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
31.03.2020
CAREER
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?

LONGESTLIVED YORKSHIRE PLAYERS

YEARS DAYS PLAYER BORN DIED CAREER
95 252 W Rhodes 29.10.1877 08.07.1973 1898 – 1930
94 292 RD Dick 16.04.1889 14.12.1983 1911
94 245 J Johnson 16.05.1916 16.01.2011 1936 – 39
94 49 H Brearley 26.06.1913 14.08.2007 1937
93 163 F Dennis 11.06.1907 21.11.2000 1928 – 33
92 279 JR Ashman 20.05.1926 04.03.2019 1951
92 125 MG Crawford 30.07.1920 02.12.2012 1951
92 33 EI Lester 18.02.1923 23.03.2015 1945 – 56
92 30 JW Brook 01.02.1897 03.03.1989 1923

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.

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