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Essex return for a 10th visit to Stanley Park



Essex first visited Blackpool’s Stanley Park for a County Championship

match in 1924 and have returned on eight occasions since. Lancashire

won that first meeting and have won twice more since then so the results

to date show Lancashire with three wins, Essex with two wins and four

games drawn.

That first visit in 1924 was just one year before the ground was

named Stanley Park and in a low scoring, but close, contest, Lancashire

came out on top by 35 runs. Winning the toss and electing to bat,

Lancashire lost cheap wickets early but Harry Makepeace, opening the

innings, held firm and made 100 out of the final total of 209 with Alfred

Pewtress’ 35 being the next best effort. Claude Ashton and Johnny

Douglas both took four wickets for Essex for 26 and 59 runs

respectively.

In reply Essex made 180, mainly thanks in no small part to a 10 th

wicket partnership of 55 runs by skipper and top scorer Frank Gilligan,

33, and Laurie Eastman, 29 not out. Cecil Parkin and Dick Tyldesley

both took four wickets with the former’s costing 80 runs and the latter’s

45 runs.

Charlie Hallows made 50 in Lancashire’s second knock that

equalled the Essex effort of 180, Joe Hipkin, with his with slow left arm

deliveries, taking 4-26. Needing 210 for victory, Jack O’Connor, 50, and

Douglas, 45 not out, made every effort to take them to victory but Parkin

prevailed and his 6-62, giving him match figures of 10-142, as Essex

were dismissed for 174. It was Parkin’s second 10-wicket or more haul

at the ground having taken 15-95 against Glamorgan the previous year.

It was a celebratory event when Essex returned in 1925 because it

marked the opening of the new pavilion that had cost £4,500 to build and

which was, along with the ground, to be the gift of Sir Lindsay Parkinson

to the Blackpool club. Sir Edwin Stockton, Lancashire’s president, did

the honours after which Percy Perrin won the toss, Essex batted after a

rain delay and were dispatched for just 98 to which Jack Russell

contributed exactly half, finishing 49 not out. All four Lancashire bowlers

took wickets with Frank Watson the pick of the bunch with 4-26.

The inclement weather hung about for the three days and took

chunks of play away so that only three innings got underway. Lancashire

lost two wickets for three runs as Hallows and Don Davies both failed to

score [the latter was one of the journalists to lose his life at the

Manchester United 1958 Munich air disaster] but 58 not out from skipper

Jack Sharp enabled him to declare at 203-7 with Eastman taking 4-45.

But rain prevailed and Essex meandered to 184-7 from 110 overs as the

match petered out to a draw.


Essex returned again in August 1930 with Lancashire on their way

to their sixth County Championship title and their fourth in the previous

five years. After Peter Eckersley won the toss, Lancashire batted and on

the back of 72 by Watson and a career-best 54 by number nine Frank

Booth totalled 308 all out with Ken Farnes taking 4-51 from 29 testing

overs.

The Essex reply owed much to opener Dudley Pope, 45, and

number 10 Peter Smith, 49, as they fell 109 runs behind Lancashire with

199 all out with Dick Tyldesley taking 5-54. Second time around only

Eddie Paynter [who played a couple of games for Blackpool in the early

1920s before returning home due to ‘home sickness’] with 63 made

much headway against Smith’s leg breaks and googlies that earned him

5-28 and reduced Lancashire to 176 all out.

Needing 285 for victory, Essex fell well short but without Jimmy

Cutmore, who scored 69.37% of their total, they would have lost by more

than the 174-run deficit that they finished with. Cutmore with 77 was the

only double figure scorer of the innings as the other 10 batsmen

managed only 30 runs between them so that Essex were dismissed for

111. Ted McDonald was the most successful of the Lancashire bowlers

with 4-26.

It was 1948 before Essex appeared in Blackpool once more and

again rain interfered badly with play so much that only two innings were

completed. In what play was possible, batsmen reigned supreme and it

all began with Dickie Dodds scoring 51 out of an Essex opening

partnership of 76. Thereafter his partner Sonny Avery was run out for

146 made in 315 minutes and with Tom Pearce making 137 and Trevor

Bailey 60 not out, Essex were able to declare at 478-7 on the second

day. Avery and Pearce put on a visiting club ground record 147 for the

fifth wicket while Pearce and Bailey added a championship ground

record 111 for the sixth wicket [the Indian tourists put on 113 in 1959.]

