Yorkshire have played against Leicestershire in first-class cricket at home only once since 2005 and that game – eight years ago – was at Scarborough so the southernmost members of the Bob Willis Trophy’s North Group are making a rare visit. Paul Dyson looks back at a match between the two World Wars.

June 19, 20, 21, 1935 at Headingley: Leicestershire 153 (H Verity 5-69) & 55 (H Verity 8-28); Yorkshire 93 (HA Smith 6-31, G Geary 4-42) & 75-2. Match drawn.

The 1930s was Yorkshire’s most successful decade. It had already claimed a hat-trick of titles (1931-33) before Lancashire won the Championship in 1934, when the White Rose county finished in fifth place. Leicestershire had finished 12th and had never won the title, it finishing above tenth position only six times in its first 36 seasons in the competition thus far. Yorkshire came into this match unbeaten in its first ten matches having won five – all of them in successive games. Leicestershire had started the season more promisingly than expected by winning four and losing three of their first nine games. They were in their first season under the leadership of Ewart Astill who was a professional and this, obviously, had been a ground-breaking appointment.

Leicestershire won the toss and decided to bat despite the pitch being rain-affected. It lost two wickets early but when opener George Berry was joined by Knaresborough-born Frank Prentice – who had played for Yorkshire 2nd XI in 1931 – the score was steadily taken to 65 before four wickets fell for only 12 runs taking the total to 77 for six. The last of these was that of Berry who was run out for 44. Astill and George Geary then put together the highest stand of the innings – one of 49 – but Geary became Hedley Verity’s fourth victim as three wickets fell for two runs. Wicket-keeper Percy Corrall scored 17 not out in a last-wicket stand of 25 but Astill (36) also fell to Verity and the visitors were all out for 153, Verity finishing with five for 69. It was then the turn of Yorkshire’s batsmen to be tested by the conditions and they reached 55 for two before rain brought the players in for the day, forty minutes before the scheduled close.

There was no play on the second day because of persistent rain.

Day three’s play did not start until 2.45 but Haydon Smith and Geary wasted no time in demolishing the remainder of Yorkshire’s batting, taking only 30 minutes to do so. The first two wickets had put on 30 and 24, respectively, on the previous evening but they remained the highest stands of the innings, opener Arthur Mitchell top-scoring with 23. Geary took three of the first four wickets to fall but Smith’s spell of six for 19 was the major contribution in nine wickets falling for 39. He took two wickets with consecutive deliveries and only missed a hat-trick because of a dropped catch in the slips, Yorkshire conceding a lead of 60. Their total of 93 remains their lowest against Leicestershire on any ground. For Leicestershire’s second innings Yorkshire’s skipper Brian Sellers used only two bowlers and after 30 minutes the scoreboard showed 20 for six. The visitors fell to 35 for nine before Geary again made an impact on the match with 22 not out, Corrall again assisting in a last-wicket stand – of 20, the highest of the innings. Verity bowled superbly to finish with eight for 28 (13 for 97 in the match) and Yorkshire’s target was 116 in 75 minutes. In a change to the batting order, Morris Leyland was promoted to open and he scored 21 of the first-wicket stand of 26. Sutcliffe and Mitchell made good progress but Smith and Geary made sure that they remained behind the clock. Yorkshire claimed the extra half-hour but the task remained beyond them and play was called off with ten minutes still remaining and the hosts 41 short of their target. A total of 20 wickets had fallen in the day’s play. Because of their first-innings lead Leicestershire were rewarded with five points to Yorkshire’s three.

With Yorkshire’s season-record now showing five wins and six draws it then won 14 of its remaining 19 matches, losing just one, and regained the title with Derbyshire as runners-up. Leicestershire improved six places on their 1934 position and their sixth position was the county’s highest for 30 years. Astill emerged with considerable credit for this but obviously the county committee knew better, sacked him and replaced him with yet another amateur. Under the captaincy of New Zealander CS Dempster, which took in the last four seasons before the Second World War, their final positions were 15th, 16th, 15th and 17th (bottom).

Profiled player:

With four wickets in the match, Horace Fisher was playing second fiddle to the great Hedley Verity but, as another left-arm slow bowler, it was his fate to remain in his shadow. Nevertheless, 1935 was the best season of his career; he had a lengthy run in the side and was awarded his county cap.

Born in Featherstone, Wakefield in 1903, Fisher played for several clubs before his county career and during it as well as afterwards. He first played for Yorkshire in 1928 but appeared in only five matches in his first four seasons. A little more success came in 1932 when he took 22 wickets in eight matches and these including him making history by performing first-class cricket’s first hat-trick to consist of three lbw dismissals. His career-best of six for 11 against Leicestershire at Bradford came in the same season. However, he did not appear in 1933 or 1934 – when he was professional with Bacup in the Lancashire League – but continued to ply his trade very successfully for the 2nd XI, being its leading wicket-taker three times in the five seasons from 1930. his reward was a return to the 1st XI for the 1935 season and he played in 28 matches taking 51 wickets.

