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Yorkshire receives rare artefact from a bygone age

— 28 January 2014

One of rarest and most unusual cricketing trophies over the past 125 years has been presented to the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation Archives for posterity.

  • The trophy, which is reputed to be an ostrich egg mounted onto a silver and black plinth, was presented to Yorkshire cricketer Billy Bates (pictured) at Melbourne in January 1883, following England’s convincing win over Australia by an innings for which Bates was largely responsible.

    With seven for 28 and seven for 74, not only did Bates, who was born at Lascelles Hall, near Huddersfield, create a new record for England in the 11th Test Match, he also took his country’s first hat-trick (in the first innings). Added to this was a score of 55 in England’s innings and he became the first player from any country to score a half-century and take ten wickets in the same Test Match.

    “This is one of the most sought after items of memorabilia in the game and for the Bates family to loan it to the Club is a fabulous gesture,” said David Allan, Chairman of the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation’s Archives Committee.

  • “This is one of the most sought after items of memorabilia in the game and for the Bates family to loan it to the Club is a fabulous gesture." David Allan

    “We receive lots of bats, mounted balls but this is something very special and it is a great honour for our fledgling museum to have ‘Billy Bates’ Egg’ on permanent display. Members will now get the chance to see the trophy in its full glory throughout the summer.”

    Bates, known as ‘The Duke’ for his dapper look, played all of his 15 Tests in Australia and was a very popular player with the crowds. After his match-winning performance in Melbourne, he received a collection of £31.00 and the trophy, which was presented to him by the Australian team.

    Bates made his debut for Yorkshire in 1877 and played 11 seasons ending with 6499 runs at 20.37 and 637 wickets at 16.78. He toured Australia on a total of five occasions and North America once. His Test record was 656 runs at 27.33 and 50 wickets at 16.42.

    He died in 1900 at the age of 41. He was survived by his son W.E. Bates who played for Yorkshire and Glamorgan and Leeds United. The family’s sporting prowess lived on for a third generation as the son of the latter, Eddie Bates, played for Southampton and later became the manager of the same football team.

  • Trevor Bates, who was present at the ceremony, and is the great-great nephew of Billy Bates presented the trophy along with Linda Riley whose mother, Brenda Pearson (nee Bates), was the great great niece of Billy Bates.

    The trophy will now be on permanent display in the Yorkshire Cricket Museum at Headingley Cricket Ground.

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