Craig White’s sister, Anthea, is held in such high regard by Yorkshire that he was elected an honorary life member in 2007.
These wonderful DVDs can be purchased at £12.50 each or six for £65, and can be bought at either the Yorkshire CCC Shop or Cricket Museum at Headingley Carnegie or by contacting the club offices at Carnegie Pavilion, Kirkstall Lane, Headingley, LS6 3DP, telephone 0871-971-1222.