Fisher toured Jamaica with Yorkshire in 1935/36 but his eight matches in 1936 were the last for his county and he returned to league cricket where his clubs included Barnsley, Middleton, Baildon and Huddersfield. In his total of 52 first-class matches – all for Yorkshire – he had taken 93 wickets. He died in 1974 at Middlestown, Wakefield at the age of 70.

Some Records

Played Leicestershire win Yorkshire win Drawn Ties Abandoned
Official County Championship 166 15 84 66 1 2
Non-Championship 2 1 1 0 0 0
Total 168 16 85 66 1 2

Highest innings totals

Yorkshire 660 Leicester (GR) 1896
At Home 562 Scarborough 1901
562 Dewsbury 1903
At Headingley 560-6dec 1921
Leicestershire 681-7dec Bradford 1996
At Headingley 353-9dec 1998
At Home 425 Leicester (AR) 1906

Lowest innings totals

Yorkshire 47 Leicester (AR) 1911
At Home 93 Headingley 1935
Leicestershire 34 Headingley 1906
At home 57 Leicester (GR) 1898
NOTE: Leicestershire’s score at Headingley is the lowest by any visiting team in the County Championship.

Highest individual innings

Yorkshire 341 GH Hirst Leicester (AR) 1905
At Home 267* W Rhodes Headingley 1921
Leicestershire 218 JJ Whitaker Bradford 1996
At Headingley 144 VJ Wells 1998
At home 186 NF Armstrong Leicester (AR) 1928
NOTE: Hirst’s innings is the highest for Yorkshire against any opponent.

Highest wicket partnerships

Yorks 329 (5th) F Mitchell (194) & E Wainwright (153) Leicester (GR) 1899
Leics 270 (4th) CS Dempster (146) & GS Watson (122) Hull 1937

Best bowling in an innings

Yorkshire 8-25 GH Hirst Hull 1907
At Headingley 8-28 H Verity 1935
Away 7-18 JT Newstead Leicester (AR) 1908
Leicestershire 9-63 CT Spencer Huddersfield 1954
At Headingley 7-57 T Jayes 1908
At home 8-17 JH King Leicester (AR) 1911

Best bowling in a match

Yorkshire 15-63 (8-25 & 7-38) GH Hirst Hull 1907
Away 13-96 (6-41 & 7-55) W Rhodes Leicester (AR) 1901
Leicestershire 12-139 (8-85 & 4-54) AD Pougher Leicester (GR) 1895
At Headingley: Yorkshire 13-97 (5-69 & 8-28) H Verity 1935
Leicestershire 9-107 (2-50 & 7-57) T Jayes 1910

Most dismissals in an innings by a wicket-keeper

6 (all ct) RW Tolchard Leicestershire Headingley 1973
6 (all ct) ND Burns Leicestershire Leicester (GR) 2001

Most dismissals in a match by a wicket-keeper

9 (8 ct, 1 st) ND Burns Leicestershire Leicester (GR) 2001
8 (all ct) PA Nixon Leicestershire Sheffield (AP) 1990
7 (6 ct 1 st) JG Binks Yorkshire Scarborough 1963
7 (all ct) RJ Blakey Yorkshire Harrogate 1994

Most catches in an innings by a fielder

6 EP Robinson Yorkshire Bradford 1938
5 J Tunnicliffe Yorkshire Headingley 1897
5 J Tunnicliffe Yorkshire Leicester (GR) 1900
5 J Tunnicliffe Yorkshire Scarborough 1901
NOTE: Robinson’s six catches stands as the Yorkshire record against any opponent and was equalled by Tom Kohler-Cadmore in 2019.

Most catches in a match by a fielder

7 J Tunnicliffe Yorkshire Headingley 1897
7 J Tunnicliffe Yorkshire Leicester (GR) 1900
7 EP Robinson Yorkshire Bradford 1938
6 GW Hillyard Leicestershire Leicester (GR) 1895
6 GG Macaulay Yorkshire Bradford 1933
NOTE: The feat of taking seven catches in a match is a record for Yorkshire against any opponent and has been equalled by three other fielders – Brian Sellers in 1933, Adam Lyth in 2014 and Tom Kohler-Cadmore in 2019.

A century and five wickets in an innings in the same match

GH Hirst 107; 5-67 & 1-46 Yorks Leicester (GR) 1896
FS Jackson 147; 5-20 & 3-34 Yorks Leicester (GR) 1898
E Wainwirght 153; 1-16 & 6-44 Yorks Leicester (GR) 1899

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