We’ve met before | Yorkshire


As the County face up to life back in the top-tier of domestic County Cricket, we look back at some memorable matches from the past against opposition we are scheduled to meet in the forthcoming campaign.

In this feature, two memorable games with Yorkshire fall under the spotlight.

Yorkshire v Essex at Huddersfield on 31 July, 1 August 1935.

Yorkshire 31 (HD Read 6-11, MS Nichols 4-17) and 99 (MS Nichols 7-37, HD Read 3-51),  Essex 334 (MS Nichols 146, BH Belle 63).

Essex won by an innings and 204 runs.

Star-studded Yorkshire, with eight present or future England players in their side, had lost only one match whilst retaining their title in 1935 winning 19 matches and drawing 10 of their 30 games. Their blemish came at Huddersfield against Essex where play lasted only until 1.00 p.m. on the second day. The hosts were completely undone by the marvellous bowling of Stan Nichols and ‘Hopper’ Read who ran amok to dismiss the opposition for 31 runs in an hour with five batsmen failing to score. At one stage, the home side were 9 for 6 but Arthur Wood scored 13, the only batsman to reach double figures in an innings that spanned just 12 overs and 4 balls.

Nichols then took centre-stage with the bat as he scored 146 which was to prove more than the two combined totals achieved by the home side before he returned to bowling exploits once again in company with Read.

Nichols claimed the wicket of 18 year-old Len Hutton who bagged a “pair” and the bowler concluded the match with figures of 11-54 while Read recorded 9-62 . Bowled out for 99 second time around, Yorkshire were beaten by an innings and 204 runs.

Essex player Peter Smith recounted that he fielded the ball just once in the match and that was when he caught Hedley Verity to end the game.

Wisden described Nichols performance as “the sensation of the season,” while Essex captain Charles Bray said: “He was a magnificent bowler who had the misfortune to be at his best in an era of fast bowlers in this country. Consequently he did not receive as many representative honours as he would have done had he come to the fore ten years later.”

Yorkshire v Essex at Scarborough on 12,13,14,15 September 2001

Essex 250 (GR Napier 42, JS Foster 41, RS Clinton 40, MJ Hoggard 6-51) and 172-8 dec (RC Irani 51*, ML Pettini 41), Yorkshire 104-5 dec (D Byas 41*) and 267 (MP Vaughan 113, AMcGrath 70, AP Grayson 5-20).

Essex won by 51 runs.

This match at North Marine Road proved the last time that Essex recorded a win at the venue but they started the match as outsiders against a side that had won Division One of the County Championship.

The visitors, playing their final four-day match of the season, included three debutants in their starting line-up. Joining 18 year-olds Mark Pettini and Zoheb Sharif was Joe Grant, the Jamaican-born paceman had opened the bowling for his native island in the mid-90’s with the legendary Courtney Walsh but had come over to England later in that decade. Some impressive performances in league cricket in the north and then, when playing Minor Counties cricket for Cambridgeshire, persuaded Essex to offer him a contract after casting their eye over him at winter nets. At that time, the bowler was also combining his time getting fit with a job at Tesco. Having finally earned his call-up for the County, he was praised by captain Ronnie Irani who enthused: “He deserves to succeed; he’s been so dedicated. He might be the wrong side of 30 but he’s been whipping in some lively deliveries in the nets and he’ll do well for us. We’ll bowl him in short bursts and he could be a surprise package.”

Essex won the toss for only the fourth time in the season and decided to bat on a cool and damp morning. Following a one minute silence in respect of the appalling events in New York the previous day, Essex reached 99 for 3 and at lunch, the White Rose county were presented with the champions gold Trophy during an extended lunch interval. However, rain allowed the celebrations to continue and there was no further play for the next five sessions. Prior to play resuming on Day Three, there was a further impeccably observed silence of three minutes in respect of the New York atrocities. When Essex resumed their innings, they eventually advanced to 250 all out before being bowled out. After facing 33.3 overs and avoiding the follow-on, Yorkshire skipper David Byas then made a sporting declaration 146 in arrears. A half-century from Irani and a pleasing 41 from Pettini, set up a good old-fashioned last day run chase with the champions – who were seeking their tenth win of the campaign in the competition –  set a target of 319 from 65 overs. What ensured was pure theatre.

Essex struck quickly to gain the initiative as the opening pair were dismissed without a run on the board. But steadily, the balance swung back firmly to the hosts. By mid-afternoon, Michael Vaughan and Anthony McGrath were collecting runs in scintillating fashion posting 204 in 102 minutes to take their side within 115 runs of victory. However Paul Grayson, playing against his former county, then took centre-stage. First he curbed the flow of runs and then accounted for McGrath (caught at long-on  by  Pettini) and Vaughan (beaten in flight) in successive overs. Still, at tea, Yorkshire required only a further 107 runs from 35 overs. However in little more than an hour, the match was over. Grayson bagged three more wickets before Grant polished off the tail taking three wickets in ten deliveries to give Essex victory by 51 runs. Half of the home side had been banished away in little more than three overs for just nine runs, not the finale the Yorkshire fans expected form their title winners. Grayson’s final analysis of 10-2-20-5 included wicket to wicket figures of 5 for 16 in 42 balls.