Chapter 9 - Yorkshire Council 1945-1961
Chapter 9 - Yorkshire Council 1945-1961
As a result of 1944 Bill Maddocks was appointed captain for 1945. He felt very sure that the war was ending, that there would be many good players returning from the services and that it was essential to have the best cricket available for them. The answer seemed to be a return to the Yorkshire Council, of which non-playing membership had been retained, but several of the senior members thought that it would be an error, as so many of the club's traditional opponents were such strong teams. Hickleton, for instance, had not been forced to change their main bowlers, Joe Riley and Tommy Mitchell, for several years and they were shortly to be supported by no less a bowler than F. R. Brown: other teams such as Denaby, Firbeck, Sheffield United and Scarborough were almost as good. Bill Maddocks rightly had his way, good players did return and, though the side struggled, it had some enjoyable cricket, managing to win one match. Possibly the best performance was to hold Hickleton to a draw at Abbeydale, in the process forcing a bowling change and depriving Hickleton of a chance of the championship. At the crucial moment Richard Doncaster struck Tommy Mitchell over the old score-box, possibly the best stroke by a future Master Cutler, though John Hunt might have had equal claim: on a Devon tour he presided over a very late and stupendous party at Plymouth, paraded the Hoe before breakfast, had to go in to bat at Exeter against the Devon Dumplings to stop a hat-trick, took two steps down the wicket and hit the ball into the long grass behind the sight-screen. Richard Doncaster caused some surprise to those who did not know him well on a journey by bus in 1947 to play at Firbeck Colliery. At a cross-roads on the edge of Dinnington he asked the driver to stop. It was for 'purposes of nature', not, as might be supposed, for his own pressing need, but because a particular tree grew there and he wanted a few branches for his caterpillars. That other great entomologist, Bill Smellie, was spared such episodes, because transport soon returned to private cars.
Further players returned for 1946 and the side became stronger and did better. Odd things however happened about the captaincy between 1946 and 1950. A certain amount of animosity was generated when Arthur Connell replaced Bill Maddocks for 1947 and again when Charles Buck replaced Connell for 1950. There was possibly a certain amount of feeling that the captaincy ought to 'go round', but it would have been much the best for the club if one of the three could have remained as captain through most of this period.
Yorkshire Council Team 1947. Yorkshire Council Team v. Sheffield United, Abbeydale Park, 1947. Back: F. Holder, J. C. Barber, D. C. Wilson, B. Oswell, W. R. Jenkinson, J. A. H. Barratt Seated: W. R. Maddocks, C. G. Buck, A. H. Connell (Capt), P. G. Barber, M. Barber.
The side which Bill Maddocks had built up, now with Arthur Connell as captain, was reinforced for 1947 by the arrival of two very capable allrounders with a wide cricket experience. These were D. C. Wilson and J. A. H. Barratt, who had played for Surrey Second XI and also represented the Minor Counties, a potentially lethal leg-spinner or, later, off-spinner and a most accomplished batsman. His innings on a turning wicket at Hickleton against Tommy Mitchell and Freddie Brown was possibly the best, technically, ever played for Collegiate. With a little luck the side might well have qualified for the top four play-off in the Council and was certainly one of the best the club have ever had, with a varied attack and strong batting, often down to No. 11 as well as wide cricket experience.
The Council team remained basically the same for the next nine years, did reasonably well and certainly enjoyed its cricket. John Barratt sadly moved away from Sheffield after a few years and some others dropped out, but the younger replacements were very competent cricketers, such as John Tyzack and Peter Simpkin, both all-rounders, and Peter Grayson. C. J. Dewhurst, now Sir John and an Ex-President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, arrived from the Manchester area and showed the rest of the team how to hook, as well as later to challenge Arthur Connell and Charles Buck for the title of best local after-dinner speaker.
SCCC A-Team 1953. Unbeaten during the season. Back: Umpire Bennet, C. B. Dawson, R. M. Chope, J. Twivey, K. Johnston, P. D. Grayson, A. Hebblethwaite. Front: W. J. Smellie, D. Browne, P. F. Mountford (Capt), K. A. Wilson, C. W. Blythe.
In 1957 D. C. Wilson, as Council captain, found himself faced with having to make at least some changes in the established side. Jack Dewhurst had decided that he no longer had the time to play, Don Heath, who had moved from United, had made up his mind, quite rightly, that cricket must have a greater financial part in his life and Jimmy Barber was ill. He decided that, as there had to be some changes, it was best to rebuild the side with younger players, even if it meant that some older stalwarts, such as Granville Carr and Charles Buck, who were still technically the best, had to become only occasional Council players. The side naturally had some difficulties, the most important of which was that, against tradition, the batting was unreliable and there was no really good player. The bowlers did nobly, particularly Philip Deane, and some very young players, such as T. H. Reed and A. Marshall, showed great promise, but success was limited. Peter Simpkin took over this reconstituted team half-way through 1959 and made it into a very effective eleven, which at last, after a gap of several years, had a reliable batsman in James Watson, who was only stopped from being of very high class by a weakness against some fast bowling.