Yorkshire have played on 11 different grounds in Kent but eight of their last nine visits to the county have been to Canterbury which is where 2021’s match takes place. Paul Dyson looks back at an encounter there between the two counties in the 1970s.
August 8, 9, 10, 1973 at Canterbury: Kent 330-8dec (AGE Ealham 85, GW Johnson 75, Asif Iqbal 70, MK Bore 5-41) & 195-5dec; Yorkshire 268 (JN Shepherd 5-58) & 145-3 (PJ Sharpe 70). Match drawn
In the early 1970s Kent had one of the strongest teams in its history and in the three previous seasons to 1973 had finished first, fourth and second in the Championship. Despite coming fourth in 1970 Yorkshire had finished each of the two following campaigns in the bottom half of the table. Although it was not a wet summer both counties came into this match having drawn several matches. They had similar records, Kent having won three and lost two while Yorkshire had won three and lost three, both counties having played 14 matches.
Mike Denness won the toss for Kent but his was one of two wickets to fall to Tony Nicholson with the score on 13, the second of these being his 750th in the Championship. A stand of 128 between Graham Johnson (75) and Pakistani Asif Iqbal (70) repaired the damage before both batsmen were caught off the left-arm fast-medium bowling of Mike Bore. Meanwhile, the two teams had been introduced to the Duke and Duchess of Kent during the lunch interval; the former was patron of Kent CCC and the latter the equivalent for Yorkshire! She was born at Hovingham Hall as Katherine Worsley, daughter of William, a former Yorkshire captain and the pair were married in York Minster. Formalities over, the pair watched with contrasting emotions as Alan Ealham took on the Yorkshire bowlers so effectively that he scored 85 in only 80 minutes, striking 16 fours. He was another victim for Bore and when the declaration came he had taken five of the eight wickets to fall. Yorkshire finished the day on 33 for no wicket.
The visitors began the day confidently with stand-in skipper Phil Sharpe (Geoff Boycott was playing in the Edgbaston Test against West Indies) and Richard Lumb taking their overnight partnership to 64. They gave the innings a bright start before Lumb was caught off the medium pace of Barbadian John Shepherd. This was the first of five wickets to fall fairly close together as Yorkshire collapsed to 101 for five. The visitors were labouring somewhat but Barrie Leadbeater was holding firm and when he was joined by wicket-keeper David Bairstow the pair added 78 for the sixth wicket. The stand ended when the former was bowled, one short of a half-century, by the left-arm fast-medium of Richard Elms. Bairstow (43) and Phil Carrick (38) helped the tail to add useful runs but Yorkshire duly conceded a first-innings deficit of 62. Shepherd finished with five for 58. Kent had reached 23 for no wicket by close of play.
On the final morning Kent pressed the accelerator and all of its top six made useful contributions. Ealham top-scored for the second time in the match with 44 not out and his side declared on 195 for five to set Yorkshire 258 to win in 195 minutes. Two wickets fell early, this putting them on the back foot but the experienced pair of Sharpe and John Hampshire put on 75 together. However, they could not take undue risks, time was running out for both sides and the draw became gradually inevitable. Sharpe departed after making 70 out of 104, Yorkshire lost no more wickets and Kent abandoned hope of victory with eight overs remaining.
Kent won only one more game, from their final six, but still managed to finish fourth. Somerset, with three more wins, finished six places below! Kent’s ‘success’ was mainly due to their 98 batting bonus points – 14 more than champions Hampshire who won the title for only the second time in its history. Yorkshire went winless throughout its last six matches and finished 14th – the lowest position in its entire history up to that year.
Although Mike Bore spent nine seasons in the Yorkshire side he was never a permanent fixture and it was only when he returned as a coach that he had found his true role in the game. Born in East Hull in 1947, his early clubs were Hull Town, Leeds and Bradford and he first played for Yorkshire in 1969. He had his best first-class season in 1971 when he took 44 wickets but was given a longer run in the team two years later when he took 41 wickets. As an accurate bowler he might have been more suited to the shorter format but did not receive a great deal of opportunity. After taking 162 wickets in 74 first-class matches and 50 in 55 List A matches he was released. His best performance in the Championship was seven for 63 against Derbyshire at Scarborough.