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— 7 February 2019

The year 1919 witnessed the deaths of no fewer than ten cricketers who had all worn the White Rose. Paul Dyson looks at the careers of these ten players who included one outstanding all-rounder as well as another one whose life was cut off in its prime. The photo of Alonzo Drake comes courtesy of Mick Pope.

For there to be a number as high as ten former players to be featured in one of these columns is unprecedented. Unfortunately this means that, instead of the fuller profiles which some players deserve, there follows just a brief outline of their careers.

  • Died on February 14, 1919 in Honley, Huddersfield – ALONZO DRAKE. Approaching his peak years in 1914, Drake, at the age of 30 took 10 for 35 against Somerset at Weston-super-Mare becoming, in the process, the first Yorkshire bowler to achieve the feat of taking ten wickets in an innings. Born in1884 in Parkgate, Rotherham, he was a genuine all-rounder – a powerful left-handed stroke-maker and bowled left-arm slow-medium. In his six seasons with the county he played in 156 matches scoring 4,789 runs at 21.75 and took 479 wickets at 18.00.

    Died on February 16, 1919 in Canonbie, Dumfires, Scotland – THOMAS PRIDE. He moved to Edinburgh shortly after playing in his only first-class match – in which he scored one run but made seven dismissals as a wicket-keeper. He was born in York in 1864 and later played for Scotland.

    Died on April 17, 1919 in Keighley – SETH WARING. Devoted to Keighley CC, Waring spent 12 years as captain and five years as secretary. Born in Billingley, now part of Dearne, near Rotherham, in 1838, he played in one match for Yorkshire in 1870 as an amateur and scored nine runs in his one innings.

    Died on April 26, 1919 in Morley, Leeds – WILLIE MIDDLEBROOK. Four for 68 on debut, against the Australians in 1888, and five for 59 against Cambridge University were stand-out performances, him playing less well in county matches. Born in 1858 in Middledthorpe, Morley, he took 50 wickets with his fast-medium bowling in 17 games in two seasons.

    Died on June 2, 1919 at Beckett’s Park, Leeds – JAMES ROTHERY. A regular in five of his eight seasons (1903-10), he scored 4,614 runs in 150 matches, including a century before lunch at Bournemouth against Hampshire in 1905. Born in 1876 in Staincliffe, Batley, he apparently was of a nervous disposition and was not always seen at his attractive best. He died in hospital at the age of 42 having been wounded in the War.

    Died on August 14, 1919, in Liverpool – WALTER ROBINSON. After scoring 151 in seven matches in 1876-77, he moved to Lancashire and played for that county for nine seasons, scoring over 3,500 runs and representing the Players, the North and The Rest. Born in 1851 in Greetland, Halifax he spent his latter days as a groundsman in Huyton.

    Died on August 24, 1919 in Lockwood, Huddersfield – GEORGE LEE. Scores of 13 and four occurred when he opened the batting in his only game – against Lancashire at Old Trafford in 1879. He was born in Scarr, Almondbury, Huddersfield in 1854.

    Died on October 28, 1919 at Park, Sheffield – EDWARD (TED) WAINWRIGHT. One of Yorkshire’s best all-rounders in the nineteenth century, Wainwright played in 352 matches in 15 seasons from 1888, scored 11,092 runs at 21.53 and took 998 wickets at 17.77. Born in Tinsley, Sheffield in 1865, he was a solid batsman and off-spinner and played in five Tests including four in Australia in 1897/98 and was a vital member of six Championship-winning sides with Yorkshire. When making his highest innings of 228 against Surrey at The Oval in 1899 he shared a stand of 340 with George Hirst and this remains Yorkshire’s fifth-wicket record.

    Died on December 3, 1919 in Bradford – BENJAMIN LISTER. He began his career as an amateur in 1874 but had turned professional by the time of his final season of 1878. Born in 1850 in Birkenshaw, Bradford, he kept wicket in the early part of his career but his seven games for the county produced only 36 runs.

    Died on December 8, 1919 in Yeadon, Bradford – MATTHEW MYERS. A solid opening batsman, he played regularly in two of his three seasons (1876-78) and came third in the averages in one of them as well as representing the North and Players of the North. Born in Yeadon in 1847, he scored 537 runs in 22 matches.

    Main sources:

    • Peter Thomas: Yorkshire Cricketers 1839-1939 (1973)
    • Tony Woodhouse: A Who’s Who of Yorkshire County Cricket Club (1992)

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