Paul Dyson looks back at the events of 1919: Yorkshire’s 10th County Championship success and an experiment never to be repeated. The photo of Percy Holmes and Herbert Sutcliffe appears courtesy of Mick Pope.

The first season following the Great War (later known as the First World War) meant a considerable number of debutants in county cricket. Yorkshire suffered less from the effects of the hostilities than some other counties but had still lost two fine and very promising all-rounders in Major Booth and Alonzo Drake, the latter passing away through ill-health rather than being killed in action as Booth had been. Both had shared a great deal of the bowling workload and Wilfred Rhodes now found himself called upon rather more than had recently been the case.

The county also had a new captain; David Burton had played fairly regularly in 1914 with no great success but he had the required amateur status and set a good example in the field. There were three notable debutants – Emmott Robinson, Herbert Sutcliffe and Abram Waddington, the last two-named both having an excellent season at the first opportunity. New to all counties – not just Yorkshire – were the amended playing conditions. These meant that each game was to be of two days’ duration although the hours of play were to be extended. Fortunately, it was the fourth-best summer of the century thus far but only 45% of the games were concluded in positive results so the idea was dropped.

Yorkshire won 12 of its 26 matches and were declared champions by virtue of a system which gave each county a percentage based on matches won to matches played. Thus Yorkshire’s 46.15% was higher than that of second-placed Kent (42.85%) who won six out of 14 games. Four White Rose bowlers appeared in the top ten of the national Championship averages. Rhodes came top with 142 wickets at 12.42, Waddington took 95 wickets and Roy Kilner and Rockley Wilson were others to mark their marks.

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