When Yorkshire CCC was formed in 1863 its first opponents were Surrey and the two counties have been very keen rivals ever since. Paul Dyson looks back at a match at The Oval in the 1950s when both counties were particularly strong.
July 14, 16, 17, 1951, Kennington Oval: Surrey 156 & 317 (LB Fishlock 89, E Leadbeater 4-112), Yorkshire 431-3dec (L Hutton 151, JV Wilson 114*, FA Lowson 84) & 30-6. Match drawn
This game, which reached a thrilling climax, was also significant in the achievement of a personal milestone. On the first day Yorkshire were bowling on a helpful pitch and Appleyard’s three wickets helped to reduce Surrey to 105 for five. Only Tom Clark (47) held up the visitors for any length of time and after he had been caught at the wicket the tail subsided quickly, the last five wickets falling for only 25 runs. Fred Trueman, Bob Appleyard and Norman Yardley each took three wickets. Len Hutton and Frank Lowson then made the game look much easier and by the end of the day they had taken their side’s score to 112 for no wicket with Hutton on 61.
A crowd of 15,000 arrived on the second day (a Monday) hoping to witness history being made. Eventually, Hutton played a cover-drive off the fast-medium bowling of Owen Wait and it sped to the boundary. The stroke was “worthy of the occasion” (Wisden) and its importance was such that he had now become the 13th batsman to score 100 first-class centuries. It had taken him 619 innings and only Don Bradman, at the time, had achieved it in fewer. Despite this, there was a match to be won and Yorkshire continued on their way. The opening pair batted their county into the lead and, with the score on 197 Surrey took their first wicket – that of Lowson for 84. Hutton was then joined by Vic Wilson and the pair added a further 58 before Hutton was bowled by the left-arm spin of Tony Lock. He had batted faultlessly for 280 minutes and had hit twelve fours. It was then Wilson’s turn to take the lead and he unleashed some fine drives in putting on 129 for the third wicket with Geoffrey Keighley. In due course a declaration came and this gave Yorkshire a lead of 275. Wilson’s century had contained three sixes and ten fours. Surrey lost an early wicket and ended the day on 28 for one.
The home side began the final day confidently and at 99 for one the situation did not look quite so desperate. Mike Barton (39) had shared a second-wicket stand of 89 with Bernard Constable but three wickets then went down for the addition of only 14 runs, including that of Constable for 47, and when the score had further declined to 158 for five the home side were facing an innings defeat. Laurie Fishlock, who was eventually stumped for 89, was joined by McIntyre and the pair put on 83 together while Yorkshire, in their eagerness to force a victory, were dropping vital catches. After what seemed like an age Eddie Leadbeater took the final two wickets to finish with four for 112 and this left Yorkshire to score 43 runs in twenty minutes to win the match. The approach smacked of panic, and with Alec Bedser bowling accurately four wickets fell for the addition of only three runs. The batsmen hurried between the pavilion gate and the crease but it was all to no avail as two more wickets were lost (both to run-outs) and Yorkshire ended 13 runs short having batted for just six overs. Nevertheless the tense climax had added spice to what had been an historic game.
Man of the Match
The obvious contender for this unofficial title is Len Hutton but he received a three-part tribute in the centenary anniversary of his birth last year in this writer’s Throwback Thursday column.
One of Yorkshire’s most successful captains, Vic Wilson was the first beneficiary of the county’s important policy-change in 1960. From 1883 to 1959 all of the appointed skippers had been amateurs but after the resignation of Ronnie Burnett, Wilson was the obvious candidate to replace him. His status had always been that of a professional so it was very much a ground-breaking appointment.
Born in 1921 at Scampston, Wilson’s first club was nearby Malton but he also played for Undercliffe, Bingley and Bowling Old Lane before starting his first-class career at the age of 25 in the first season after the end of the Second World War. By 1948 he had established himself at number three in Yorkshire’s very strong line-up, was given his cap, and played as the fulcrum of the innings for several years. That season was the first of 14 occasions when he scored 1,000 runs and his best year came in 1951 when he made 2,027 runs. One year later saw his highest innings of 230 against Derbyshire at Sheffield.
A very strong left-handed batsman, Wilson possessed some very powerful strokes and used his height to play his attacking shots in a very ebullient manner. Straight drives and strokes through point were the best part of his armoury and his consistent performances came from a solid temperament. At his best against the quicker bowlers, his relative lack of footwork against the spinners occasionally let him down. Nevertheless he scored a total of over 21.000 runs in all first-class cricket and received a worthy benefit in 1958.
A brilliant fielder, especially at short-leg, Wilson took over 50 catches in a season four times with a best of 62 in 1955. This succeeded a winter spent in Australia where he was made 12th man for all five Tests but, despite several matches for MCC, the Players and the North, that was the sum of his experience in representative cricket.
Wilson’s three seasons as Yorkshire’s captain saw the side finish in first, second and first places in the County Championship. Although very much an orthodox leader, he welded a group of talented individuals into a consistently winning unit. He returned to his roots after retirement and died in 2008 in Yedingham, near Malton.
|Played||Yorkshire won||Surrey won||Drawn||Abandoned|
|Official County Championship||191||58||53||80||2|
Highest innings totals
Surrey 634-5dec The Oval 2013 Away 516-7dec Headingley 2017
Yorkshire 704 The Oval 1899 At home 582-7dec Sheffield (BL) 1935
NOTE: Yorkshire’s 704 is its second-highest total in all first-class cricket.
Lowest innings totals
Surrey 31 Holbeck 1883 At home 44 The Oval 1935
Yorkshire 26 The Oval 1909 At home 54 Sheffield (BL) 1873
Highest individual innings
Surrey 273 TW Hayward The Oval 1899
Yorkshire 255 W Barber Sheffield (BL) 1935 Away 232* GH Hirst The Oval 1905 232 H Sutcliffe The Oval 1922
Surrey 448 (4th) R Abel (193) & TW Hayward (273) The Oval 1899
Yorks 372 (4th) JE Root (213) & JM Bairstow (198) Headingley 2016
Best bowling in an innings
Surrey 9-47 T Richardson Sheffield (BL) 1893 At Home 8-40 J Beaumont The Oval 1888
Yorkshire 8-5 E Peate Holbeck 1883 Away 8-21 W Bates The Oval 1879
Best bowling in a match
Surrey 15-154 (7-55 & 8-99) T Richardson Headingley 1897
Yorkshire 14- 77 (6-47 & 8-30) E Peate Huddersfield 1881 Away 14-123 (7-41 & 7-82) FS Trueman The Oval 1960
Most dismissals in an innings by a wicket-keeper
6 (4 ct, 2 st) EW Pooley Surrey The Oval 1870
6 (5 ct, 1 st) D Hunter Yorkshire Sheffield (BL) 1891
Most dismissals in a match by a wicket-keeper
8 (2 ct, 6 st) D Hunter Yorkshire Bradford (PA) 1898
Most catches in an innings by a fielder
5 D Wilson Yorkshire The Oval 1969
Most catches in a match by a fielder
6 J Tunnicliffe Yorkshire Sheffield (BL) 1893
A century and five wickets in an innings in the same match
GH Hirst 232*; 5-43 & 1-6 Yorkshire The Oval 1905
PGH Fender 177; 6-116 Surrey Bradford (PA) 1928
KF Barrington 158*; 5-51 & 2-54 Surrey The Oval 1967