• Welcome to The Everton Forum!

    You appear to be browsing The Everton Forum as a guest user. Did you know that if you sign up with an account, you get access to all kinds of additional priviledges, and are then able to join the discussions? You will also be able to tap into the full suite of tools and information that The Everton Forum has to offer.


    Already a member? Login Now!

Sport Cricket

liquidfootball2

TEF Member
The Golden Era of the Lancashire Leagues
Everyone in those days was pulling in different directions. League cricket was always threatening to siphon off those cricketers who wanted to play less than six days a week, or for more money. The great days extended into the 1950s, when Lancashire league clubs employed the very finest West Indian cricketers, from the 3 Ws and Garfield Sobers to Wes Hall and Sonny Ramadhin. Why go to Old Trafford, to get bored and rained on and watch a draw (and Lancashire have drawn more championship matches than any other county), when you could watch world class down the road, and a result on the day?

Lancashire lost the world’s best-ever bowler - you could still argue - to league cricket. Syd Barnes, who bowled quick leg-spin mixed with offbreaks, and took 189 Test wickets at 16 each, played two seasons for Lancashire at the start of the C20th, then spent the rest of his career in leagues, where he could earn more money for longer. His accountant surely approved when Barnes, aged 56, was still rated the best bowler in England.

Sydney Barnes at Lord's in 1913
Sydney Barnes at Lord's in 1913 CREDIT: PA
The impact of League cricket on Lancashire CCC was summed up by Hon Terence Prittie when he filled in as the Manchester Guardian’s cricket correspondent in 1946. “The financial lures of the Lancashire and Central Lancashire Leagues had hit the county very hard. Eddie Paynter had left them” (after averaging 59 for England) - along with another England batsman, Norman Oldfield. “Lancashire’s troubles did not end there. Farrimond, their international wicketkeeper, and Nutter, who should have been an England allrounder of the near future, migrated to the Leagues too.” Allrounders would fare especially well in league cricket, because a collection would be made for anyone who scored 50 or took five wickets. Given crowds of two or three thousand, that was a lot of threepenny bits to supplement their salary.

Lancashire’s response to their crisis in 1946? Appoint an amateur captain who had never played before, of course. John Fallows, as captain and specialist batsman in 1946, averaged 8.14, then retired.

The best overseas signing of them all?
Still, there was enough brass to enable Lancashire to become the first county to win a hat-trick of titles in two formats, by bringing in overseas players to make the difference. The first was Ted Macdonald, who spearheaded Lancashire’s hat-trick of championship wins from 1926 to 1928. He was paid £500 a year, then the biggest salary in cricket, more than Sir Jack Hobbs at Surrey, and almost as much as WG Grace used to rake in as an amateur.

Jimmy Anderson, Brian Statham, and Macdonald, who was born in Tasmania: Lancashire has been home to three of the finest pace bowlers. Extreme flexibility is something they had in common: so athletic that they could warm up with a fag and a pint while others slaved in the nets, and so fit they were all at their best in their 30s not 20s. Of the three, Anderson swung it the most, while Statham and Macdonald tended to seam the ball into righthanders. Anderson and Statham never bowled a bad ball and were remorselessly accurate; but don’t think Macdonald was the least of them just because he played so long ago.

Brian Statham
Brian Statham has an end named after him at Old Trafford CREDIT: PA
We have the word of Sir Neville Cardus that Macdonald, for the first ball of Kent’s second innings against Lancashire at Old Trafford in 1928, bowled a short ball that flew over the batsman and keeper, or “crashed halfway along the pitch and then hurled itself high over the heads of the batsman and Duckworth. Whence does Macdonald draw his terrible strength and velocity? His run to the wicket is so easy, so silent.” Anybody who can run in, without warming up, and bounce his first ball over batsman and keeper is sharp.

Mike Procter, Bruce Dooland, Clive Lloyd, Ken McEwan, Viv Richards, Simon Harmer? Economists can probably calculate who was the most valuable - the most rewarding - of all overseas players; but it could well be Macdonald, as he won the championship - the only format going - four times for Lancashire in six and a half seasons, and took 1053 wickets at 20 runs each when Old Trafford was a belter.

Having toured England with Australia in 1921, and terrified English batsmen, Macdonald had signed for Nelson for £500 a year plus bonuses. In 1925 Lancashire lured him for the same salary, and a house, and the promise of a benefit after only five years (£1947 in 1929): he needed the money, to pay his gambling debts in horse-racing. As a league pro, Macdonald learned to bowl offcutters as well as flat out, and delivered well over 1000 overs per year for Lancashire.

