A trio of county cricketers was born in 1868 and Paul Dyson looks back at their careers. The image is of the 1894 Yorkshire side, many of whom would have been team-mates of the three featured players.

The first future Yorkshire cricketer to be born in 1868 was Frank Woodhead. He first saw the light of day on May 29th at Woodthorpe, Huddersfield. Sent to Scotland for his education he captained the first eleven at Loretto School, Edinburgh and then went up to Cambridge. He played in only one match for the University, however, that being in 1889 but, as he made a pair it is not surprising.

Woodhead’s four games for Yorkshire came in 1893 and 1894 – two in each season but only one was in the County Championship. Playing as an amateur, he scored 57 runs at an average of 7.12 and with a top score of 18. In league cricket he was much more successful and twice won the Huddersfield League batting prize – in 1902 and 1904. A very good all-round sportsman, he was an excellent three-quarter at rugby union and was Yorkshire’s amateur golf champion in 1894 – the first year the competition had been held. Woodhead never strayed far from his roots and died in Marsh, Huddersfield, in 1943.

Anyone who plays for Yorkshire and is called Bairstow must be a wicket-keeper. It was true from 1970 with David and from 2009 with Jonny but they were not the only Bairstows to represent Yorkshire CCC. A third one, Arthur, played for the county from 1896 to 1900 and was also a wicket-keeper! He was born in the August of 1868 in Bradford – another co-incidence with both of his namesakes – but played most of his club cricket for South Kirkby, near Wakefield. That he was a very good wicket-keeper is not in doubt but he was very unfortunate to be a contemporary of David Hunter, possibly the greatest of all of Yorkshire’s ‘keepers.

Consequently, his appearances for Yorkshire were limited to just 24 matches in his five seasons. He was, however, awarded a county cap despite his inexperience. He also gained the honour of representing the North in 1897 and played for an England XI against the Australians in 1902 in his home city of Bradford. He took 59 dismissals for the county but, in the days when ‘keepers were not expected to contribute meaningfully with the bat, scored only 69 runs at an average of less than five, his top score being 12. He died in Bucklow Hill, Cheshire in 1945.

Two months after Bairstow’s arrival into the world Sam Kilburn was born in Dalton, Huddersfield. He made his debut for Yorkshire in the same season as Bairstow did but his first match was also his last. In his only innings he scored eight runs – against Essex at Bradford – but continued to have an outstanding career in club cricket. His first clubs were Kirkheaton, Dalton and Huddersfield but in 1898 he became professional at Church in Lancashire and remained there for three years. On return to the county of his birth he played for Lascelles Hall and in 1922 won the Huddersfield batting prize when aged 53! As with Woodhead he remained in the Huddersfield area and died in Crosland Moor in 1940.

Main source:

A Who’s Who of Yorkshire County Cricket Club by Tony Woodhouse (1992)

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