Yorkshire have played in Essex on no fewer than ten different grounds including two in Colchester. The first 21 visits were all to Leyton and the White Rose county’s first game at Chelmsford was not until 1972. Essex had become a first-class county in 1894 and was admitted to the County Championship one year later. Paul Dyson looks back at a game with a close finish just a few years after the 1939-45 conflict. It took place at Brentwood and was the only visit Yorkshire ever made there. The photo of Geoffrey Keighley comes by courtesy of Ron Deaton.

June 13, 14, 15, 1951 at Brentwood: Yorkshire 380-6dec (L Hutton 141, W Watson 84*, NWD Yardley 52, R Smith 4-85) & 237-7dec (WG Keighley 59); Essex 317 (PA Gibb 107, R Horsfall 58, FS Trueman 5-91) & 186-9 (TC Dodds 53, R Appleyard 5-51). Match drawn.

The 1950 season had seen the County Championship shared between Lancashire and Surrey with Yorkshire in third place; Essex had finished 17th – bottom place for the first time in its history. The two counties playing in this game had both begun the season well: Essex were unbeaten in seven games but had won only two; Yorkshire had played two games more, winning four and losing one – to the eventual champions Warwickshire. The match was dominated by Yorkshire. They eventually asked Essex to score 301 for victory but the home side clung on to draw a game in which they only rarely competed on level terms.

Yorkshire won the toss, decided to bat and Len Hutton responded with his first century of the season. In company with Geoffrey Keighley he posted a stand of 152 for the first wicket but Ray Smith then took two wickets while the scoreboard stood still – Keighley for 47 and Vic Wilson for a duck. Billy Sutcliffe added 37 with Hutton who was batting so fluently that when he was dismissed for 141, having scord 16 fours, the total was only 209 for five.This brought in skipper Norman Yardley to join Willie Watson and the pair added 96 together with some ‘spirited hitting’ (Wisden) before Yardley became Smith’s third victim. Johnny Wardle smote the ball merrily to score 33, this including four sixes off Smith’s bowling; three of these went ‘over the trees and into an adjoining car park’ (Ibid.). He added 72 with Watson and Yardley soon declared with the score on 380 for six. Smith finished with four for 85 and Essex’s openers made 25 before the close of play.

The second day started with Fred Trueman taking two early wickets but former Yorkshire player Paul Gibb dug in with Todmorden-born Dick Horsfall and thwarted the Yorkshire bowlers to the tune of a stand of 104. The latter then became the first of three wickets for Eddie Leadbeater and useful contributions from Doug Insole – in his first full season as captain – and Trevor Bailey projected Essex into a promising position of 273 for four. Gibb’s long stay then ended with him having made 107 as three wickets fell for the addition of only 12 runs. Trueman returned to mop up the tail; he finished with five for 91 and his side had a first-innings lead of 63. By close of play Yorkshire had added a further 91 to this, albeit for the loss of two wickets but Keighley was playing his second useful innings of the match and remained 46 not out.

The final day saw Yorkshire continuing to press home its advantage. Keighley and Billy Sutcliffe took their third-wicket stand to exactly 50 when the former was caught by Insole to give Middlesbrough-born Bill Greensmith the first of three wickets. Watson then contributed usefully but

An image of Lauren Winfield-Hill and Adil Rashid, with the Yorkshire logo and Northern Diamonds logo in the middle

Sign up to our newsletter

For all the latest news, previews, ticket, membership and Premium Experiences information and more exciting content from Yorkshire Cricket and the Northern Diamonds straight to your inbox, subscribe now.

To view our privacy policy, click here.