So Lancashire were the champion county when they harnessed Macdonald’s pace to their strong, but very defensive, batting line-up. For truth be told, or at least if Cardus is to be believed, never did any county bat so dourly. Other critics agreed: “There was a time in the ‘twenties when the cricket they played set a deplorable standard other counties were all too willing to copy,” Carew wrote, as a cricket correspondent for The Times. “Time and again it seemed that Lancashire, with Hallows and Watson to start them off, went into the field with the negative intention of not losing the match” - in the Roses match above all. Eight consecutive championship matches between Yorkshire and Lancashire in four years in the late 1920s were drawn; over half of all Roses matches in all.

“Day after day columns of indignation, coloured with all of “Cricketer’s” charm and dramatic indignation, spilled themselves over the Manchester Guardian. Lancashire was denounced with the fire and wit of Disraeli,” Carew wrote of Cardus. But the wittiest, most incisive criticism which Cardus levelled at Lancashire’s batsmen came in his Autobiography, that flawless work of prose, which schoolchildren in India would be given for their English exams. You recall: “Illustrate the author’s use of adjectives/adverbs in this passage.”

Cardus was married during the 1921 cricket season during one of Lancashire’s home matches. “I went as usual to Old Trafford, stayed for a while and saw Hallows and Makepeace come forth to bat. As usual they opened with care. Then I had to leave, had to take a taxi to Manchester, there to be joined in wedlock at a registry office. Then I - that is, we - returned to Old Trafford. While I had been away from the match and had committed the most responsible and irrevocable act in mortal man’s life, Lancashire had increased their total by exactly seventeen - Makepeace 5, Hallows 11, and one leg-bye.”

Yet the dullest cricket inspired the most luminous of all cricket prose. “In a representative Lancashire and Yorkshire match of 1924-1934, runs were severely discountenanced,” Cardus wrote. “No fours before lunch, on principle, was the unannounced policy; and as few as possible after. But fours or no fours, runs or no runs, the games touched greatness because of the North of England character that was exposed in every action, every movement, all day.”

So far away in terms of time, yet so near. The Roses match in the championship has, for many recent years, been played behind virtually closed doors, but the T20 Roses match packs in a full house, just like a century ago. The consumption of alcohol now might be slightly greater but singing used to be a feature of cricket at Old Trafford in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, not least when it was raining: spectators went there for a day out and kept their spirits up.

General view of Old Trafford during the NatWest T20 Blast match against Lancashire Lightning and Yorkshire Vikings at Old Trafford on July 14, 2017 in Manchester, England
The Roses T20 match has become one of the biggest events in the English domestic cricketing calendar CREDIT: Getty Images
The T20 Roses Match of 2018 at Old Trafford, in front of a capacity crowd, was as entertaining as any cricket match of such a length could be. Rain reduced it to 14 overs a side. Lancashire scored 176 for two, Liam Livingstone hitting 79 off 37 balls (why did England’s selectors encourage him to bowl white-ball offspin when he could have been an England Test number six bowling legspin?). Yorkshire replied with 175 for four, losing by one run. Had Cardus nipped out to get married during that game, he would have missed more than 17 runs, because sometimes that was scored off one over.

Limited-overs success came in the 1970s
It was the signing of Clive Lloyd of West Indies, and Farokh Engineer of India, that sparked the first hat-trick of titles in a limited-overs format: the Gillette Cups of 1970-72, under the captaincy of Jack Bond. Lancashire had already come close, by winning the first two Sunday Leagues in 1969 and 1970.

Lloyd, or “Hubert”, was an electrifying lefthanded batsman, an electrifying fielder before his knees went, and was taken to Lancastrian hearts (attitudes had changed since the 1930s when the West Indian Learie Constantine was rejected as Macdonald’s successor). Sir Clive was knighted in the New Year honours list of 2020.

Clive Lloyd bats for Lancashire in a John Player League Sunday match against Sussex at Hove
Clive Lloyd bats for Lancashire in a John Player League Sunday match against Sussex at Hove CREDIT: Getty Images
Engineer was ahead of his time in being a wicketkeeper who could not simply bat but open the batting and hit. He brought flash and panache to a defensive era in Indian as well as Lancastrian cricket. He was part of the last flowering of Parsi cricket in the early 1960s, when their tiny community supplied four regular members of the Indian Test team.

“The start of the Sunday League offered a challenge that was right up our street,” wrote the other Lloyd, David, who opened the batting with Engineer. “Most of us had come through the leagues and were accustomed to playing overs cricket in a single afternoon. While certain other counties floundered in the environment, or failed to identify its potential, we took to it immediately.” Lancasheer la, la, la. Lancasheer la, la, la!

The only drawback was that Lancashire specialised in the limited-overs formats; they took their eye off the red ball. They went on to win eight one-day trophies in the 1990s; but the championship - last won outright in 1934, shared in 1950 - was as elusive as ever. It was 2011, when Old Trafford was closed for renovation, and Lancashire played their home games at Liverpool and other out-grounds with result pitches, that all the petals of the red rose began to flower. When they won the T20 trophy in 2015, Lancashire had the full set.

