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First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017 at 3:52 AM

Alex  (Premier Login AlexRoberts)

Well I feel old today (yesterday, by the time you read this), given that it was 55 years ago today (June 27, 1962) that as a 10-year old I attended my first County Championship match: the first day of the Yorkshire vs Hampshire match at the old Bradford Park Avenue. It was a sunny, blustery afternoon and Yorkshire won the toss but did not bat well and were all out by tea for 151 (JV Wilson, 51). However, the Tykes went on win the match by five runs when Hants collapsed from 134-5 to 157 all out on the last day, with Illingworth taking 5-34.

I still own the 1962 "Playfair Cricket Annual" I bought at the bookstall during the tea interval; but regret to this day that I didn't buy a scorecard. It is something I would have cherished. (Although I recently bought a copy of the 1963 Wisden, which of course chronicles all the matches from the 1962 season.)

And who would have known that more than half a century later I'd be moderating Yorkshire cricket's oldest and busiest discussion group via something called the "Internet?"

PS: We'd be interested in hearing about your first cricket match memories!

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(Login rognumber)

Re: First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017, 5:02 AM 

Hi Alex,

read this with interest as we are virtually the same age ! However, alas, I can't remember my first match which was sometime in the sixties but do remember going down to Bramall Lane in Sheffield with my brother to see several matches. I also have my first Playfair from the sixties but i didn't get it at the ground but was given it when my barber saw me perusing a copy while i was waiting for a haircut ( think it was one of the 'books' left by a customer and the barber said it was ok to take ) - of course that was the beginning of a lifelong 'habit' and since then I have accumulated tens of the annual !

This forum is one I always go to continually to catch the latest cricket news and ( Yorkshire) opinions so a BIG THANKS Alex for doing the moderating and long may it last !


(Login ThirdUmpire)

Re: First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017, 7:42 AM 

First match?

Scarborough Festival 1965 between TN Pearces XI and the touring South Africans.


Not a Yorkshireman in sight sadly even if the match was played at the best ground in the world. But the great Graham Pollock batted and the best fielder I ever saw managed to have to retire hurt and ironically be run out in the second innings. If you thought Jonty Rhodes set the standard for fielding at cover point then Colin Bland was his predecessor who probably taught Jonny everything he knows.

A few too many from Middlesex in TN Pearces XI for me and I assume we were busy winning a game elsewhere. Having checked it appears as though we were destroying Surrey in the Gillette Cup final at Lords with some dashing young opener called Boycott smoting the ball to all parts of Lords whilst racking up 146. But the idea of following the score from another game 200 miles away in pre internet and mobile phone free days means we were probably oblivious to events as we sat and watched the South Africans enjoy their trip to the seaside.

I don't remember most of their team now I look again at the scorecard. That may be because they rested some players from their first team while the others soaked up what the Scarborough festival has to offer. I am told Athol Rowan watched some of the game from the legendary Carlsberg Lager Tent behind the banked seats and his brother Eric accompanied him.

I am also informed that they tried to ply me with lager but my parents managed to stop them just in time. Well I was only four months old and had been placed behind the serving hatch to be out of the way whilst my parents who met at the Festival several years earlier enjoyed catching up with the festival regulars. They will have knowN the barman very well I am sure.

So my first game of first class cricket but I don't recall a ball that was bowled. Thanks to cricinfo and passing down cricketing stories through the generations I feel like I saw it all...

However, the thought of watching Trevor Bailey bat in a festival match worries me.

(Login marskeman)

Re: First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017, 10:51 AM 

19th and 20th may 1965. my first yorkshire match. team close captain, boycott, hampshire, padgett, sharpe, illingworth,r hutton, binks, trueman, wilson,nicholson. arguably the greatest county side ever. playing hampshire at acklam park, middlesbrough. yorkshire bowled out for 23 in 20.4 overs by butch white (6-10). if there had been such a thing as internet forums, would disgruntled of inverness, living in nova scotia have been calling for the break up of the team and start over?.

(Login StuartRA)
Assistant Moderator

Re: First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017, 10:59 AM 

I wish my memory was as good as that or I had purchased score-cards or something from my first match. Unfortunately my memory has gone and I have kept nothing from my early games, so have not got a clue as to my first match, but probably 50 plus years ago, based on when I first started driving my motor-bike, which enabled me to get to them.

