Paul Dyson looks back at the events of 1920: a campaign which began very promisingly but ended in anti-climax. The photo of Percy Holmes appears courtesy of Mick Pope.
Having won the County Championship in 1919, the first season following the hostilities of the First World War, Yorkshire were again expected to do well. The county certainly started on top form, winning all of its first seven matches, six of which were in the Championship. Three of the six victories were by an innings, one was by ten wickets and another by 259 runs, so the county were performing in a most convincing manner.
These six matches included a Roses game at Bradford at the end of which, in a tight finish, Yorkshire prevailed by just 22 runs. The hosts made 208 despite losing their last seven wickets for 54 (Dick Tyldesley five for 62) but led by 43 at the halfway stage before collapsing again (Harry Dean seven for 51) and leaving the visitors to make 186 to win. At 141 for four (all to Emmott Robinson) Lancashire were clear favourites but Robinson returned to the attack and added another five, before Kilner induced a stumping, and thus only just failed to take all ten, his final figures being nine for 36.
The results of the next six games were in complete contrast in that Yorkshire won only two of them. At Sheffield Surrey inflicted the first defeat of the season – by the convincing margin of 204 runs with Jack Hobbs’ innings of 112 and 70 as well as Andy Sandham’s 81 and 89 being more influential than Wilfred Rhodes’ match figures of 10 for 139. Yorkshire’s attempt to chase 373 began with them collapsing dramatically to 32 for six – including three run-outs! June’s final match saw Hampshire beat Yorkshire by an innings at Headingley where George Brown made a double-century and Alec Kennedy took ten wickets on a wet pitch on which both of Yorkshire’s innings took place after heavy rain on the rest-day (Sunday).