• 1864-2012

With Yorkshire not having played against Kent for seven years there will be much interest in a visit to Canterbury – one of 11 grounds on which the White Rose has played in that county. Paul Dyson looks back at a record-breaking encounter in the 19th century.

August 1, 2, 3, 1887 at Canterbury: Yorkshire 559 (G Ulyett 124, F Lee 119, L Hall 110, W Bates 64, S Christopherson 4-111); Kent 129 (S Wade 4-37) & 277-6 (F Hearne 144). Match drawn.

Kent CCC was formed in 1859 but the two counties had met on an unofficial basis as early as 1849. Two further meetings took place in 1862, one year prior to Yorkshire CCC’s own formation and two years before the first official encounter. Despite these developments it was the case that even by 1887 the county championship was still not competed for an offically organised basis. That would come three years later. Yorkshire had been recognised by the press as unofficial champions in 1867 and 1870 but Kent never so during this period.

This match was the first game in what was the already-establlished Canterbuty Week. Yorkshire, led by Lord Hawke, won the toss, batted and reached 99 for no wicket by lunch. George Ulyett and Louis Hall – a well-established, if contrasting in style, opening pair – eventually shared a stand of 169 for the first wicket. Ulyett ‘hit with tremendous vigour’ (Wisden), struck 14 fours in his 124 and when he was caught off the bowling of Stanley Christopherson Hall’s score was only 43. He was joined by Fred Lee, Yorkshire continued to pile on the runs and by close of play the total had reached 305 for one, Hall 89, Lee 82.

With the outfield ‘so true and fast’ (Ibid) the two batsmen continued to pile on the runs. With a further 50 having been added, however, Hall was caught by Lord Harris for 110. His innings had lasted for seven hours and Wisden commented on the quality of his ‘stubborn defence’ but also on him not punishing the bowling enough. Nevertheless his stand with Lee had realised 186 runs and the latter was also soon out; he had made 119 and this included 15 fours. It was the first time three Yorkshire batsmen had made centuries in the same innings in a county match.

Hawke, batting as high as number four, soon pulled a ball onto his stumps but Willie Bates (64) and Bobby Peel (43) scored quickly in a fifth-wicket stand of 99; the visitors continued batting, Saul Wade (40) and Tom Emmett also shared a half-century stand and, after just over ten hours, Yorkshire were all out for 559 – a total which still remains their best abainst Kent.

Wisden commented on the unnecessarily-long innings but praised Kent for never getting ‘loose or slack in their fielding’ and stating that ‘a lot of the bowling was admirable’. Christopherson finished with four wickets but he was one of three to concede over 100 runs and the whole team, apart from the wicket-keeper, bowled at least four overs. Pride of place could well go to Fred Martin who delivered no fewer than 94 (four-ball) overs but these cost only 82 runs, there being 57 maidens. Having spent so long in the field it was no surprise that Kent’s innings did not get off to the best of starts and their score was 51 for four – two wickets to Ulyett – by close of play.

Despite the efforts of Leslie Wilson, who top-scored with 39, Wade took three middle-order wickets to add to one from the previous evening and the hosts subsided for 129, Wade’s figures being four for 37 from 24 overs. Ulyett finished with thee wickets. Predictably, Kent followed on 430 runs in arrears but, with Frank Hearne being promoted to open the batting, had reached 88 for no wicket by lunch. The start of the afternoon session put a break on progress when four wickets fell for six runs to leave the scoreboard showing 102 for four. Two of these were catches to wicket-keeper David Hunter off Ulyett’s bowling and another was an unfortunate run-out. Francis Marchant joined Hearne and, shortly afterwards, the latter was struck so badly by a ball from Ulyett that he needed a runner for the rest of his innings. This may well have caused him to give a catch to Joe Preston at deep square leg but the chance was not taken and this turned out to be a pivotal moment. The pair shared 85 together and a stand of 76 between Alec Hearne and his brother also took the hosts closer to safety.

It concluded when Frank Hearne was caught off the bowling of Peel; he had made 144 and it was a ‘sound and brilliant’ innings (Ibid). At the end of the game Kent were still 153 runs behind but had four wickets remaining although Yorkshire had tried no fewer than eight different bowlers. Ulyett again took three wickets and Peel two.

The game was one of seven draws which Yorkshire had in the 1887 campaign; they won six of their 16 matches but Kent won only one of their 14. Surrey, informally it must be emphasised, were declared ‘champions’

Man of the Match

Of the three Yorkshire batting heroes in this match both Hall and Ulyett have previously been profiled in these columns. One of Fred Lee’s best two seasons for Yorkshire coincided with this match; he scored over 900 runs in 1885, averaged over 30 for the only time, and two years later made two of his three centuries including his career-best of 165 against Lancashire at Bradford.

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.