Brian Halford
12th June 2019

The Bears in Yorkshire – 10 grounds ticked off ahead of York visit

Warwickshire will enter new territory next week when they face Yorkshire at Clifton Park, York. It will be the 11th venue in Yorkshire at which Warwickshire have played county championship cricket. Brian Halford charts the ten previous new entries on the Bears' 124-year Yorkshire tour.

1895: Bradford Park Avenue

Warwickshire’s first visit to Yorkshire on championship business took them to Park Avenue and, as newcomers against one of the famous ‘Big Six,’ brought a predictable defeat. The White Rose, captained by Lord Hawke, won by eight wickets, taking one point from the game while Warwickshire took minus one.

The Bears were to be frequent visit to Park Avenue over the years, playing there on 17 occasions, lastly in 1980 when a rain-affected contest could not be saved from a draw even by three declaration from captains John Hampshire and Bob Willis.

1896: Headingley, Leeds

Leeds now hosts the vast majority of Yorkshire’s home matches but, in the early days, was one of many venues used by the club around the vast county it represents. In July 1896, Headingley hosted Warwickshire for the first time and the Bears were well-beaten by a team closing on the title.

Birmingham-born Alfred Law, top-scorer in the match at Bradford the previous year, again showed his liking for the White Rose attack with a fluent 65 but the rest found Schofield Haigh troublesome. Haigh took 11 wickets in the match and, despite some impressive bowling from former Leamington Town FC captain Alf Glover, Warwickshire were beaten by an innings and 14 runs.

1897: Bramall Lane, Sheffield

Yorkshire supporters, as a breed, are not noted for their reticence but the Bramall Lane regulars in particular were renowned for their scathing approach to opposing teams and, when they felt it appropriate, their own side.

In 1897, those grumpy spectators had their first look at Warwickshire and were not overly impressed by the Bears’ bowlers as the home side piled up 337 for five before days two and three were washed out.

The Steel City cricket-lovers were a tough audience – but young Warwickshire all-rounder Percy Jeeves won them over in 1913 when, in terrible light, he smote the legendary Wilf Rhodes for successive sixes into the pavilion. They stood to applaud Jeeves from the field.

1899: North Marine Road, Scarborough

One of the great homes of world cricket, never mind the county game, North Marine Road first hosted Warwickshire in June 1899 and the Bears were beaten by 167 runs, dismantled, not for the first time, by Schofield Haigh (12 for 45 in the match).

Eighty-eight years later it was at North Marine Road that one of the great Warwickshire careers came to an end when Dennis Amiss played the last of his 658 first-class matches there. 2007 then brought one of the Bears’ less vaunted visits – an innings-and-210-run defeat in which Kumar Sangakkara played his last game for the club and Stuart Hole his only game.

A happier occasion was the visit of 1981 when Phil Oliver celebrated the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer with a brilliant 122 and Dilip Doshi’s five-for took him to 700 first-class wickets, but the greatest tussle ever between the teams at Scarborough, or perhaps anywhere else, came in 1934.

The Bears were bowled out for 45 in the first innings but, set 216 for victory, chased the target down with one wicket to spare thanks to Jack Parsons’ brilliant 94 and a steel-nerved last-wicket stand of 12 between Danny Mayer and Eric Hollies.

1903: The Circle, Hull

Yorkshire played championship cricket at The Circle from 1899 to 1974 but the Bears were there only six times. Two of the first four, in 1912 and 1932, were soggy draws and two brought defeats, including a 69-run reverse on their first visit in 1903.

In 1927, however, the Bears won by eight wickets thanks to Jack Parsons’ skilful century and in 1966 Warwickshire triumphed again in a cracker of a contest, by three wickets. After Jack Bannister (five for 38) and Tom Cartwright (four for 44) skittled Yorkshire for 101 in their second innings, the Bears, chasing 109, were 75 for seven before Neal Abberley (54 not out) and Cartwright saw off spinners Ray Illingworth and Don Wilson on a turning track to see their side home.

1904: Fartown, Huddersfield

The Fartown ground hosted championship cricket into the 1950s but was first graced by Warwickshire in August 1904 – and what a brilliant match it was.

It was a pretty thin era for the Bears while Yorkshire had won the title in four of the past six years – yet Fred Byrne’s side shocked the cricketing world with a stunning six-run victory.

