In the golden summer of 1947, Ted finished third in the national averages to the great Middlesex and England pair, Denis Compton and Bill Edrich, who each scored over 3,000 first class runs. Ted turned out in only 11 first team matches that season but still averaged 73 which was exactly the same as he did in the second team
During the 1947 season, he plundered a century in each innings against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road and the following year he performed the feat again, this time against Lancashire at Old Trafford – an achievement which no other Yorkshire batsman has equalled since in a Roses encounter.
He played in 232 matches for Yorkshire, scoring 10,616 runs and hitting 24 centuries, six of them coming in 1952 when he hammered out 1,786 runs and averaged 49.61. Ted was in even better form in 1949 when he totalled 1,801 runs and hit his career-best score of 186 against Warwickshire on his home ground at Scarborough.
Just after the Second World War had finished, Ted made his debut for Yorkshire in a two-day game arranged against Lancashire at Old Trafford and he was selected for only one first class game that season. It was at Scarborough and it turned out to be the last match in the illustrious career of the great Herbert Sutcliffe.
Ted went on to bat with another Yorkshire and England ‘great’, Len Hutton, and one of his most treasured memories was of when he played against his boyhood hero, Don Bradman, for Yorkshire against the Australians at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. ‘The Don’ scored 54 and 86 while Ted managed 31 and five not out, the game ending in a draw.
In a tribute to Ted, Yorkshire vice-president and Cricket Writers’ Club president, David Warner, said: “I have very happy memories of Ted Lester going back to 1975 when I first started covering Yorkshire cricket. Ted, my cricket writing colleague, John Callaghan, and myself, travelled the country to Yorkshire matches together and we had some marvellous times.
“I learned a great deal about first class cricket from Ted, who knew the game inside out. He was always happy to pass on his great knowledge but he was extremely modest about his own career and would only speak about it if pressed to do so.
“He was respected by players past and present and his death is a tremendous loss to Yorkshire cricket.”
Ted leaves a widow, Mary, and a son and a daughter.
Ken Smales, an off-spinner who played in 13 games for Yorkshire but went on to make a bigger name for himself with Nottinghamshire, died on March 10 at the age of 87.
Born in Horsforth on September 15, 1927, Ken was educated at Aireborough Grammar School and he made his first class debut for Yorkshire against Oxford University at The Parks in 1948, scoring 45 – his highest for the county – and adding 146 for the fifth wicket with Ted Lester, now the doyen of Yorkshire cricket, who blasted 149.
Although a capable batsman, it was chiefly as an off-spin bowler that he made his mark, playing for Horsforth CC before moving to Bradford League club, Keighley, where he took 31 wickets at 21.38 runs apiece.
He soon came to the attention of Yorkshire but with so much spin talent at their disposal he was not called upon at all in 1949 and despite capturing five for 44 and two for 29 on a spinner’s pitch at Bradford Park Avenue against the West Indies in 1950 he was not chosen again.
He moved to Nottinghamshire the following summer and in eight seasons on mainly unresponsive pitches he claimed 117 wickets, his greatest achievement being to take all ten wickets in the innings against Gloucestershire in June, 1956. The match was the first Championship game to be played on the Erinoid ground at Stroud and despite Ken’s heroic effort, Nottinghamshire still lost by nine wickets inside two days.
In 1958 Ken began to work for Nottingham Forest and became Club secretary, a post he held for 30 years during which time the team enjoyed great success during Brian Clough’s reign .
Written by David Warner
A service to celebrate the life of Ted Lester will take place on Thursday 2nd April at Queen Street Methodist Central Hall, Queen Street, Scarborough at 12.30pm. ( map below ) . The family have expressed a preference for the wearing of brighter colours rather than dark clothing.
This will be followed by a private burial. After the service those who wish are invited for refreshments at Plaxton Hall, Scarborough.
The family have requested no flowers, instead donations may be made to the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, c/o Yorkshire CCC, to assist in the development of young cricketers.