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Memory Match: MIDDLESEX v YORKSHIRE

— 19 June 2017

Having first played against Middlesex on its own grounds in Islington and Chelsea, Yorkshire became the first team to play a county match at Lord’s in 1877. The White Rose has since usually visited The Home of Cricket for these fixtures but has also played against Middlesex at Uxbridge and Southgate.

Paul Dyson looks at one of Yorkshire’s visits to Lord’s which broke a 105-year-old record.

June 6, 8, 9, 1925: Middlesex 118 (E Robinson 5-52) & 271 (JW Hearne 91, GTS Stevens 65, GG Macaulay 4-94); Yorkshire 538-6dec (P Holmes 315*, M Leyland 61, H Sutcliffe 58). Yorkshire won by an innings and 149 runs.

Having won each of the three preceding County Championships, Yorkshire were aiming for an unprecedented fourth consecutive title. They themselves had previously collected a hat-trick of victories in the 1900-02 years and Surrey had won each of the first three official Championships in 1890-92 but no county had yet won four in a row. Middlesex had won three of the 31 competitions staged thus far but Yorkshire had won a total of 13.

Yorkshire came into this match unbeaten; of their eight games played thus far they had won five. Middlesex, who had finished in second place in 1924 had also began well. They had played six matches, winning four but losing one.

Middlesex won the toss and decided to bat. They started well on a good pitch with an opening stand of 41 but then lost three wickets for three runs. There then followed another stand worth 41 but an even worse collapse saw the last seven wickets go down for 33 runs and the home side were all out for a mere 118. It was Emmott Robinson who initiated each of the two collapses; he took four of the first five wickets to fall and finished with five for 52 having ‘made the ball swing a lot and come fast off the pitch’ (Wisden). He was well-supported by George Macaulay and Abe Waddington, all three bowling fast-medium.

The start of Yorkshire’s reply was in complete contrast to what had gone before. Percy Homes and Herbert Sutcliffe passed Middlesex’s total with ease but when the score had reached 140 Sutcliffe, who had made 56, suffered an injury to a thumb. Edgar Oldroyd came and went quickly but Morris Leyland kept Holmes company until close of play when the scoreboard read 209 for one, with Holmes, who had ‘depended mainly upon cuts and skilful strokes on the leg side’ (Ibid.), on 121 not out

The second day belonged to Holmes. He totally dominated Yorkshire’s innings, scoring 62% of the runs which came from the bat. In contrast to his stroke play on the Saturday, Monday saw him driving on both sides of the wicket. When he had scored 279 he passed the 105-year-old record for this famous ground and shortly after that became only the second Yorkshire batsman to score two triple-centuries. After almost seven hours at the crease, and not having given a chance, skipper Arthur Lupton declared with a massive lead of 420, Holmes having scored 315 not out, a total which included 38 fours. His second wicket stand with Leyland had been worth 166, of which Leyland had made 61. He also shared 85 runs with Roy Kilner (37) and exactly 100, undefeated, with Macaulay. Sutcliffe had returned at the fall of the fourth wicket but added only two more runs to his earlier score.

Middlesex then had to bat for over four sessions merely to draw the match. They started badly by scoring only two runs before the first wicket fell to Macaulay. However Grenville Stevens and Jack Hearne took their side to close of play with no further alarms, the score showing 106 for one.

On the final day the pair continued carefully on and the Middlesex faithful started to become optimistic. However, with the score on 144, Macaulay clean bowled Stevens for 65 and then had Patsy Hendren caught by Robinson. Clarrie Bruce kept Hearne company for a while but when he was also bowled by Macaulay for a well-constructed 91 three wickets fell for three runs and 144 for one had become 183 for six. Nigel Haig added 40 with Bruce but when he was out Robinson mopped up the tail, taking all of the last three wickets and the visitors had won by an innings and 149 runs.

As the season developed it could be recorded that the result of this match ended up being the second in a sequence of 12 consecutive victories – an astonishing number. Five of the final 13 games were also won and Yorkshire had gone through the season unbeaten – winning 21 and drawing 11. It was the first time since 1908 that any county had gone through a season without losing a single game and was to remain the only occasion when any county had done so in a 32-match season in the entire history of the Championship. Middlesex also ended up with a good set of results, winning 12 and losing only three of their 24 matches but gained first-innings lead in only two of their seven draws and so had to be content with sixth place.

