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Graham Stevenson RIP

— 22 January 2014

Yorkshire have lost one of their most explosive and naturally talented all-rounders with the death on January 21 of Graham Stevenson at the age of 58.

Born at Ackworth, Graham played in 177 first class matches for Yorkshire between 1973-1986, taking 464 wickets at 28.56, scoring 3,856 runs with two centuries and holding on to 73 catches.

  • In addition, Stevenson twice played in Test matches for England and he represented his country in four one-day internationals.

    Without argument, Stevenson was possessed with a rare ability in all aspects of the game. He was a fine seam bowler who could move the ball both ways, a remarkable late-order batsman who made a habit of hitting good-length deliveries high and hard over extra cover and a stunning fielder whose returns from the boundary edge landed in the wicketkeeper’s gloves like fire crackers.

    He was also one of the most popular figures both with team-mates and fans ever to wear a Yorkshire sweater and he was greatly admired by his former captain and friend, Geoffrey Boycott, who was an early mentor and arranged nets for him at Headingley when he was a youth. Boycott openly admitted that Stevenson was one of his favourite cricketers.

    He had all the qualities necessary to entertain on a grand scale in one-day matches and he played in 216 limited overs games for Yorkshire, capturing 290 wickets and scoring 1,699 runs.

    Stevenson developed as a first class cricketer at around the same time as Ian Botham and there was perhaps little to choose between them so far as raw talent was concerned. Maybe the Yorkshireman could have gone on to achieve even greater things himself with a little more concentration but then he would not have been the character that everyone so loved.

  • Perhaps, also, he was born a generation too soon, because he would have been a huge asset to any side in Twenty20 cricket and would probably have made a big name for himself in the game.

    His most important contributions for Yorkshire were generally with the ball and against Northamptonshire at Headingley in 1980 he grabbed the first eight wickets at a cost of 57. He could well have gone on to bag all ten but he left the field to change his shirt!

    In 1978 he was the scourge of Lancashire, destroying them in their first innings at Headingley with figures of 8-65, Yorkshire going on to win by an innings and 32 runs on the second day. At Old Trafford later in the season, Yorkshire were triumphant by ten wickets with Stevenson taking 5-61 and 3-57. His new-ball partner, Chris Old, also had a significant say in that match with an unbeaten century and 4-38 and 5-47.

    But perhaps one of most headline grabbing acts was with the bat when he shared a Yorkshire record-breaking last wicket stand of 149 with Boycott against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. Coming in as last man, Stevenson thrashed 115 not out, at the time the highest unbeaten score ever recorded by a No 11 batsman.

    Sadly, Stevenson had endured much ill-health in recent years and he died in hospital after suffering a severe stroke over three months ago.