Skip to content

Throwback Thursday: Five captains in a Championship season

— 11 October 2018

Many supporters took note of the fact that, in 2018, Yorkshire used no fewer than five captains in the County Championship and they felt that this was unprecedented in recent times. Paul Dyson has delved through the past and found out how rare this occurrence is. The photo of the 1923 team comes courtesy of Brian Sanderson.

Yorkshire played only 13 Championship matches in 2018 – the least they have ever played in any one season since the official competition started in 1890 – and used five captains in those games. The matches and captains are as follows:



Start
date
Opponents Venue Captain Result
April
20
Notts Headingley GS
Ballance
Won by 164 runs
April
27
Somerset Taunton GS
Ballance
Lost
by 118 runs
May
4
Essex Chelmsford GS
Ballance
Won
by 91 runs
May
11
Surrey The Oval JE
Root
Lost
by inns and 17 runs
June
20
Hampshire Ageas Bowl SA
Patterson
Drawn
June
25
Surrey Scarboorugh SA
Patterson
Lost
by seven wkts
July
22
Lancs Old Trafford SA
Patterson
Won
by 118 runs
August
19
Worcs Scarborough DJ
Willey
Lost
by inns and 186 runs
August
29
Somerset Headingley DJ
Willey
Lost
by 224 runs
Sept
4
Notts Trent Bridge A
Lyth
Drawn
Sept
10
Lancs Headingley SA
Patterson
Won
by 95 runs
Sept
18
Hampshire Headingley SA
Patterson
Drawn
Sept
24
Worcs Worcestershire SA
Patterson
Won
by 7 wkts

In trawling through previous years, it is discovered that 2018 is the fourth season in the official County Championship since it started in 1890 in which Yorkshire have used at least five captains, the details being:

  • 1899, 28 matches, 5 captains – Lord Hawke 23, F Mitchell 2, FS Jackson 1, E Smith 1, J Tunnicliffe 1
  • 1923, 32 matches, 6 captains – G Wilson 21, W Rhodes 4, ER Wilson 4, P Holmes 1, E Robinson 1, JS Stephenson 1
  • 1956, 28 matches, 5 captains – WHH Sutcliffe 18, W Watson 6, FA Lowson 2, JH Wardle 1, JV Wilson 1

Unlike the three other seasons covered in this study, 1923 was a title-winning campaign. (Yorkshire were third in 1899 and seventh in 1956.) So successful was it that the total number of victories – 25, in cluding 13 by an innings – has never been surpassed (Surrey won 23 in 1955) and the county’s only defeat was by a mere three runs. There were 13 consecutive victories and these took up most of June and July.

Six batsmen scored over 1,000 runs, three bowlers each took over 100 wickets and another took 95. On both lists were Wilfred Rhodes and Roy Kilner, the pair being the first duo to perform the double for the county in the same season as each other since 1904. Five of the bowlers averaged 15 or fewer and took 95% of the wickets; four of them coming in the top ten of the national averages.

  • Yorkshire had also won the County Championship in 1922 and were to win it again in the two years after 1923. This meant that the county became the first to win four consecutive titles. Using six captains in 1923 did not seem to matter in the slightest.

    Cautionary note: for 31 games in the 1890-1914 period it is not known who the captains were. It is possible, therefore, that more five-captain seasons may be eventually be unearthed. There is a complete set of captains for the inter-War era but eight matches are ffected by the relevant lack of knowledge in 1946-52. Research is ongoing to fill in these gaps.

Promotions

Social