Paul Dyson looks back at the events of 1870 when Yorkshire repeated its success of three years previously. The picture of George Freeman comes courtesy of Mick Pope.

In the seemingly interminable period before 1890 – when the County Championship was officially constituted – Yorkshire were deemed to have being crowned ‘champions’ on just two occasions. The first of these was in 1867 and the second in 1870 although in 1869 the county were declared ‘joint-champions’.

Yorkshire’s first match of the 1870 season was not against another county but was one which was the first of its type and which would be repeated for exactly 100 years. It is not clear how this fixture’s origins came about – there is no mention of it in Yorkshire’s minute book of the time. Apart from playing annual matches against Oxford and Cambridge Universities the Lord’s-based Club had regular games against only four southern counties although Lancashire appeared briefly from 1867 and Nottinghamshire two years later. However, Yorkshire remained on MCC’s fixture list for an early-season game and from 1875 it appeared at what became the Scarborough Festival for the first time and so the two teams met each other twice in almost every season until the various pressures took their toll after 1970.

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