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— 11 July 2019

Somerset is into its 12th consecutive season in the Championship’s first division, making it the longest-serving current member but Paul Dyson looks back at a home game almost 70 years ago which swung in dramatic fashion. The photo of Eddie Leadbeater comes courtesy of Mick Pope.

May 26, 28, 29, 1951 at Bramall Lane, Sheffield: Somerset 234 (MF Tremlett 81, E Leadbeater 4-57) & 62 (JH Wardle 6-23); Yorkshire 77 (HTF Buse 6-33) & 269-7dec (L Hutton 65, JV Wilson 56, H Halliday 55). Yorkshire won by 50 runs.

In the first five seasons following the Second World War Yorkshire only once finished outside of the top four, winning the County Championship in 1946, for the 22nd time, and sharing it with Middlesex in 1949. Somerset’s five previous years had seen it finish between 4th and 13th. That county had never won the Championship – a fact still so in 2019 – and at that stage in its history its best position had been third, this being achieved on three occasions. This match took place very early in the season; Yorkshire had won one and lost one of its four matches, Somerset winning one and losing two of its five.

Somerset won the toss a decided to bat but slipped to 55 for three before Maurice Tremlett batted in an exhilarating manner. His predominant shots were drives and in his 81 he was well supported by the steadiness of Bertie Buse, with whom he shared a stand of 94, and Johnny Lawrence. It was Fred Trueman and Bob Appleyard who had made the early inroads and each of them finished with three wickets but the leg-spin of Eddie Leadbeater took the vital wicket of Tremlett and he finished with four for 57. Somerset were all out for 234, the last four wickets falling for just 22 runs. Yorkshire lost the important wicket of Len Hutton before close of play by which time they had reached 37 for two.

  • The following day, a Sunday, was a rest day but, significantly, it was very wet – and so was Monday. Only 90 minutes play was possible and Somerset took advantage of the conditions by reducing Yorkshire to the ignominy of 76 for nine. Opener Frank Lowson, who was 16 not out overnight, added only four more runs before he was caught off the bowling of Buse and he and Jim Redman ran through Yorkshire’s line-up with relative ease, the conditions suiting their swing bowling.

    The final day began with Yorkshire losing their tenth wicket for the addition of only one more run; Redman finished with three wickets and Buse’s figures were an excellent 22-10-33-6 – the main impetus behind Yorkshire being asked to follow on. With conditions now much different compared with the previous day, Yorkshire’s batsmen attacked the bowling. Hutton and Lowson shard an opening stand of 86 and the 200-mark was passed with only two wickets down. Each of the top four made at least 40 and this foundation allowed the middle order to continue to accelerate, Redman proving particularly expensive. Johnny Wardle was promoted to hit out; he struck a rapid 26 and stand-in skipper and wicket-keeper Don Brennan declared to give the visitors a target of 113 in 115 minutes. They began aggressively but Appleyard and Wardle found the wearing, and still drying, pitch to their liking and Somerset were quickly reduced to five for three. A stand of 26 then followed but the spinners again took a grip on proceedings and the west-country county lost their last seven wickets for 31. Yorkshire had won by 50 runs with almost half-an-hour to spare, Appleyard finishing with three wickets and Wardle having the very impressive figures of 14-6-23-6.

    The result of this match was the fourth time Yorkshire had won after having followed on and the experience has not since been repeated in the Championship although there was another instance eight years later. Somerset had a poor season, winning only five of its 28 games, losing no fewer than 15 and finished 14th (out of 17) in the final table. Yorkshire, however, concluded its season by being at the opposite end of the table; it won 12 matches and lost only three but had to be content in finishing runners-up to Warwickshire, 32 points adrift but 48 ahead of Lancashire who were third.

    Man of the Match

    With Bob Appleyard and Johnny Wardle each taking six wickets in this match, Eddie Leadbeater, with five, was certainly not overshadowed by his more illustrious bowling partners. Christened Edric, he was born in 1927 in Lockwood, Huddersfield and made his first team debut for Almondbury at the age of 13 becoming its professional four years later. He made his debut for both the Yorkshire first and second team at the age of 20 and took over 80 wickets in each of the 1950 and 1951 seasons. This led to him being chosen for the tour of India in 1951/52 during which he played in the only two Tests of his career.