(Login Bear4)

Re: First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017, 11:15 AM 

1957 (I think) at Acklam Park against (maybe) Warwickshire.

Billy Sutcliffe was captain, Willie Watson and Fred were my heroes, and the whole Wardle hoo-ha was about to kick off.

(Login NewBrian)

Re: First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017, 11:23 AM 

Watched several Cavaliers games in the 60, including one featuring the great Sobers, in Loughborough where we lived. But the first major match I went to was this one


and remember Davison's knock as well as his tremendous throws from the boundary. McCosker's knock has faded a bit for some reason.
Great game, lovely weather.

(Login Alibor2)

Re: First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017, 11:47 AM 

The first top level matches which I went to watch were at Scarborough some seventy years ago, just after WW2 and I remember watching Leary Constantine, Donald Bradman, Graham Pollock and many other great players, including Yorkshire's Bill Bowes, Len Hutton, Maurice Leyland etc. The Festival was always a great spectacle and good fun - we stayed at the Roker Hotel on Queens Drive in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
You mention Brian, the wonderful Gary Sobers. Earlier this year, I had the privilege of sitting just in front of Sir Garfield at the Kensington Oval in Barbados and had a long chat with him about Scarborough Festival years, Lancashire League etc. Also sitting with us were Sir Wesley Hall and other great West Indian players of yesteryear. They are all true gentlemen and very entertaining!

This message has been edited by Alibor2 on Jun 28, 2017 11:59 AM

(Login Dewsburian)

Re: First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017, 11:57 AM 

I was reliably told by both parents that my very first first-class match was Yorkshire v Australians at Bramall Lane in 1953. Unfortunately, I have no recollection of it, as I didn't emerge from the womb until mid-September. However, 30-odd years later (as I'm sure I've related here before), I was batting with a fellow Yorkshireman in Birmingham and, in the middle of a long (and probably slow) partnership, we discovered that we'd both been at that same match, though he was a schoolboy of eleven at the time.
I was more focused on rugby league than cricket as a young boy and I remember my first match very clearly: Dewsbury lost 6-0 to Featherstone Rovers and Feth had a player with the extraordinary name of Greatorex, which I assumed came from Azerbaijan or somewhere similarly exotic, but is apparently from Derbyshire. Having said that, most of my early cricket was at Mirfield CC, where the local heroes were the opening pair of Colin Peacock and Barry Wood (I wonder what happened to him), and one of my earliest memories of Yorkshire is of a Colts match against Lincolnshire, also at Mirfield. The son of one of the directors of the firm my father worked for was playing for Lincolnshire, but my only clear memory is of watching Kippax and Gilhouley bowl in tandem for what seemed like a very long - and astonishingly sunny - time. At Mirfield games, I used to run (or cycle) round to the scoreboard when the score was approaching the hundred - or multiples thereof - as the wind-up part of the scorebox only did tens and units and they'd let me put the "tins" up for the hundreds.
We went to a number of county matches en famille when I was a young boy, but my two clearest memories of them are of a belligerent innings by Vic Wilson, who smiled at us boys sitting on the grass as he came back to the pavilion, and of watching a long stand involving Doug Padgett, in which it simply amazed me that anyone could actually hit all the balls he chose to play at (if only I'd learnt how to do that). Most of the cricket I played at that time was of the swing-and-a-miss variety. Vic Wilson was my first batting hero, though Freddie Trueman was definitely the Yorkshire cricket idol of the day and probably influenced my decision to become an unsuccessful fast bowler for Ravensthorpe C of E juniors (there was one game where I was taken off after the first over). It probably wasn't many years after that that my father took me to Fartown to see Len Hutton bat in a charity match. He also took me to Huddersfield Town once to see one of Stanley Matthews's last games, but both experiences probably came a bit too early for me to learn anything from them.

Steve C
(Login stevecowton)
Assistant Moderator

Re: First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017, 11:59 AM 

One of the benefits of a rain interruption at the cricket...

I cant honestly remember my first game.
I'm envious of those of you that can.

