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— 15 October 2020

When Dawid Malan scored 219 against Derbyshire in a Bob Willis Trophy match during the 2020 season he became only the fifth Yorkshire player to turn his maiden first-class hundred for the county into a double century. Paul Dyson looks at how his feat compares with the other four players who were similarly successful. The photo of Major Booth is by courtesy of Mick Pope.

As may be expecting, the feat of scoring over 200 as a maiden century for Yorkshire is very rare but four of the five instances have occurred in the 21st century. This is shown in the following table


Name Score Opposition Venue Year First-Class match First-Class match for Yorkshire Age
MW Booth 210 Worcs Worcester 1911 24th 24th 24
DR Martyn 238 Gloucs Headingley 2003 164th 2nd 31
IJ Harvey 209* Somerset Headingley 2005 138th 9th 33
JM Bairstow 205 Notts Trent Bridge 2011 35th 32nd 21
Dawid Malan 219 Derby Headingley 2020 191st 3rd 32

In modern parlance Major Booth would be described as a ‘bowling all-rounder’ and, up until the match at Worcester in 1911, the lower order was his status with number seven as his highest position. However, he suddenly found himself at number five, batting above Roy Kilner and George Hirst, and made the most of his opportunity. Wisden commented on him being ‘very strong on the off-side…and hardly made a bad stroke during a stay of over four hours’. At the start of 1911 Booth was not yet an established member of the Yorkshire side. He had made his debut in 1908 but in 1910 still played in only half of the season. In that year he had scored 362 runs in 17 matches at an average of 18.10 and with a highest score of 54.

The Worcestershire game was the fifth match of the 1911 season and Booth had still not yet added to his one half-century which makes his 210 even more remarkable. He shared a sixth-wicket stand of 233 with Hirst, who made exactly 100, struck 23 fours and helped his team to an all-out total of 535 and an eventual ten-wicket win. He finished the season with over 1,000 runs. In 1912 he took over 100 wickets for the first time and in the following season repeated both feats to complete his first ‘double’. With an impressive total of 181 wickets he was chosen to tour South Africa in the succeeding winter and made his Test debut. With the cricketing world now at his feet the 1914-18 conflict intervened far more so than for most other promising cricketers in that 1916’s Battle of the Somme left him mortally wounded and there would be no more double-centuries from the bat of this fine, young man.

  • The four other instances on the above list are all within the living memories of most regular observers of Yorkshire cricket. Australian Damien Martyn played in just two first-class matches for the county as a temporary overseas player towards the end of the relevant season. Ian Harvey, also Australian, was better-known as a limited-overs specialist, and played for Yorkshire in two seasons from 2004 in all three formats also scoring both of the county’s first two centuries in T20 cricket.

    Those who have followed the career of Jonny Bairstow will easily recall how long it took him to reach the coveted three figures for the first time In his first 34 first-class matches he had scored no fewer than 17 half-centuries, passing the 80-mark four times, but eventually the moment came and he went on, like the others on the list, to turn his century into a double. His innings is the only instance in this study to be scored against first division opposition and he is also the youngest. Well done to him and all of the other batsmen featured in this study.

    It is remarkable that this feat occurred only once in Yorkshire’s first 119 seasons but has now being achived four times in 18 seasons. The next such instance may be not too far away.