As befits an optician, David Moorhouse, 90 not out in October, has seen and watched a lot of cricket – not surprisingly given that he’s Yorkshire’s longest serving member having joined as a junior almost 75 years ago.
Now living in Wetherby, David, who played club cricket in Leeds, was born in 1929 when the great Wilfred Rhodes was still playing for the county and England were captained by Percy Chapman.
He joined as a junior member in October 1945 after the war and watched his first game as a member during the 1946 season once Championship cricket resumed, and has been a keen member ever since.
Last Monday before the start of the Yorkshire-Hampshire match, David received VIP treatment from the club. He met the players, president Geoff Cope and was presented with a special memento to thank him for supporting Yorkshire for more than 70 years.
“It’s been wonderful for me to come to Headingley to meet the present generation of players. I took up cricket to follow my older brothers who played in the garden at our home in south Leeds.
“I became a leg break bowler and played club cricket in Leeds and then in the forces when I was called up in 1949.I served in the Royal Medical Corps.
“I remember going to Headingley in 1946 to watch Yorkshire. Yorkshire members knew their stuff. Brian Sellers, the pre-war captain, carried on as skipper during what was a very wet summer. Len Hutton hit the ball beautifully and was very defensively when necessary. He’d hurt an arm during the war but was still a great player and I think once he got to his hundred he hit out.
“Bill Bowes, who’d been a prisoner of war, wasn’t as fast as he was before the war, but he was still a thoughtful bowler. I liked Bill very much. He was impressive and gave you a sense of enthusiasm.
“Yorkshire were brilliant in 1946 and won the County Championship again. I saw my first Test match at Headingley in the summer of 1947 when South Africa played in England. Back then, they were an all-white team and were not as good as I expected them to be. England beat them by 10 wickets and Len got a hundred.
“But when Australia came to Leeds in July 1948, it was a different story altogether. They wiped us out. Australia were captained by Don Bradman and I was there on all five days.
“Bradman in the first innings only made 33, but in the second batted brilliantly to score 173 not out to win the game. I remember Neil Harvey, who was only 19, batting superbly in Australia’s first innings to make 112.
“The crowd was huge, higher than ever before. More than 150,000 attended (158,000) during the five days, the biggest attendance at a Test in England, and that record still stands. Hundreds sat on the grass by the boundary and they were all keen to get through Bradman, but he went on and on.
“In those days, cricketers like Hutton and Bradman batted properly and played a strict game. Now, you see players doing all sorts of strokes which would have been impossible at that time.
“I prefer four or five day matches where I can see a player in all his different styles. It’s slower, but gives me greater satisfaction.”
David’s love affair with cricket and Yorkshire in particular continues to be a passion and he’s hoping to attend the Ashes Test at Headingley in August.