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Geoffrey Boycott 100th Hundred | 40 Years Ago Today

August 11 2017 at 12:55 AM
Saltaire  (Login Saltaire)
from IP address


Forum members will not need reminding that it was 40 years ago today – 11th August 1977 – that Geoff Boycott scored his 100th first-class century in the Ashes test at Headingley.

I expect that, for many, the memories of the day remain crystal clear.

I have set out my recollections in a memoir of half a century of sports spectating, an extract of which is given here. I would be interested in learning how they correspond with those of other members.

Boycs 2

“…I sat in my favourite position on the Western Terrace. Mike Brearley, wearing a somewhat sinister-looking skull-cap, was out third ball for nought, but that was an irrelevance for most of the spectators. The crowd around me cheered as Boycott hit his first four down to the boundary over to my left and then continued to offer a similar greeting to every one of his subsequent runs. When Boycott reached his 50, there was a massive collective roar from the Terrace. The man sitting next to me stood up and shouted passionately, “Come on Geoffrey. Come on”, punching the air vigorously as he did so. It was a personal plea from him to the player that, as far he was concerned, the player was bound to hear…

…There was one moment of concern, when the Australia left-arm spinner Ray Bright appealed forcefully for a catch by the wicketkeeper, Rod Marsh, down the leg side. Bright’s body language suggested he was less than impressed when the decision went against him; he snatched his sunhat from the umpire in disgust. The crowd on the Western Terrace jeered. We were square to the wicket, of course, and in no position to judge the validity of the appeal. But we knew it was not out: it couldn’t possibly be. The fates had decreed otherwise. From my own perspective, I thought that Bright was a scruffy cricketer - with an appearance not unlike that of the Richard Dreyfus character in Jaws and an ungainly bowling action - and certainly not the man to disturb the natural course of events on this particular day…

…Boycott was immaculately turned out: shirt sleeves neatly rolled up above the elbows, shirt collar turned up at the back of his neck, England cap firmly in place (in this pre-helmet era, Brearley’s skull-cap excluded). The crispness of his strokeplay was also notable: the square cuts off the Australian fast bowlers, the off drive for the boundary that brought up his 50, and the classical driving through the packed cover field when Bright strayed marginally off line…

…And so I come to the shot that took Boycott from 96 to 100: the straight drive off the bowling of Greg Chappell that hurried down the slope and over the boundary in front of the Members Enclosure in the Football Stand. I knew as soon as Boycott hit the ball that it would be enough. Again, I was square of the action, and I could tell before the ball had travelled half way back down the pitch that it was moving at a sufficient speed to elude the bowler, provided that Chappell, falling away in his action, did not stick a boot across to intercept it. And, of course, he couldn’t: the ball was too wide for him. I also knew that, once the ball had beaten the infield, there was no way that a chasing fielder could have caught up with it before it reached the boundary ropes. This particular nano-drama, therefore, is not so much in the boundary being scored, or Boycott raising his arms in the air, or some of the spectators running on to the pitch. It is in that split second, when I realised that the ball was on its way back from his bat and that the task had been achieved…

…At the end of the day’s play, a large portion of the crowd gathered in front of the pavilion to applaud their hero and the rest of the England team as they came out on to the balcony. The roar rang out: “Yorkshire, Yorkshire”. I knew that somewhere in that crowd was my neighbour from the Western Terrace…”

[Full details of An Ordinary Spectator: 50 Years of Watching Sport (2012) – on which this post is based – and Still An Ordinary Spectator: Five More Years of Watching Sport (2017) by John Rigg can be found at www.anordinaryspectator.com and www.silverwoodbooks.co.uk.]

Brilliant stuff, Saltaire. I was there too and still recall the hair standing up on the back of my neck when it happened. Pure magic, and a cricketing memory to last forever! - Alex

This message has been edited by AlexRoberts from IP address on Aug 11, 2017 4:25 AM

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(Premier Login AlexRoberts)

"My God it has actually happened"

August 11 2017, 4:37 AM 


Geoffrey Boycott reminisces about the day he made his 100th hundred at Headingley


“The pressure of the previous Test at Trent Bridge – my comeback Test – was enormous. After getting through that and making a hundred to win the game by 10 wickets was a bit of a relief. That was my biggest trial. Then, on the Tuesday before the Leeds Test, Rachael said: ‘Oh you’ve done it now.’ I said: ‘Done what?’ She said: ‘You’re going to get your 100th hundred at Headingley, it’s all over the news!’ I said, ‘Oh crikey’ and I got very uptight.