The Red Rose finally in flower
The first known person of note in English cricket to die of coronavirus was David Hodgkiss, Lancashire’s chairman. He had attended the last big sporting event before the lock-down, the races at Cheltenham, where he is thought to have caught it. Hodgkiss was 71. “He was a top bloke and the effect of his demise will be felt for a long time to come,” says Allott.

Or maybe, Hodgkiss’s legacy is already visible. “He was a wonderful man, who used to open the batting for Cockermouth,” says Daniel Gidney. “Whether you were a pot-washer in the catering department or an opening batsman in the first team, he had the same smile for everyone.”

Players seldom have a good and truthful word for administrators, but Hodgkiss inspired these two tributes from players past and present. “I knew him extremely well,” Engineer said. “He was the best and most popular chairman LCCC ever had.” And Matt Parkinson, the legspinner whom England are blooding, and who received his Lancashire cap from Hodgkiss, tweeted: A great man who always had time for everyone and loved the Will remember his capping speech for a long time .”

This is a world away from Lancashire’s hierarchical system which held them back for so long. Hodgkiss deserves to be remembered as the man who chaired the club - no more committees, just a small board of great and good - as they finally became the northern power-house which their resources had equipped them to become many years before.

Lancashire have long had a friendly relationship with Cheshire and they have extended it to Cumbria too. The tension with all their many leagues has disappeared, along with the Central Lancashire league itself: David Lloyd, when he joined Lancashire, was no longer permitted to play for his home club of Accrington! Nowadays Old Trafford hosts a two-day fixture between Lancashire second XI and a team of the best league players. This forms part of a pyramid leading to the top, as in every Australian state, whereas the shape of cricket in Lancashire used to be that of a blancmange.

“We are aiming to get cricket into 1000 state schools in the north-west for boys and girls,” says Gidney. Lancashire already produce 10% of all county cricketers: in other words, 10% of current players were either born in Lancashire or came through pathways within the county. Yes, this is fulfilment. The Red Rose is finally in full flower
 

liquidfootball2

TEF Member
Excellent article that
Yes knew a lot of it but the way the professionals were treated as 'recently' as the early 1960's an eye-opener. Knew it was always class-ridden with amateur captains common to all counties - picked because of status rather than any playing ability, but different days - I think amateur status went in the 1960's - certainly the annual Gentlemen vs Players match at Lord's finished.

They even used to print the professional's (the players) initials after his surname on the scorecard with the gentlemen having theirs preceding their surnames.

One test match announcer (apparently in the late 50's) announced a mistake in printing of the match scorecards (which were very popular with the crowd at the time - sort of like match day programs but the spectators could 'score' the match - still going today.)

"For F.S. Trueman read Trueman F.S."
 

bluerinse

Moderator

55 players have been called into training for England ahead of the international summer.

They'll announce the breakdown of who is in what provisional squad shortly - they're on about maybe playing ODIs/T20s and Tests the same days, hence so many call ups.

There are still some surprising omissions mind; Hales, Northeast and Porter to name 3.

Meanwhile no domestic cricket until 1 August.

Sounds like they're getting ever more hopeful of getting something of a mini county season in tho.
 
Last edited:

dixies60

TEF Member
Still no news on the Pakistan Test. I really want to go, but it's not happening is it?
I have a ticket for the Pakistan test. First time I have a ticket for a test match and its behind closed doors.

OK I went to the ashes at the oval in 2001 but it was the last day of the last test with the series over and I got in for free so don't really count that
 

bluerinse

Moderator
I have a ticket for the Pakistan test. First time I have a ticket for a test match and its behind closed doors.

OK I went to the ashes at the oval in 2001 but it was the last day of the last test with the series over and I got in for free so don't really count that
Always next year mate, don't let this put you off. Cracking day out so long as the weather behaves itself
 

Fozastuta

Banned
Banned
I have a ticket for the Pakistan test. First time I have a ticket for a test match and its behind closed doors.

OK I went to the ashes at the oval in 2001 but it was the last day of the last test with the series over and I got in for free so don't really count that

Its the best sporting day out for me, even lads who come along who aren't big cricket fans, always love the day out. That's why i'm gutted its not going ahead. I don't care if I ever see a live football match again, but Cricket and the NFL being cancelled in London has been gutting. I managed to get to Wales v Italy during 6 Nations in February before the country went to shit.
 

Mr Kirk

Forum food fraud
I was going to go to lords this summer. Oh well.
 

liquidfootball2

TEF Member
Geoffrey Boycott has had to give up on commentary after having relatively recent major heart bypass surgery, aged 79, and no chance of working in any virus secure environment that would be safe for him.

His contract with TMS finished at the end of last summer, but another familiar voice won't be heard live as a regular commentator this summer.

