Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Yorkshire rolled for 40: 7 to 10 May 1967




After four days in which they had made it onto the field for a total of one hour Kent had a stellar third day at Bradford, skittling the champions for 40. Peter West, there for The Times, was a Kent supporter so would have enjoyed recording the carnage.

Cowdrey’s declaration at 93 for four was made in the hope of repeating the first-innings rout, but drying pitches lose their spite quickly, so it was easy enough for the champions to save the draw, if not their dignity. How The gnarly Yorkshire pros would have hated that happening against the jazz hats of Kent more than anyone else.

Geoff Boycott’s pair was the only one he suffered during his long career. It was Norman Graham who got him both times. Given his chance in the first game of the season at Trent Bridge, by the end of this match he had taken 15 wickets in not much more than three innings, securing the position of first-choice opening bowler, one that he held for the next decade. 

There was another close finish at Taunton, with Somerset left 12 short with one wicket left. There was no requirement in 1967 that a certain number of overs be bowled in the last hour, let alone the day as a whole; it was all on the clock. Here, and elsewhere as the season went on, there were accusations of time wasting. Carlton Forbes took so long to bowl the penultimate over, that it became the ultimate, though as John Woodcock writes, this was as likely to have cost his side the match as it was the opposition:
It was almost as close Between Essex and Glamorgan at Chelmsford, where Rodney Cass (who later moved to Worcestershire) played out Don Shepherd’s last over to secure a draw with one wicket left and 16 needed. At the Oval, there was a third exciting draw. Surrey were 28 short with two standing against Warwickshire.

Leicestershire and Middlesex both won and were two of six counties with 12 points at the top of the table. 

The more you look at the news of 1967, the more you see contemporary parallels. Prime minister Harold Wilson committed the Government to seeking entry into the Common Market, as the EU was then known. He opened a Commons debate on the issue with a speech that he told Dick Crossman was “Gladstonian length and consistency”. It didn’t match the five and six-hour duration of the Grand Old Man’s budget speeches, but was 90 minutes long, which would be unthinkable these days. The headline that I tweeted included a promise from Wilson that Brentry wouldn’t lead to devaluation of the pound. Within six months he was back on television announcing devaluation in his famous “pound in your pocket” broadcast, which started the subsidence of the currency that has peaked since the 2016 referendum.

Readers surprised by the inclusion of a New Zealand story will not be aware that I live in Wellington, capital of NZ. The talks referred to may well have taken place in the very rooms in which I spend the working day.

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