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 greatest 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 Yorkshire and included 64 in the Championship.

Born in Oakes, Huddersfield, Holmes’ early clubs were Paddock, Golcar and Spen Victoria and his first games for Yorkshire, for whom he played 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.

Holmes was short in stature but dapper and very quick on his feet, this enabling him to get into position early. He possessed strokes all around the wicket excelling in particular in the cut and 1925, when he scored 2,453 runs he had his best season.
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’ share was 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 in 1933 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 in Marsh, Huddersfield in 1971 at the age of 84.

With five of Yorkshire’s top 11 innings, Holmes stands as one of its greatest batsmen.

SOME RECORDS

Results (home and away)
Played Yorkshire Won Middlesex won Drawn Tied Abandoned
Official County Championship 197 67 47 82 1 1
Non-Championship 37 16 11 10 0 0
Totals 234 83 58 92 1 1

Highest innings totals

Middlesex 577 Scarborough 2016
At Home 573-8dec Lord’s 2015
Yorkshire 575-7dec Bradford 1899 Away 538-6dec Lord’s 1925

Lowest innings totals

Middlesex 45 Huddersfield 1879 At Home 49 Lord’s 1890
Yorkshire 43 Lord’s 1888 At Home 45 Headingley 1898

Highest individual innings

Middlesex 243* AJ Webbe Huddersfield 1887 At Home 241* CJL Rogers Lord’s 2014
Yorkshire 315* P Holmes Lord’s 1925 At Home 235 H Sutcliffe Headingley 1925 NOTE: At the time of Holmes’s innings it was the highest ever scored at Lord’s.

Highest wicket partnerships

Middx 321 (3rd) MW Gatting (182) & MR Ramprakash (140) Scarborough 1993
Yorks 346 (2nd) W Barber (162) & M Leyland (189) Sheffield (BL) 1932

Best bowling in an innings

Middlesex 9-57 FA Tarrant Headingley 1906 At Home 8-31 JA Young Lord’s 1946
Yorkshire 9-45 GH Hirst Sheffield (BL) 1907 Away 8-26 JH Wardle Lord’s 1950

Best bowling in a match

Middlesex 16-114 (8-48 & 8-66) G Burton Sheffield (BL) 1888 At Home 14- 65 (7-37 & 7-28) JT Hearne Lord’s 1891
Yorkshire 13- 94 (6-61 & 7-33) S Haigh Headingley 1900 Away 12- 79 (5-39 & 7-40) S Haigh Lord’s 1902
NOTE: Burton’s figures are the second-best against Yorkshire for any opposition.

Most dismissals in an innings by a wicket-keeper

7 (all ct) WFF Price Middlesex Lord’s 1937
6 (all ct) D Hunter Yorkshire Headingley 1909 6 (all ct) JM Bairstow Yorkshire Headingley 2013 6 (all ct) JA Simpson Middlesex Headingley 2013

Most dismissals in a match by a wicket-keeper

9 (all ct) DC Nash Middlesex Headingley 1999 8 (5ct 3st) JT Murray Middlesex Lord’s 1961 8 (all ct) JM Bairstow Yorkshire Headingley 2013 8 (all ct) JA Simpson Middlesex Scarborough 2016

One hundred runs and ten wickets in the same match

BJT Bosanquet 141 & 0; 5-112 & 5-136 Middlesex Sheffield (BL) 1904

A century and five wickets in an innings in the same match

AE Trott 164; 5-98 & 4-130 Middlesex Lord’s 1899
MW Booth 107* & 30*; 5-72 & 3-64 Yorkshire Lord’s 1913
W Rhodes 126; 5-29 Yorkshire Bradford 1923
M Leyland 172 & 35; 0-40 & 5-82 Yorkshire Sheffield (BL) 1930
FS Trueman 101; 5-32 & 0-29 Yorkshire Scarborough 1965
TS Roland-Jones 0 & 103*; 3-93 & 5-27 Middlesex Lord’s 2015

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