Yorkshire has played on several grounds in Hampshire: most visits have been to Dean Park, Bournemouth but many have been to Southampton, including the first match in 1895. This was at the old Northlands Road ground but in 2000 the county moved its headquarters to the Rose (now the Ageas) Bowl on the outskirts of the town. Yorkshire has also played at May’s Bounty, Basingstoke and the United Services Ground, Portsmouth and it is one of the games on this ground that is now featured.
Paul Dyson looks at a match which contained two outstanding individual performances and was staged not long after the 1914-18 War.
August 28, 30, 31, 1920 at Portsmouth: Yorkshire 585-3dec (P Holmes 302*, H Sutcliffe 131, D Denton 68); Hampshire 131 (ER Wilson 5-20, W Rhodes 5-56) & 219 (HC McDonell, W Rhodes 6-73). Yorkshire won by an innings and 235 runs.
In 1919 first-class matches were played over only two days but this experiment was abandoned after just one season. In that first County Championship after the First World War,Yorkshire were the title-winners, it being their tenth success in the official Championship, and their opponents in this match, Hampshire, finished seventh. The south coast county had yet to win the title, fifth being their highest position in the 26 competitions thus far.
This was Yorkshire’s final game of the season but whatever the result they could not win the Championship. For Hampshire it was their penultimate game but they were not in the running either.
Yorkshire won the toss and elected to bat and on the first day lost only one wicket. Percy Holmes and Herbert Sutcliffe shared an opening stand of 347 together, the runs having been scored over a period of only four-and-a-half hours. Their partnership was very much in its infancy at this stage of the pair’s respective careers, them having batted together only for the first time in the previous season. Nevertheless this represented their highest stand yet; it eclipsed the 279 which they had made against Northamptonshire in 1919. The partnership was brought to an end by Sutcliffe being stumped for 131 and this brought David Denton to the crease. He and Holmes batted through to close of play when the scoreboard showed 400 for one, Holmes having reached 230 – already the highest score of his career.
After about an hour’s play on the second day Denton was bowled, by Jack Newman, for 68, his stand with Holmes having added 109 for the second wicket. In complete contrast to what had gone before, Norman Kilner then made a duck! Wilfred Rhodes knew how to take advantage of a good pitch and indifferent bowling and he then shared a stand of 128 with Holmes before the declaration came. This occurred just after Holmes had reached his triple century; his marathon had lasted seven-and-a-quarter hours and he had struck 29 fours. It was the highest innings of the entire season and in the process he became only the third Yorkshire player to make a score of 300-plus.
In the context of what was to follow, Hampshire began their reply well, the opening stand being worth 48. Once Rhodes and Rockley Wilson started bowling together it was a different matter and wickets began to fall in dramatic fashion. Three went down with the score on 94 and the pair each took five wickets as all ten fell for just 83 runs. The follow-on was enforced and Hampshire had reached 22 for none by the time stumps were drawn.
The hosts made a better fist of things on the final day but a promising first wicket stand of 65 was followed by six wickets falling for only 28 runs, the total then being 119 for seven, five of these being taken by Rhodes. This brought Harold McDonell to the crease and he gave Hampshire’s plight an air of respectability with an innings of 64, the county’s only half-century of the match. He shared a stand of 67 with Gerald Harrison but once the partnership was broken the end came quickly. Rhodes finished the match with figures of 11 for 129 and in the process completed the double for the 11th season.
Middlesex were champions for the second time, Yorkshire finishing in fourth place and Hampshire 11th.
Man of the Match:
A brilliant opening batsman, Percy Holmes was unfortunate to be a contemporary of Jack Hobbs otherwise he would certainly have played more than his seven Tests spread over 12 seasons. But he was hugely fortunate to be a contemporary of the great Herbert Sutcliffe with whom he formed the most accomplished opening partnership in the history of all first-class cricket. The pair shared a world record 74 century stands together; 69 of these were for York-shire and included 64 in the Championship.
Born in Oakes, Huddersfield in 1886, Paddock, Golcar and Spen Victoria were Holmes’ early clubs and his first games for Yorkshire, from 1913, were in the middle-order, his alliance with Sutcliffe starting in 1919. The record for either county in Roses matches fell to them in that season – a record they improved on later – and both, remarkably, were members of Wisden’s Five Batsmen of the Season. One of the main features of the pair’s batting together was their running between the wickets. They developed virtually a telepathic understanding and seemed to trust each other implicitly. With neither having a recognised technical weakness against any type of bowling they were always able to score at a good speed.
Short in stature but dapper and very quick on his feet, this enabled Holmes to get into posi-tion early. He possessed strokes all around the wicket excelling in particular in the cut. In 1925 with 2,453 runs he had his best season and this included his career-best of 315 not out against Middlesex at Lord’s. Although this broke the 105-year-old record for the highest in-nings made at the ground it was surpassed only one year later.
His most famous achievement, however, was to share in the world record stand, for any wicket, of 555 with Sutcliffe against Essex at Leyton in 1932, Holmes’ making 224 not out. At Test level, his most successful time was in South Africa in 1927/28 when he opened with Sutcliffe in all five matches and made four half-centuries.
Although aged 46 at the time of his retirement from Yorkshire he felt he could have played for longer and took up a professional appointment with Swansea and umpired in first-class cricket in 1947. Thereafter he coached at Scarborough College until past his 70th birthday. He died at Marsh, Huddersfield in 1971.
With five of Yorkshire’s top 11 innings in his name, Holmes stands as one of its greatest batsmen.
(Wilfred Rhodes, the other outstanding performer in this week’s Memory Match, has previously been profiled in this series.)
Hampshire 36 Southampton (NR) 1898
Away 36 Headingley 1904
Yorkshire 23 Middlesbrough 1965
Away 96 Bournemouth 1971
NOTE: Yorkshire’s total of 23 is its lowest in all first-class cricket.
Highest individual innings
Hampshire 300* MA Carberry Southampton (RB) 2011
Away 232* G Brown Headingley 1920
Yorkshire 302* P Holmes Portsmouth 1920
At Home 280* L Hutton Sheffield (BL) 1939
NOTES: Michael Carberry’s 300 not out is one of only two triple-centuries scored against Yorkshire and the only one in the County Championship.
Highest wicket partnerships
Hants 523 (3rd) MA Carberry (300*) & ND McKenzie (237) Southampton (RB) 2011
Yorks 347 (1st) P Holmes (302*) & H Sutcliffe (131) Portsmouth 1920
NOTE: The stand of 523 is the highest partnership made against Yorkshire for any wicket in all first-class cricket.
Best bowling in an innings
Hampshire 8-49 OW Herman Bournemouth 1930
Away 7-28 AS Kennedy Bradford 1922
Yorkshire 9-29 AC Williams Dewsbury 1919
Away 8-21 S Haigh Southampton (NR) 1898