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Unearthed: the ball that took hat-trick of lbws

— 3 August 2010

The ball with which Horace Fisher completed a unique hat-trick for Yorkshire in 1932 was today handed over to the Club President, Raymond Illingworth, above, by family members and friends of the late left-arm bowler, along with a beautifully preserved collection of the player’s memorabilia.

Raymond received the mounted ball shortly before start of play on Day 1 of Yorkshire’s top-of-the-table Championship clash with Nottinghamshire at Headingley Carnegie, and it will be prominently displayed in the cricket museum which opens at the ground next month.

“I am sure these items have found their right home by coming here, but other people also wanted them,” the President said. “I played against both Horace and Arthur Booth, and both of them were good enough to have walked into the present England side. When I think of some of the people playing county cricket these days they would not have been good enough to have laced the boots of those two cricketers.”

It was an appropriate day for the ceremony to take place because it was exactly 107 years ago that Horace was born in Featherstone on August 3, 1903.

Horace died in 1974, but the ball and other items of memorabilia were discovered in a drawer following the recent death of his widow, Mabel, and the family decided to hand them to the Yorkshire County Cricket Club Archives Committee on long-term loan.

It was against Somerset at Bramall Lane in August 1932 that Horace created cricket history by claiming the first all-lbw hat-trick in First Class cricket when he dismissed Mitchell-Innes, Andrews and Luckes to finish with 5-12. He then plundered a career-best unbeaten 76 as Yorkshire won by an innings and 93.

Horace, who bowled left-arm spin at almost medium pace, would have played more often for Yorkshire had he not been understudy to the great Hedley Verity - but he still managed 93 wickets in 52 matches between 1928 and 1936.

From mining stock, he played for Denby Grange at the age of 17, and in 1925 won the batting and bowling averages at Overton in the Featherstone League. From 1927 to 1929 he was with East Leeds when they lifted the League and Cup twice, and he had successful spells with Middleton, Barnsley, Baildon, Yeadon, Windhill, Huddersfield and Holbeck – where he ended his career after the war.

The next all-lbw hat-trick was by John Flavell for Worcestershire against Lancashire at Old Trafford in 1963 . Yorkshire were on the receiving end at Cheltenham in 1979 when Gloucestershire’s South African paceman, Mike Procter, thudded three consecutive deliveries into the pads of Richard Lumb, Bill Athey and John Hampshire – all from round the wicket.

Archives Committee Chairman David Allan, who organised the ceremony, paid tribute to the advance liaison work carried out by James Greenfield and Norman Hazell.


Pictures From Headingley Carnegie: VAUGHN RIDLEY