Nigel Pullan (text) and Paul Dyson (stats) look back over some interesting encounters between two sides, who opposed each other in Yorkshire’s first seaosn of 1863, at Headingley. The photo of Phil Robinson appears courtesy of Mick Pope.

1937

June 26, 28, 29, 1937 at Headingley: Nottinghamshire 191 (CB Harris 57, EP Robinson 4-38) & 346 (GFH Heane 73, GV Gunn 69, CB Harris 54, WE Bowes 6-69); Yorkshire 379 (W Barber 115, H Sutcliffe 82) & 7-0. Match drawn.

Yorkshire were unable to bowl Nottinghamshire out in their second innings in time to benefit from a lead of 188. Len Hutton, in his first Test, and Hedley Verity were both playing against New Zealand at Lord’s as were Joe Hardstaff and Bill Voce. The visitors batted first and Bill Bowes bowled 18 overs to concede 21 runs and Ellis Robinson took four wickets. Wilfred Barber made a good century putting on 161 with Herbert Sutcliffe who made 82. Harold Larwood, Harold Butler and Sam Staples took wickets but conceded plenty of runs as Yorkshire reached 379. Although Bowes took six for 69 Nottinghamshire defended stoutly: first the redoubtable Charles Harris, then George Vernon Gunn, son of the great George Gunn, and then captain George Heane who was eventually out for 73 after a game-saving innings. Arthur Mitchell kept wicket after Arthur Wood had dislocated a finger. Yorkshire’s next home match against Surrey at Park Avenue was Mitchell’s Benefit and gate receipts were £1,109.

Probably, of the professionals who played regularly in Yorkshire’s successful side of the 1930s, Barber and Cyril Turner were the least well-known. Barber was born in Cleckheaton and brought up in Gomersal and made his debut for Yorkshire in 1926. He was a loyal club man, fine outfielder and valuable substitute when Test players were not available. He was good enough to play twice for England in 1935 and made two double centuries, 255 against Surrey and 248 against Kent. Later he coached at Ashville College in Harrogate. He was nicknamed Tiddlypush.

Turner was a South Yorkshireman from Wombwell who bowled right-handed and batted left. After infrequent appearances he became a regular member of the squad. He was an exceptional close fielder alongside Mitchell and Brian Sellers. Turner was a good-natured and well-liked man who was given the job of looking after young Hutton when he joined the team. He became a coach after the War and was the man who first watched young Fred Trueman in the that famous trial in the nets at Bramall Lane and recognised his potential. He later became scorer for Yorkshire. His brother Irvine had five games for Yorkshire and then migrated to Uddingston. Cyril’s son Brian played twice for the county but concentrated on his career as an engineer. Also playing here was Allan Richardson, an amateur from Whitby, who was in Scarborough’s 1st XI for 32 years. But he had a successful career as a farmer and auctioneer and only played seven matches for Yorkshire.

Walter Keeton and Harris opened the batting for Nottinghamshire both pre-war and post-war. On 45 occasions they put on over 100 and five times over 200. Keeton was born just inside Derbyshire at Shirebrook and played in 382 matches for Nottinghamshire as well as in two Tests, one at Headingley in 1934 against Australia. His top score was 312 not out made in over seven-and-a-half hours against Middlesex at The Oval – Eton v Harrow had priority at Lord’s. He played football for Sunderland and Nottingham Forest and died at Forest Town. Harris was a character and humorist but noted for his implacable defence as an opener. He was born at Underwood and played in 362 matches for his native county. He made over 1,000 runs 11 times and hit two double centuries including 239 not out carrying his bat after putting on 277 with Keeton. Harris’ Benefit against Yorkshire in 1949 was a county record and evidence of his popularity. He used to greet fielders when he came out to bat with, “Good morning fellow-workers”, which of course they were. He died at 45 just as he had begun a career as an umpire. Heane captained Nottinghamshire from 1935 until 1946. He was appointed after his predecessor Arthur Carr had broken an agreement not to bowl bodyline in 1934 when he asked Voce to do so against the Australians. Also controversially, Heane was replaced by AW Sime in 1947.

1991

May 16, 17, 18, 20, 1991 at Headingley: Yorkshire 260 (PE Robinson 57, FD Stephenson 4-84) & 187-5dec (PE Robinson 53*); Nottinghamshire 213-5dec (BC Broad 86) & 151-6. Match drawn.

Nottinghamshire’s visit to Headingley in 1991 suffered many rain interruptions and ended in a draw. Yorkshire were put in to bat by Tim Robinson and Franklin Stephenson dismissed Martyn Moxon, Ashley Metcalfe and David Byas. However Philip Robinson, Simon Kellett, Phil Carrick and Paul Jarvis took them to 260. Stephenson took four for 84 and Andy Pick and Eddie Hemmings three each. Chris Broad, father of Stuart, batted well and Derek Randall made 37 not out before Nottinghamshire declared 47 behind. Phil Robinson again top scored so Moxon could set the visitors 235 to win in 39 overs. Broad and Paul Pollard added 69 in 19 overs but Phil Carrick bowled 15 overs for 28 runs and Nottinghamshire were well short of their target when time ran out.

In 1991 Yorkshire finished as low as 14th but Nottinghamshire were fourth in the Championship. They hd five England Test cricketers in their side: Broad, Bruce French, Hemmings, Randall and Robinson. Stephenson never played for West Indies despite his considerable ability.

Broad was a Bristolian who came to Trent Bridge from Gloucestershire. He was a tall, stylish, opening batsman who played 25 times for England. He had a wonderful tour to Australia in 1986/87 when he made three hundreds in successive Tests: 162 at Perth, 116 at Adelaide and 112 at Melbourne and finished with 487 runs at 69.57 as England won the Ashes 2-1. French works now as a wicket-keeping coach when he is not climbing mountains. He came from Warsop and is the uncle of Jake Ball. Hemmings and French both played in 16 Tests. Hemmings moved from Warwickshire where he began as a seam bowler but converted to off-spin. It could easily be said that everyone liked Derek Randall whose enthusiasm for the game knew no bounds. I remember him, when it was actually raining, hitting catches to a circle of small boys on the boundary. It may even have been in this game. He played in 47 Tests for England and hit seven centuries. The best-known was 174 in the Centenary Test at Melbourne in March 1977. An amazing match – Australia 138 and 419-9 declared. England 95 and 417. Australia won by 45 runs which was exactly the same as the result of the first-ever Test in 1877 which this game commemorated. It was organised by ex-player Hans Ebeling and was a wonderful meeting and reunion of former Test cricketers. Wisden suggested that he be renamed Hans Anderson Ebeling. It was witnessed by the Queen and Prince Philip and Randall’s 174 may well be the Queen’s career-best. Let us quote Reg Hayter on Randall’s innings:

“Once, when Lillee tested him with a bouncer, he tennis-batted it to the mid-wicket fence with a speed and power that made many a rheumy eye turn to the master of the stroke, the watching Sir Donald Bradman. Words cannot recapture the joy of that moment. Another time Lillee bowled short, Randall ducked, rose, drew himself to his full five feet eight, doffed his cap and bowed politely. Then, felled by another bouncer he gaily performed a reverse roll. This helped to maintain a friendly atmosphere in what, at all times, was a serious and fully competitive match.”

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