Saturday, 28 June 2008

It was 60 years ago today...


That Derbyshire fans looked forward to the second day's play against Yorkshire at Chesterfield with unbelievable excitement tempered with disappointment.

It was raining and was to do so for most of the following day too, thus robbing Derbyshire of what would have been one of their greatest ever wins.

On Saturday 26th June 1948, a large crowd went to Chesterfield to see the traditional battle between the two counties in the idyllic setting. Glamorgan were top of the table - just - and were to win the title for the first time that year, but Derbyshire were close in second place and Yorkshire third. The visitors were missing three players to injury and Test call ups. Len Hutton and Norman Yardley were fine batsmen and Alec Coxon a good bowler, but we were missing batsman Pat Vaulkhard, all rounder Les Townsend and fast bowler Bill Copson.

Their skipper Brian Sellers won the toss and decided to bat on what seemed a good batting track. Opening the bowling for Derbyshire from the pavilion end was the great all-rounder George Pope, with Cliff Gladwin opening from the Lake End. As always, there was an air of excitement as the day began.

After an hour, Yorkshire were 18-6, most of them off the edge.

There were three wickets for Gladwin, two brilliantly caught by Charlie Elliott. One held at silly mid on and another in the gully. Willie Watson was run out and Pope had two. Yorkshire had no answer to Pope's fast medium leg-cutters and Gladwin's accurate off-cutters and by shortly after 1pm they were all out for just 44. No one made double figures and the bowling figures are worth recording:

George Pope 14.1 - 9 - 12 - 6

Cliff Gladwin 14 - 1 - 29 - 3

George bowled four, had one caught behind and one lbw.

When Derbyshire's openers Charlie Elliott and Albert Alderman started the reply there were reportedly 14,000 people on the ground! Elliott followed his brilliant fielding with a patient 62, while Pope (73) and wicket-keeper George Dawkes (68) used the long handle to good effect on the way to a total of 277.

Left arm chinaman bowler John Wardle took 8-87 for Yorkshire in a Derbyshire innings that lasted 95 overs.

You do the maths. That was 123 overs in the day, yet there was STILL time for Yorkshire to go back in again. By the close they would have wished they hadn't, as they were 15-3. Pope removed both openers and Cliff Gladwin having Watson caught in the leg trap by Alan Revill.

So in one day's play there had been 336 runs and 23 wickets with Derbyshire 218 runs ahead and only 7 wickets needed for a win. How well must the County fans have slept that night!

Then came the rain and no play on day two. Still, if the weather was fair we must have won, but only 90 minutes play was possible on the third day, when Yorkshire "advanced" - not sure if that's the right word - to 37-6 in 40 overs before the game was abandoned as a draw. Let's look at those second innings figures:

George Pope 17 -11 - 13 - 4

Cliff Gladwin 10 - 8 - 5 - 1

Albert Rhodes 10 - 5 - 12 - 0

Les Jackson 3 - 2 - 3 - 1

That's right, Les Jackson, in his second season, on as second change, with "Dusty" Rhodes, father of Harold, trying his leggies first.

So George Pope returned match figures of 31.1 - 20 - 25 - 10, socred 73 and still didn't figure on a winning side.

Mind you, the bragging rights were all ours for sure!

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