During the earlier part of this year was announced the death of the oldest English first-class cricketer. Paul Dyson looks at Yorkshire’s oldest players to see how they compare. The 1950 2nd XI team photo is by courtesy of Brian Sanderson.
John Errol Manners passed away on March 7th of this year at the grand old age of 105. Not only was he currently the oldest cricketer to have played first-class cricket in the British Isles, he was the only one remaining to have played before the Second World War. His career began in 1936 and ran until 1953. His county was Hampshire but only seven of his 21 games were for that team. Twelve of his other matches were for the Combined Services and, as an amatuer, he also played for MCC and Free Foresters. There was a long obituary in The Times as he was a very distinguished officer in the Royal Navy. He was awarded the DSC during the 1939-45 conflict.
Now, to compare his achievement with the oldest Yorkshire cricketers. The first thing to say is that no one who has ever represented the White Rose has ever lived to be a hundred, let alone 105. However, research has enabled the discovery of the fact that, as Yorkshire’s record holder for longevity of life died as long ag as 1973, the theory that we are living longer does not yet seem to apply to this particular group. First, those former players who are still alive and aged 85 or over.
OLDEST LIVING YORKSHIRE CRICKETERS
|DATE OF BIRTH||AGE AS ON
|B Brooke||03.03.1930||90 years 28 days||1950|
|GH Padgett||09.10.1931||88 years 174 days||1956|
|R Illingworth||08.06.1932||87 years 303 days||1951 – 83|
|AM King||08.10.1932||87 years 175 days||1955|
|AB Bainbridge||15.10.1932||87 years 168 days||1961 – 63|
|RK Platt||26.12.1932||87 years 96 days||1955 – 63|
|HD Bird||19.04.1933||86 years 347 days||1956 – 59|
|MJ Cowan||10.06.1933||86 years 71 days||1953 – 62|
|JB Bolus||31.01.1934||86 years 60 days||1956 – 62|
|WB Stott||18.07.1934||85 years 109 days||1952 – 63|
|DEV Padgett||20.07.1934||85 years 111 days||1951 – 71|
|K Gillhouley||08.08.1934||85 years 130 days||1961|
|JPG Chadwick||08.11.1934||85 years 222 days||1960 – 65|
NOTE: It is believed, using all of the usual sources, that all of these players are still alive. However, nothing is known of Messrs Monks, Brooke, GH Padgett and King. If an error has been made the writer apologises most profusely.
Some familiar names, some not so familiar, some with long careers, several with short ones, but how do they compare with those Yorkshire players who have had the longest lives?
LONGEST–LIVED YORKSHIRE PLAYERS
|95||252||W Rhodes||29.10.1877||08.07.1973||1898 – 1930|
|94||245||J Johnson||16.05.1916||16.01.2011||1936 – 39|
|93||163||F Dennis||11.06.1907||21.11.2000||1928 – 33|
|92||33||EI Lester||18.02.1923||23.03.2015||1945 – 56|
As may be deduced from this list, the previously-oldest Yorkshire cricketer still alive was John Ashman. His death, just over a year ago in Chichester, Sussex, meant that only five Yorkshire cricketers lived for a longer time than he did. A slow left-arm spinner, Ashman had a five-season career with the second eleven but played in only one match for the full Yorkshire side. This was against Surrey, him taking two wickets in each innings. Born in Rotherham, his main clubs were Bowling Old Lane and Sheffield United. He had two seasons with Worcestershire (1953-54) for whom he took 57 wickets in 33 matches.