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— 8 February 2018

The year 1918 may well have been notable in respect of the conclusion of the First World War but as far as anniversaries associated with Yorkshire CCC there was just one birth to report. Paul Dyson looks back on the career of that player. His photo appears courtesy of Mick Pope.

Ronald Aspinall was one of a group of players who had to wait until the conclusion of the Second World War before having the chance to play first-class cricket. He was 27 when he made his debut for Yorkshire against the Indians at Bramall Lane, Sheffield in the summer of 1946. Although that was his only appearance during that season, when it came to 1947 he did not waste a great deal of time in his wish to make an impact. In only his fifth Championship game he took the staggering total of 14 wickets. Figures of eight for 42 (which remained a career best) and six for 23 against Northamptonshire at Northampton ushered Yorkshire to a two-day victory, thanks also in no small part to a century in each innings from Ted Lester.

Born in October 1918 in Almondbury, Huddersfield, Aspinall played for the village club of his birthplace and soon developed into an effective right-arm medium-fast bowler. Unfortunately, he was injury-prone and managed to play in only 36 matches in his five seasons in the county side. His seven matches in 1947 brought him 36 wickets and he also took 90 for the second eleven – a total which is still that team’s third-best. His best season for the first eleven was in the folllowing year when he was in the side for 22 matches. His 58 victims included figures of six for 87 against Kent at Bradford and he was rewarded with his county cap. His successes that year also included an innings of 75 not out againast Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge – the best of his four half-centuries. He took 30 wickets in a mere four matches in 1949 but then, sadly, faded from the scene. For Yorkshire he ended his career with a total of 131 wickets at an average of 20.38; he took eight five-fors and twice took ten wickets in a match.

The 1951 season saw Aspinall playing for Durham and he remained there for seven seasons playing in the Minor Counties Championship as well as coaching at St Peter’s School, York. This was followed by a period of 22 seasons as a first-class umpire. He stood in almost 700 matches in both forms of the game and gave distinguished service. He died at the age of 80 in 1999 in the village in which he had been born. Although his star shone brightly but briefly for Yorkshire, he was dedicated to the game and served it very well indeed.