(Login WibseySimon55)

Re: First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017, 12:17 PM 

Third Umpire, I was at that TN Pearce's XI v S Africa match in Scarborough, as a 10-year old while you were in your pram.

It wasn't my first game (that was at Park Avenue a couple of years earlier, taken by my grandad). I may have been left to watch some of the Scarborough match on my own, neither of my parents being interested in cricket, and in those days it being thought perfectly suitable to leave a 10-year old to fend for himself for a while, certainly at a reputable place like a cricket match.

Bland was the great pull -- well-known as the best fielder in the world. It may be a 'fake memory' but I do seem to have clear recall of him throwing in square from the boundary and hitting the wickets direct--thrilling everybody, because that was essentially what we had come for!

Bacher, Pollock, Bland and van der Merwe were first choice test players -- true, I don't recognise or remember any of their bowlers.

Parfitt, Knight and Murray were three of my favourite players (remember how small boys always have some favourites, for completely indefinable reasons?) so I was very pleased to see them in the 'England' team. Bill Rumsey, who seemed very round for a fast bowler, delighted me in this match.

I never did know who the hell T.N.Pearce was, or why there should be a semi-England team called after him, or indeed why he chose to be known by his initials. It seemed to be the sort of thing that went with southern, Establishment cricket, like the MCC, and Ted Dexter, whom i was learning to hate long before he stood for Parliament (sorry, no politics).

Obviously I must have communicated to my parents how much I enjoyed this match, because the next time a holiday was booked in Scarborough, it was timed to coincide with the festival. Maybe they were just pleased to be rid of me for a day or so happy.gif .

(Login marskeman)

Re: First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017, 12:25 PM 

i must admit that while i remember my first game and the resultant shock of 23 all out. i had to use the stats section of the forum to find the details.

(Login ThirdUmpire)

Re: First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017, 12:35 PM 

Yes I think TN Pearce was one of the establishment who had a team named after him. Others include RHV Robins and more recently DB Close and Michael Parkinson at Scarborough.

They used to play a one day bash between four counties called the Fenner Trophy with Harrogate hosting the Tilcon in same way.


From Essex apparently which explains the plethora of players from Essex Kent and Middlesex with the only consolation being Surrey were unavailable due to being otherwise engaged getting a good hiding at Lords from Yorkshire. Sadly this week is not seeing a repeat....

Tyke 1950
(Login Tyke1950)

Re: First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017, 1:00 PM 

My very earliest memory of County Cricket is a time when my mum took me to a match in Bradford around 1956. All I recall is Brian Close scoring lots of runs. We sat on a tartan blanket in front of the green scoreboard and one of his fours bounced into our picnic box.

My first more precise recollection is of the Headingley Test Match of 1957 against the West Indies. I went with my grandad and we queued for ages. The ground was absolutely packed. People were even sitting on the boundary walls of the Western Terrace. I was sat on grass underneath trees round about where the old Winter Sheds used to stand. I have no recollection of the cricket. It was hot; I was seven and ice cream was of the greatest concern.

I first watched Yorkshire regularly at Bradford in the very early sixties when my mum used to trust me to catch the City Circle with friends. I always looked out for Brian Close's bald head to check if we were fielding. I always wanted us to bowl because I idolised Fred Trueman.
My favourite fielder was Ken Taylor in the covers. Vic Wilson was always recognisable because he seemed to wear a bigger cap with a longer peak than anyone else.
When batting, I always wanted Brian Stott to do well. He seemed so dashing. I remember him once hitting the clock at the Football Stand end.

Another world.

(Login Dewsburian)

Re: First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017, 1:06 PM 

The first time I saw Colin Bland - and I can't remember where, though it was probably Headingley - I'm pretty sure he came out at one of the intervals and gave a fielding demonstration.

Saltburn senior
(Login Saltburnsenior)

First match memories

June 28 2017, 2:31 PM 

Before T.N.Pearce's XI at the Scarborough Festival, the side to play against the touring team was H.D.G. Leveson- Gower's XI. The first game I attended was between that side and the West Indies in 1950 although sadly I recall very little about the cricket that day.
My elder brother was keen to go with his mates but he was allowed to do so only if he took me along also. As you might imagine, at 5 years old and being almost 10 years younger than them I was about as welcome as a fart in a lift but he agreed and we caught the (steam) train from Loftus to Scarborough in those pre-Beeching days.
The distance was only 35 miles but the journey took almost 2 hours as the train stopped at about 12 stations on the coastal route. The journey there and back was the highlight of the day for me but the attraction of Scarborough cricket ground was firmly established on that first visit and it still remains my favourite ground.