Tbh I will miss him as although you could always rely on him giving largely predictable but forthright views, he wasn't one to sit on the fence offering bland non-committal waffle that never says anything significant about anyone, he was always someone you could happily agree or heartily disagree with. Someone who didn't hold back.

Missing the tests this year, the nearest I've got to it is playing with the family in the garden, bowling underarm legspinners. Hit the lawnmower without bouncing and you're out caught.
 
Last edited:

liquidfootball2

TEF Member
Michael di Venuto has been released as coach of Surrey with Vikram Solanki taking over. Solanki is hoping his presence as a British Asian coach will help more Asians to breakthrough into the first class game. It's a remarkably damning statistic, and a shameful indictment of any efforts made, that so few have done so, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali the two England players the most notable.

Di Venuto who has coached Surrey since 2016, has seen a steady progression with incremental rises almost every year from 5th in 2016, 3rd in 2017 and winning the championship by a mammoth 46 points in 2018. It was perhaps quite remarkable that the amount of England call ups hadn't affected their form before 2019, but as they increased almost exponentially in both a World Cup and Ashes summer, Surrey's loss was absolutely huge and it told last season finishing 7th.

I suppose in that the purpose of county cricket is to get your players prepared to play for England you could say 2019 was the best year of all for Surrey, as apart from their skipper Rory Burns, they have now a number of players in and around the England squads.

These are (Rory Burns), Jason Roy, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Ollie Pope, (Ben Foakes not involved in 2019), Ollie Pope (called up after the ashes for South Africa) and Liam Plunkett (2019 World Cup) - their overseas star Aaron Finch also played for Australia in 2019. In addition they have Amar Virdi perhaps on the verge of a breakthrough into the England setup.

All in all an impressive record from the Aussie coach who has been released from his contract to take up other opportunities. His contract expires in March 2021 but the pandemic pretty much meant he couldn't continue. He is currently in Tasmania with his family, with the season suspended.

Vikram has a tough act to follow with so many now away with England it may be impossible to get near Di Venuto's achievements.

He's been in the studio as a pundit with sky a few times and seems a thoroughly nice bloke, very courteous, friendly and you would think well thought of at Surrey. My impression was he was a bit bland, perhaps loathe to criticise or make too much of an impression on me as a viewer. Maybe that's all irrelevant and I hope for his sake he can continue di Venuto's good work.
 
Last edited:

dixies60

TEF Member
Had an email from Lancashire to say the Pakistan test is now behind closed doors and I can get a refund or transfer it to England vs India next year

I Will transfer it something to look forward to.
 

liquidfootball2

TEF Member
Club cricket given the go-ahead to return from next weekend (11th July)

- Not exactly sure of the details locally -in the Liverpool Competition, Southport and District or the various Lancashire (and Cheshire) leagues, maybe shortened season or friendlies and just knockout cups.
 

liquidfootball2

TEF Member
13 man test squad very much as expected. Dom Bess preferred as the spinner. Bairstow and Sam Curran miss out. Joe Root absent on leave for this one and Ben Stokes captains.

Stokes (c), Anderson, Archer, Bess, Broad, Burns, Butter, Crawley, Denly, Pope, Sibley, Woakes, Wood

The obvious one (possibly just ignoring everything about the last series in South Africa) is to maybe just leave out Wood and Woakes but I'm not so sure that's what will happen at all.

Mark Wood's sparkling form with the ball in South Africa combined with some quite exceptional late hitting ability made him one of the real standout stars in South Africa and he may be preferred to bring more balance to the side as well as real pace.

Old Trafford though is possibly the quickest wicket for both Archer and Wood to play. Headingley traditionally favours seam, but going with an all seam attack can't be discounted.

To be axed from the side after a tour when you topped the bowling averages with a ridiculous first class tour average of 13.58 and was third in the batting averages at around 47.50 would be massively harsh on Wood.

At Southampton not Headingley which is no longer a venue (just two grounds Southampton and Manchester)
 
Last edited:

bluerinse

Moderator
It's a tricky 11 to choose even with it narrowed down to 13.

Burns, Sibley, Denly are inked in to be 3 of the top 4 which leaves the question of who makes up the top 4.

They could go for Stokes at 4 or they could go for Crawley at 3 and Denly at 4.

If they pick Crawley, Stokes probably bats 5 with Pope at 6 and Buttler at 7 with 3 seamers and the spinner.

If Stokes bats 4, Pope and Buttler both move up 1 with Woakes at 7.

Then they can play the 2 legends Anderson and Broad plus the out and out pace, of Wood or Archer as well as the spinner, Bess.

If they play 7 proper batsmen with Stokes at 5, it'll be Woakes who drops out, so Stokes will have to be the 4th seamer.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 2, Guests: 2)

Top