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Lancashire Cricket Club Remembers

Lancashire Cricket Club Remembers

Lancashire Cricket Club Remembers

This week sees the 100 years centenary of the ending of the of the First World War and we take a look at the five Lancashire players who are represented on the war memorial in the Pavilion.

The outbreak of war would mean no cricket at Old Trafford for four years. The pavilion, and later all the buildings around it would become a hospital with accommodation for eighty sick and wounded men. During the four years of war over 1,800 were treated there.

Most of the players joined up. The Times of 11 December 1914, listed the following who were serving: Hornby, Brooke, Spooner, Garnett, Boddington, Musson,MacLeod, Bill Tyldesley, Harry Tyldesley, Dean, Blomley and MacLaren. J.T.Tyldesley was too old to serve and during the war he helped the Red Cross as they attended to the injured returning home. He would meet ambulance trains and in one twelve-month period travelled 5,000 miles in his own car and 1,000 in the ambulance taking the wounded to hospital.

Continuing the club was difficult during the war. With no cricket, the club faced meeting pre-war contracts with the players and the need for continued funds was obvious. In 1915 1,667 members paid subscriptions and although the number fell by a few hundred, sufficient funds were raised to keep the club afloat. By 1916 the club’s liabilities to players under the pre-1914 contracts had been fulfilled, and the financial statement showed a small surplus for the year.

Lancashire sent out cricket kit to prisoners of war at the notorious Ruthleben camp, and in due course a score sheet of a match came back and it was Lancashire v Yorkshire! Harry Tyldesley also expressed his thanks for the materials sent out and reported details of a match played in 1915 within the sound of guns.

‘To speak of the battle with the Germans I might say it is rather more exciting than the battle of the Roses, but this last day or two it has been very quiet. How long do you think this awful war will last? The sooner it closes the better for everybody, the Germans more than anybody’. He made it through the war to play again for Lancashire.

The Pavilion finally closed as a hospital on 8th February 1919. 

By May 1919, first-class cricket was being played again at Old Trafford but the loss of five players were not forgotten. A wooden plaque was erected with the names of Harold Garnett, Alfred Hartley, J.A.Nelson, W.K.Tyldesley and E.L. Wright who had all given their lives for their country.

Harold Garnett

Born in 1879 at Aigburth, Liverpool he was killed during the First World War. He played twice in 1900 and jumped to fame the following year, playing so finely that he seemed likely to become the best left-handed bat in England. His style was attractive and his hitting very strong. Against Sussex at Old Trafford he scored 110 and 89 and in the season he scored 1,758 runs averaging 35.87 and was second in the Lancashire averages.

On the strength of this performance he was chosen to go to Australia with A.C.Maclaren’s England team but he was not successful. He continued to play for Lancashire for several seasons and even though business took him to Argentina he came to renew his connection with Lancashire in 1911 and 1914. He developed into a first rate wicket-keeper and was chosen to play for the Gentlemen at Lord’s and his performance helped win the match. He played in 144 matches for Lancashire scoring 5,599 runs ave 26.16 with five centuries. He volunteered at the outbreak of the War and soon obtained a commission. He was killed in action at Marcoing, Cambrai in France.

Alfred Hartley

He was born in New Orleans in 1879 and first played for Lancashire in 1907 where he excelled and his batting made him a worthy successor to Albert Ward. A steady accumulator of runs rather than a brilliant stroke player, he was strong in defence and on the on-side. He scored 1,053 runs for the county in 1908 and 1,129 runs with an average of 36 in 1909.

In 1910 he scored 234 against Somerset at Old Trafford and finished the season with 1,511 runs. On the strength of this he was chosen to play for the Gentlemen v Players at both Lord’s and the Oval. On a difficult wicket at Lord’s he performed well, scoring 24 and 35. In 1911 his batting fell away and the following year he retired. He was killed in action during the First World War near Maissemy in France in 1918.

John Nelson

Born in Marton, Blackpool on 28th October 1891. He played in one match for Lancashire as an Amateur in 1913 against Warwickshire scoring 5. The newspaper report comments on his cool and confident manner at the wicket and knows how to handle a bat. He also played for Lancashire seconds against Yorkshire at Rotherham in 1913 and scored 66 runs holding the Lancashire team together. He died killed in action in France on 12th August 1917.

W.K.(Billy) Tyldesley

Born on 12th August 1887 in Westhoughton he was one of four brothers to appear for Lancashire. He batted and bowled left-handed and soon showed his ability having 2nd Xl trials and making his debut for the county in 1908 against Kent at Old Trafford.

He played 7 seasons for Lancashire scoring 2,979 runs, hitting three centuries. His highest score was 152 at Derby sharing a 252 partnership with J.T.Tyldesley. He reached the rank of Lieutenant in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He died a hero’s death in the Belgian town of Kemmel in 1918.

Egerton Lowndes Wright. M.C

Born on November 15th 1885, he had a brilliant career as a cricketer playing four years for Winchester and four years for Oxford University. He scored a century against Eton and also captained the side. For Oxford he scored 95 and 26 against Cambridge at Lord’s, for two years he captained the side. He also won a blue at Oxford for football.

He only played 4 matches for Lancashire between 1905-1910 as an amateur. He was a solicitor in Manchester. At the outbreak of war he obtained a commission for the Bucks Battalion of the Oxford & Bucks Light infantry and went to France with them in 1915. He served as Adjutant to his battalion and on the staff on the Brigade, an Army Corps and a Division, being twice mentioned in Despatches and received the Military Cross. At the end of 1916 he was appointed Brigade Major to the 6th Infantry Brigade. He was killed at Barly on May 11th 1918 leaving a wife and two children.


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