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HOF: Player Profiles Pre-Second World War

Ernest Tyldesley was one of the most accomplished batsmen ever to play for Lancashire. He scored more runs (34,222) than any other player and in his career scored almost 40,000 runs. He is the only Lancashire cricketer to score a hundred centuries. He was a very good player on turning wickets and his batting was like his character, modest yet firm, gentlemanly and patient. His 14 Test matches were spread over 8 years, but he did score three centuries and averaged 55.00. He holds the Lancashire career record of the most appearances (573) and most hundreds (90) as well as the most runs. He scored 1,000 runs in a season 18 times including 3,024 in 1928. He became the first former professional player to serve on the Lancashire committee.

Born in Warrington in 1901, George Duckworth was probably the greatest wicket-keeper to play for Lancashire. A proud resident of Warrington, he was renowned for his piercing appeal of extraordinary volume for a small man. His skill behind the stumps contributed substantially to Lancashire's five inter-war championships. For Lancashire he made a record 925 dismissals with 97 captured in 1928. He played in 24 Test Matches and made 60 dismissals. George's character was blunt and honest, his knowledge of the game was vast and when he retired he became a Broadcaster renowned for his humorous and forthright commentaries on Cricket and Rugby League. He was appointed Tour Manager of three Commonwealth tours to India and in later years he became one of the shrewdest observers of the game, his advice was available and eagerly sought by other cricketers especially when he accompanied many England tours as baggage master and scorer.

Dick Pollard was a red-haired fast bowler who played either side of World War ll and was known as  ‘Th’ Owd Chainhorse’ because of his ability and at times insistence to bowl for long periods. He was born in Westhoughton and joined Lancashire in 1933 and two years later took 100 wickets in a season. He took 100 wickets a season every season up to the war. In 1938 he bowled more than 1,200 overs and took 149 wickets he repeated that number of overs twice more after the war. He took over 1100 First-Class wickets and it would have more if the War had not interrupted his career.  For Lancashire he took 1,015 wickets at an ave. of 22.15 taking five or more wickets in an innings 55 times.  He played in the Victory Tests in 1945 and subsequently played four Tests for England dismissing Don Bradman twice in 1948. He retired from First-Class cricket in after the 1950 season and went to play league cricket. He was also an accomplished light pianist.

Len Hopwood is the only Lancashire player to have achieved the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in a season twice in 1934 and 1935. He was an obdurate and valuable batsman whether opening or going in lower in the order and on occasion he could reveal a very wide range of strokes. He was also a very fine bowler, slow to medium left-arm, who was extremely accurate and in suitable conditions could be devastating. He played 397 times for the county scoring 15,519 runs ave. 30.01 and taking 672 wickets ave.22.18. He scored a century and took ten wickets in a match against Leicestershire and made a career  top score of 220. He played in two Tests and was a member of three Championship winning sides. In 1934 he took 110 wickets at 17 each and scored over 1,500 runs ave 41.  He became the first professional player to be appointed President of Lancashire in 1981-82.

Ted McDonald was born in Tasmania and played in 11 Tests for Australia taking 43 wickets. He headed the bowling averages against England in 1921 with 27 wickets. He signed as professional for Nelson in 1922 where he became a legend, taking 293 wickets before signing for Lancashire in 1924. McDonald was a fast bowler of exceptional pace and ability, but also with much grace, beauty and rhythm. He blazed across the Lancashire sky for only six full seasons and two shortened ones, but took over 1,000 wickets including 198 for the county in 1925, a county record. For three successive years he helped Lancashire win the County Championship. He was tragically killed in a motor accident in 1937 when he was offering assistance to the victims of a collision. Over 2,500 attended his funeral and the spectators at the Emirates Old Trafford Test stood in silence to honour one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time.

Eddie Paynter was born at Oswaldtwistle in 1901 and played for Lancashire from 1926 until 1945. He was a brilliant and consistent left-handed batsman who frequently opened the innings. He was also a superb fielder, especially in the covers. He scored over 20,000 runs in all with 45 centuries including 322 in one day at Hove against Sussex in 1937. He played 20 Test Matches scoring 1,500 runs, including 243 against South Africa at Durban in 1938-39 and 216 v Australia at Trent Bridge in 1938. He will always be remembered for his courageous innings at Brisbane on the “Bodyline” tour when he left a nursing home sick bed and batted four hours for an epic 83 and in the second innings hitting a six to win the match and regain the Ashes. His career was halted by the Second World War and afterwards he became an Umpire. His own comment on his cricket career was “It were grand fun while it lasted.”


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