“I was very nervous the night before, couldn’t sleep, had the porter in my room fixing the air conditioning or something. I slept about four hours, I over-slept and was late to the ground – I was never late for practice, can you imagine?! Keith Boyce was taking the nets down when I got there. He kept one net up and I had a five or six-minute knock with a few lads who were knocking about.

‘My God, it has actually happened!’ -Geoffrey Boycott

The full story from the Cricketer magazine Click Here

Video of the record shot Click Here

(Login wakefieldfan)

great day

August 11 2017, 10:20 AM 

I remember it very well you could go to the ground and pay on the gate when I got inside you couldnt get a seat I sat on the boundery with lads from Newcastle and over the loudspeakers anyone who does not have a seat can have there money back .

(Login garywilson2)

Re: Geoffrey Boycott 100th Hundred | 40 Years Ago Today

August 11 2017, 10:30 AM 

I was there with my mum . I was 15 and i had a tee shirt which read "Boycott the bionic bat" !

(Login ThirdUmpire)

Re: Geoffrey Boycott 100th Hundred | 40 Years Ago Today

August 11 2017, 12:24 PM 

I think we have an annual thread for this anniversary. Perhaps it should be christened Boycott day where we all get to Boycott going to work if we can prove we were there.

I sat at deep backward point by the boundary boards on the day with my parents somewhere behind halfway up the Western terrace. I recall sitting near a bloke in a wheelchair from South Yorkshire who claimed to be related to the actor Keith Barron.

I didn't run on the field when the on drive was struck after tea as I had it drilled in from an early age that this was not how you did things in Yorkshire. My Dad being a fully qualified umpire might have influenced me here.

Interestingly I found a newspaper article from the YP this week commemorating the event and I see on Twitter that Geoff had a big fundraiser at his Boston Spa home to raise money for Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Well it's better than having to do it in Faisalabad!

Leg Glance
(Login legglance)

Re: Geoffrey Boycott 100th Hundred | 40 Years Ago Today

August 11 2017, 12:48 PM 

OK, I'll be the first to admit it- I wasn't there!

My first job as a Hotel GM took precedence, appointed on Yorkshire day 10 days before, so I was very new to the job. I kept a very close eye on the TV and watched the build up to, and 'the' moment, with fingers crossed.

40 years ago I, well the hotel paid, sent a TELEGRAM of congratulations.(I will explain to those not old enough to know what a telegram was if needede).

The next year England stayed at the hotel for an OT test but it was a while later, at another hotel, that I was fortunate enough to have Yorkshire stay.

Sir Geoff needed some laundry doing and, as it was a Friday evening there was no laundry service but , in a selfless act, I volounteered my wife's services and now one of her claims to fame is having washed the great man's jockstrap. happy.gif

(Login sid-don)
Assistant Moderator

Re: Geoffrey Boycott 100th Hundred | 40 Years Ago Today

August 11 2017, 1:50 PM 

I wasn't there either. I was spending part of the school holiday with my maternal grandma in Warrington. She was a truly wonderful person, however, although I'd watched every ball on (free to air, those were the days) TV there was one programme she insisted on watching, Crossroads which at that time in Granada-land went out at 5;30pm ish just as Geoff was putting Chappell down the ground and himself into the history books. A long wait and I missed the moment.

I was there on a rather soggy day 4 to see the victory and the Ashes to England.

(Login StuartRA)
Assistant Moderator

Re: Geoffrey Boycott 100th Hundred | 40 Years Ago Today

August 11 2017, 4:38 PM 

I was not there either, but haven`t got a clue as to what I was doing on that day. The memory goes at my age.

(Login Papag1)

Re: Geoffrey Boycott 100th Hundred | 40 Years Ago Today

August 12 2017, 8:33 AM 

Dont suppose anybody's got a link to the photo of the Western Terr scoreboard with GBs score when he got the hundred , I was sat on the wall around 12 from the left would love it for my Man Cave , ive seen it years ago but cant seem to find the image anywhere .


(Premier Login AlexRoberts)

Re: Geoffrey Boycott 100th Hundred | 40 Years Ago Today

August 13 2017, 4:31 PM 

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