The triumph was set up by emerging fast-bowler Frank Field. Seven years later, the strapping Field would bowl Warwickshire to their first county championship title – this time the big man served Yorkshire notice of his menace with 11 wickets in the match. After Warwickshire made 164, Field’s seven for 63 bowled them out for 116 in the first innings.

Three greats of Yorkshire – Wilfred Rhodes, George Hirst and Schofield Haigh – then bowled the Bears out for 82 second time round, leaving a victory target of just 131. At 107 for six, Yorkshire were closing in on victory but Field (four for 56) and Sam Hargreave (five for 45) pared away at the batting to secure a sensational win.

1905: Dewsbury and Savile ground, Dewsbury

Warwickshire paid the first of their three visits to the Dewsbury and Savile ground in June 1905 and were defeated by 66 runs on a lively wicket – 16 wickets fell on the first day and 24 on the second.

The Bears never won in Dewsbury, though their draw in 1914 featured one of the finest innings ever played for the club – a stunning 206 in 230 minutes, including 27 fours and two sixes, by Lancashire-born Crowther Charlesworth.

“It was a bold and adventurous innings which refreshed and excited all those who saw it,” reported the Dewsbury Times. “When Charlesworth finally fell, he was cheered all the way back to the pavilion.”

Less popular was Billy Quaife who supported Charlesworth with 63. “The little man was certainly a bore but he played his own game well,” noted the paper.

1906: St George’s Road, Harrogate

Warwickshire’s first visit to St George’s Road, in August 1906, brought a thrashing. Bowled out for 79 and 95 they were beaten by an innings and 91 runs. Their second, five years later, delivered a spectacular stride towards their first championship title.

The Bears arrived in Harrogate in late July 1911 galvanised by the charismatic captaincy of brilliant all-rounder Frank Foster. Talked of as potentially the first county outside the Big Six to win the title, how would they stand up to the stern test of their credentials from the White Rose?

They passed it thanks to some incredible bowling on the last morning.

After two tight and absorbing days, Yorkshire, chasing 256 for victory, began the last day on 14 for one. Could their great batting line-up see off the two Franks – Foster and Field – whose wickets had powered Warwickshire to the top of the table?

The home side advanced to 29 for one. Then Wilf Rhodes lifted Field to Foster at mid-on: 29 for two. Just over an hour later, to the disbelief of their supporters, Yorkshire were 58 all out: Field seven for 20, Foster, who had scored a century in his side’s second innings, two for 33.

Warwickshire won by 198 runs. A month later they were champions.

1957: Acklam Park, Middlesbrough

After Harrogate, more than half a century passed before Warwickshire broke new ground again in Yorkshire. Then they fetched up at Acklam Park where they were to play five times up to 1971.

In ’57, Billy Ibadulla joined the short list of cricketers to have made their county championship debut in Middlesbrough. The Bears were welcomed to the new terrain by FS Trueman who got straight at them, removing openers Fred Gardner and Norman Horner on the way to six for 46, as the Bears were bowled out for 142.

Alan Townsend and Swaranjit Singh shared nine wickets to restrict the home side’s lead to 28 but, with Warwickshire 11 without loss from 11 overs second time round, rain washed out the final day.

1974: Abbeydale Park, Sheffield

Bramall Lane having hosted its last championship match in 1973, Yorkshire turned to Abbeydale Park. The ground had previously hosted two championship games – but, curiously, not for Yorkshire. Derbyshire played Sussex and Kent there in 1946 and 1947 respectively.

Yorkshire’s first match there was a truncated affair, with rain washing out the second and third days, though the first day did allow the spectators to see arguably the best top-five ever fielded by any county side: Dennis Amiss, John Jameson, Alvin Kallicharran, Rohan Kanhai and Mike Smith. The quintet were to amass 164,096 first-class runs between them.

On this grey day on Teesside, they lifted Warwickshire to 309 (Kanhai 74, Kallicharran 71). Bob Willis then soon bowled Geoffrey Boycott before the rain arrived.

The Bears visited Abbeydale Park into the 1990s, their last visit, in July 1992, supplying a thrilling three-wicket win after captains Martyn Moxon and Andy Lloyd set up a finish (the contrived nature of the game can be discerned from Warwickshire’s opening bowlers – in the first innings, Allan Donald and Gladstone Small; in the second, Lloyd and Andy Moles!).

Chasing an engineered target of 276, the Bears reached it with three wickets to spare as Roger Twose, playing only his sixth championship match, hit 66 and Dermot Reeve 74.