    Despite being short in stature, Leadbeater flighted the ball well and utilised a top-spinner to add variety to his armour. In 1950 he created the record for a Yorkshire leg-spinner by taking eight for 83 against Worcestershire at Worcester and this record still stands. Unfortunately his form declined and despite being capped by England he was never awarded his county cap. By 1956 he was past his best and Yorkshire released him but he was taken on by Warwickshire and stayed in the midlands for two seasons.

    Although his county career was at an end Leadbeater continued to serve league cricket with distinction. By 1981 he had taken a total of 1,712 wickets in the Huddersfield League, having also spent a period of four years as professional with Pudsey St Lawrence; two seasons with Royton, Lancashire, followed in the same capacity but he eventually returned to Almondbury for whom he played until the age of 68 and also acted as a coach. A whole-hearted cricketer, he died in Huddersfield in 2011 at the age of 83.


    Results (home and away)

    Played 175, Yorkshire won 91, lost 26 and drew 58 At Headingley: Played 25, Yorkshire won 14, lost 5, drew 6.

    NOTE: Somerset’s first two wins at Headingley occurred in 1901 and 2001, i.e. exactly 100 years apart.

    Highest innings totals

    Yorkshire 589-5 Bath 2001 At Home 525-4dec Headingley 1953 Somerset 630 Headingley 1901 At Home 592 Taunton 1982

    NOTES: In the 1901 match Somerset were dismissed for only 87 in their first innings and this run-difference of 543 represents a record for all first-class matches involving Yorkshire. The total of 630 remains the highest second innings score against Yorkshire in all first-class cricket. Somerset won the match by 279 runs and this was Yorkshire’s only defeat in either of their two Championship-winning seasons of 1900 and 1901.

    Lowest innings totals

    Yorkshire 73 Headingley 1895 Away 83 Wells 1949 Somerset 35 Bath 1898 Away 43 Bradford 1930 At Headingley 64 1895

    Highest individual innings

    Yorkshire 213 H Sutcliffe Dewsbury 1924 Away 207 MJ Wood of Huddersfield Taunton 2003 Somerset 297 MJ Wood of Exeter Taunton 2005 Away 217* IVA Richards Harrogate 1975 At Headingley Yorkshire 209* IJ Harvey 2005 Somerset 173 LCH Palairet 1901

    Highest wicket partnerships

    Yorks 288 (1st) G Boycott (130*) & RG Lumb (159) Harrogate 1979 Som 346 (1st) LCH Palairet (146) & HT Hewett (201) Taunton 1892

    Best bowling in an innings

    Yorkshire 10-35 A Drake Weston-super-Mare 1914 At Home 9-22 R Peel Headingley 1895 Somerset 9-41 LC Braund Sheffield (BL) 1902 At Headingley 8-18 WC Hedley 1895 At Home 8-46 AE Bailey Taunton 1907

    Best bowling in a match

    Yorkshire 15- 50 (9-22 & 6-28) R Peel Headingley 1895 Away 15- 51 (5-16 & 10-35) A Drake Weston-super-Mare 1914 Somerset 15- 71 (6-30 & 9-41) LC Braund Sheffield (BL) 1902 At Headingley 14-70 (8-18 & 6-52) WC Hedley 1895 At Home 14-247 (7-133 & 7-114) EJ Tyler Taunton 1895

    NOTE: Peel’s analysis is Yorkshire’s third-best in all first-class cricket.

    Most dismissals in a match by a wicket-keeper

    9 HW Stephenson Somerset Taunton 1963
    9 RJ Turner Somerset Scarborough 1996
    7 D Hunter Yorkshire Taunton 1893
    7 JG Binks Yorkshire Harrogate 1963
    7 RJ Blakey Yorkshire Headingley 1998
    7 RJ Turner Somerset Headingley 1998
    7 RJ Turner Somerset Headingley 2001
    7 JC Buttler Somerset Taunton 2011

    Most catches in a match by a fielder

    6 JV Wilson Yorkshire Headingley 1957

    Two centuries and five wickets in an innings twice in the same match

    GH Hirst Yorkshire 111 & 117*; 6-70 & 5-45 Bath 1906 NOTE: This is the only occurrence of this feat in all first-class cricket.

    A century and five wickets in an innings in the same match

    W Rhodes Yorkshire 100; 4-49 & 5-28 Weston-super-Mare 1924 DB Close Yorkshire 128 & 34; 0-72 & 6-87 Bath 1959 DB Close Yorkshire 103; 5-36 & 0-4 Hull 1961