(Login WhiteShamrock)

40 years ago next week!

June 28 2017, 2:34 PM 

It was early July 1977 and I had just finished the Irish equivalent of the A levels.

With another cricket-loving friend I caught the night ferry from Dublin to Holyhead. We slept (fitfully) on the overnight train from Holyhead to Leeds, changing at Crewe at 03.00 in the morning! Breakfast in Leeds and thence to Scarborough. From the station, we followed the crowd (yes, there was a crowd!) to North Marine Road arriving to discover that Sir Geoffrey had won the toss and invited the Aussies to bat.

By lunch the ground was full and by early afternoon, the Aussies were 63 for 7! I was in heaven!


Chris Old, Rocker and Stevenson bowling their hearts out, and a young Arnie coming on as third change!

The very hard chance that Fergie dropped early on off Greg Chapell at square leg - it would have been a miracle catch.

Max Walker getting Boycott for a duck in the first over late that evening and embarking on a ecstatic lap of honour of the entire ground, pursued by all of his teamamtes! (He took 5/29 as we were bowled out for 75).

Boycott's century in the second innings - and the lazy elegance of both Jim Love and Kevin Sharpe.

Having to share a double bed with my schoolmate in a Scarborough B&B - the only accommodation that we could get for the three nights!

Going to the wrestling in The Grand Hotel and watching the many old ladies (who made up the majority of the sparse audience) abusing the 'fighters'!

In the end, the game petered out to a tame draw, but that first morning was electric!


This message has been edited by WhiteShamrock on Jun 28, 2017 2:34 PM

(Login Dewsburian)

Re: First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017, 3:29 PM 

Thanks to Alex for initiating this thread. I hope others have also found it more than just a sentimental walk down Memory Lane.
In particular, mention of the 1957 West Indies tour is a reminder that the controversy over wicket-keepers being selected only for their batting goes back at least 60 years, when Rohan Kanhai kept for WI in all the tests, despite being only the third-best gloveman on the tour (admittedly, something I'm aware of only because of the many Kanhai fans I've played cricket with - and sat among at Edgbaston - over the years).
It's also useful to be reminded of how patchy one's memory can be. I remember getting to Leeds by the no. 1 bus, which took me from my house to Dewsbury bus station and then on to the railway station in Leeds (you had to get off and on again in the bus station, as it was technically two different services!). On the other hand, I'm not at all sure how I got from City Square to the Headingley ground. Were there really special buses for county as well as test matches or have I dreamt that?

(Login ThirdUmpire)

Re: First Match Memories | It was 55 years ago today!

June 28 2017, 4:10 PM 

Agreed. We used to do this to pass away the winter days without cricket but today it seems suitable too for some reason.

Plus it's flagged up another example of singular/plural surnames who have played for us.

Recently we had difficulty between Brook and Brooks and a few years back there was Lee as well as Lees.

This thread reminds me we have had Sharp and Sharpe. In common they were both great fielders but in entirely different ways! Kevin Sharp was perhaps the nearest we have had to Colin Bland in my lifetime

(Login JollyD)

First match memories / It was fifty five years ago today

June 28 2017, 4:15 PM 

This thread has made me feel very old as my memory goes back further than most of the other contributors.
When I was a very small boy indeed, my father decided I should see the great Don Bradman in his final test match at Headingley in 1948. Unfortunately, my father was always a dilatory man and we arrived to find queues as far as the eye could see. Along with thousands of others, we never got near the ground.
My consolation prize was to see Yorkshire's Len Hutton play against New Zealand in 1949. He was out cheaply, and we watched Edrich and Compton instead.
I do remember a Yorkshire match in 1951 because I was allowed to go to Headingley on my own on the tram from the top of my street.
Yorkshire beat Hampshire by 10 wickets. Captain Norman Yardley scored his career best 183, while a young man called Ray Illingworth scored a half century on what I believe was his debut.

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