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Former T&A writer David Warner pens Yorkshire history for 150th anniversary
Yorkshire County Cricket Club celebrate their 150th anniversary on January 8 next year.
And to celebrate the landmark, former Telegraph & Argus Yorkshire cricket correspondent David Warner has produced The Sweetest Rose, a history of the club.
The danger of such a book is it can become a list of statistics but Warner has avoided this, skilfully mixing them with humorous anecdotes and drawing parallels both ancient and modern.
Of course, Yorkshire being Yorkshire there has been many a rumpus over the years, and none greater than those involving ‘Sir’ Geoffrey Boycott in the 1980s and 1990s as the club seemed hell bent on splitting itself in two.
But the same cussedness off the field was often matched by great feats on it and the White Rose have produced some of the greatest players in the game’s history, such as George Hirst, Wilfred Rhodes, Len Hutton, Hedley Verity, Herbert Sutcliffe, Boycott and Michael Vaughan.
If the county was often not singing from the same hymn sheet, there was always the glue of the club secretary to hold things together from JB Wostinholm, Frederick Charles Toone, John Nash, Joe Lister and David Ryder, these five men covering an incredible 138 years from 1838-2002 before the position became redundant.
Many hard decisions have been made over the years, including the saga of buying Headingley, whether to allow players from outside the county to feature, whether to allow overseas players, and not least the painful loss of the outgrounds, none being more hurtful than the demise of Park Avenue at Bradford and Bramall Lane at Sheffield.
But there are also many triumphs, with Yorkshire having won the County Championship a record 31 times and often lowering the colours of the touring sides, who rightly regarded facing Yorkshire as being akin to an unofficial test match.
Warner is a steady hand on the tiller and guides the reader from the uncertain days before the club’s formation right up to the 2012 season and Yorkshire’s appearance in the Champions League Twenty20.
It also helps in clarifying the controversial sacking of Bobby Peel in 1897, although it is doubtful whether he urinated on the field as has been claimed.
And what was the worst summer for weather before the one just past? The Met Office says it was the worst since 1912, and Warner seems to back this up, stating that only one of Yorkshire’s 19 home matches 100 years ago was free of weather interference.
The more things change, the more things stay the same.
* The Sweetest Rose by David Warner is published by Great Northern Books, priced £17.99.
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