Paul Dyson looks at the four cricketers who played either their first or last games for Yorkshire in 1871.
Lord’s is a very special place at which to make a first-class debut but that is what Allen Hill found himself doing, at the mature age of 27, in Yorkshire’s opening match of the 1871 season against MCC. Although he took only two wickets it would not be long before he would make his mark because in his first county match, against Surrey at The Oval, he had outstanding match-figures of 12 for 54 (all bowled) and ended the campaign as the county’s top bowler in the averages with 19 wickets at an average of 10.57.
Born in 1843, Hill was one of several Yorkshire cricketers of his era who originated in the Huddersfield area, in his case Kirkheaton to be precise. He played for Lascelles Hall, Dewsbury and Savile, Mirfield and Burnley as well as the village of his birth before making his county debut. By 187 he was established as one of the best pace bowlers in England; although he had a short run-up, he was able to bowl at a fast-medium pace and was very accurate. From that season he took at least 100 wickets in each of three successive years and was rewarded with a place on the tour to Australia in the winter of 1876/77. Towards the end of that trip he was chosen to play in what became known as the firt two Test matches and had the honour of taking the first wicket as well as the first catch.
Hill had a 12-year career with Yorkshire during which time he played in several representative matches, these including 11 for the Players and 16 for the North. It was for the latter team that he took his career best of eight for 48 at Prince’s in 1874. He was the first bowler to take 500 wickets for Yorkshire, ending his career with 542 wickets at 12.91 in 140 matches and a total of 749 in all first-class cricket.