Norman Yardley bigraphy, stories - Amateur cricketer

Norman Yardley : biography

19 March 1915 - 3 October 1989

Norman Walter Dransfield Yardley (19 March 1915 – 3 October 1989) was an English cricketer who played for Cambridge University, Yorkshire County Cricket Club and England, as a right-handed batsman and occasional bowler. An amateur, he captained Yorkshire from 1948 to 1955 and England on fourteen occasions between 1947 and 1950, winning four Tests, losing seven and drawing three. Yardley was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1948 and in his obituary in Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, he was described as Yorkshire's finest amateur since Stanley Jackson.

Yardley played schoolboy cricket at St Peter's, York. A highly talented all-round sportsman, he went to St John's College, Cambridge, and won Blues at cricket, squash, rugby fives and field hockey. In the university matches, he scored 90 in his second year, 101 in his third and was captain for his final year. He made his Yorkshire debut in 1936 and played for the county until 1955, when he retired as a player. He made his Test match debut against South Africa in 1939 and after the Second World War was chosen as vice-captain to Wally Hammond on the 1946—47 tour of Australia where he captained England in the fifth Test. He followed Hammond as skipper in 1947, and captained England intermittently until 1950 when his business commitments allowed. In 1948 he succeeded to the Yorkshire leadership when Brian Sellers resigned. Yardley remained in the position until 1955, during a time when Yorkshire had several difficult players in their dressing room. Under Yardley, Yorkshire were joint champions in 1949 but too often for the liking of supporters, finished second to Surrey in the County Championship. He served as a Test match selector between 1951 and 1954, acting as chairman of selectors in 1952. He was President of Yorkshire C.C.C. from 1981 to 1984, when he resigned after becoming involved in controversy over the decision to release Geoffrey Boycott in 1983. He died after a stroke in 1989.

Career after the war

Tour to Australia in 1946–47

When County cricket resumed in England in 1946, Yorkshire won the County Championship. Yardley scored 788 runs at an average of 23.17, with just one century, for Yorkshire against Nottinghamshire. With the ball, he was used less frequently than before the war and took only nine wickets. He was not selected for any Test matches, but appeared for England in a Test trial and scored 39 and 11. He also played twice for the MCC and represented the Gentlemen against the Players, making 29 and a duck in a heavy defeat for the amateurs. Critics regarded his season as unsuccessful, but he was chosen as vice-captain to Hammond on the tour to Australia that winter, continuing his pre-war role.

It was intended that Yardley would appear lower down in the batting order, batting with a substantial total accumulated by the previous batsmen. However, the frailties of the England batting meant he often appeared in a crisis and had to rebuild several innings. Bill Bowes, the Yorkshire and England bowler who covered the tour as a journalist, was impressed by Yardley's approach, noting that he did not back away from the fast bowlers, who frequently bowled bouncers at him: "In fact, Yardley played cricket with a determination we had never seen in Yorkshire or in his days at the university."Bowes, p. 186. He made the greatest impression as a bowler, surprising commentators with his effectiveness. He did not bowl in the first six matches, but in his first over of the tour dismissed Arthur Morris who had already scored a century. From that point, he was used effectively to break up partnerships. In the Tests, he removed Donald Bradman in three successive innings, while in the third Test, he took two wickets, including Bradman, in two deliveries. Bowes believed the natural length of Yardley's bowling was perfect for Australian pitches—he was not skilful enough to alter the length at which he bowled so his bowling in other conditions was less effective. The Australian reporter Clif Cary wrote "It was always amusing to watch the Englishmen when Yardley took a wicket. The first time they seemed fairly amused, but when he was regularly breaking partnerships, their enthusiasm knew no bounds, and it is said that in Melbourne after he had obtained Bradman's wicket for the third time, Yardley blushed profusely when one excited team-mate slapped him on the back and shouted "Well, bowled, Spofforth".

Living octopus

Living octopus

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