Lancashire replied with 494 all out with Winston Place making 176,

Jack Ikin 99 and captain Ken Cranston 74 and a much delayed drawn

game was dominated by the batsmen with Lancashire’s Dick Pollard, 3-

145, Essex’s Ray Smith, 3-135, and Peter Smith’s 3-152, all conceding

over 100 runs and Bailey and Cranston both conceding 87.

Ten years later in 1958 Essex were back at the seaside and even

though it was towards the end of the holiday season in early September

there was a good sized crowd there to see the action. On a Stanley Park

wicket that in those days nearly always favoured the batsmen, Essex

chose to bat and made 271 all out from 76.3 overs. Charles Williams top

scored with 86 and there were 40s from Dodds, 45 and passing 1,000

runs for the season in the process, Gordon Barker, 48, and Doug Insole,

48, while Brian Statham took 4-53 and Malcolm Hilton 4-65.


Lancashire took a very modest first innings lead with 279-8 before

declaring, with the bulk of the runs coming from their numbers two, three

and four batsmen, Alan Wharton, 80, Geoff Pullar, 71, and Peter Marner,

67. The Essex bowlers, Bailey, 3-84, Alan Hurd, also 3-84, and Ken

Preston, 2-74, shared the wickets as they bowled 58.3 of the 62.3 overs

bowled.

Hilton 5-78, and Statham 3-15 reduced Essex to 157 all out

second time around with only Barker, 41, and Michael Bear, 30 not out,

making much impression. So with Lancashire requiring only 150 runs for

victory, it looked odds on a red rose victory. But it was not to be

because, despite 55 from skipper Cyril Washbrook no other batsman

reached 20 and with Hurd, 6-60, and Bailey, 4-15, sharing the wickets

Lancashire, in their 35 th game at the ground, went down to only their

second ever defeat at Stanley Park by 26 runs [Northamptonshire had

been the first visiting team to taste success in 1957.]

Essex were back in 1960 and with skipper Doug Insole winning the

toss, his side batted and it was Insole himself who, with the help of a

certain ‘Barnacle’ Bailey led the way to a first day total of 334-9 from 120

overs. Insole made 105 and with Bailey, 82, put on 199 runs for the

fourth wicket and this is still a ground record for that wicket for a visiting

side. Ken Higgs was the most successful bowler with 6-60, including a

late in the day hat-trick when he dismissed Micky Bear, Roy Ralph and

Bertie Clarke and, being there, I can confirm that it was a relief after the

lengthy Insole/Bailey stand.

Essex declared overnight and Lancashire took all the second day,

119 overs, to make 368-6 with Bob Barber making 97, Geoff Pullar 82,

and Ken Grieves 52. It therefore all boiled down to a one-innings game

on the last day. And after Essex had used 50.1 overs to make 228-7

declared, Lancashire went for the runs early on but once wickets began

to fall, they shut up shop and the two Jacks, Bond, 33, and Dyson, five

and batting down the order, held on at 157-8 from 43 overs.

It was a quick return to Stanley Park for Essex as they were back

in 1961 when rain ruined the second day of the game but, after two early

declarations, turned out fine again for Essex to snatch victory on the final

day. Geoff Smith made 74 from the Essex first innings total of 252-8

declared and there was just time for Lancashire to reach 15 without loss

before the close. They were only able to add 38 runs on the rain ruined

second day and declared at 53-0 in order to try to force a result.

And a result there was but unfortunately it went in Essex’s favour.

After they had declared at 59-2, Lancashire were set 259 for victory but

the damp conditions suited Bill Greensmith’s leg break and googly

bowling and he finished with an excellent 7-46 as only Roy Collins with


41 could make much headway as Lancashire were dismissed for 176 to

lose by 82 runs.

Essex returned in 1963 and after Grieves won the toss, his side

made a modest 187 all out with Bob Bennett, the future Lancashire

chairman, top scoring with 44 as Preston took 5-54 for Essex. Resuming

on their overnight 69-2, Essex went on to make 239 on the second day

with Barker making 118 and Lancashire’s leg spinner Tommy

Greenhough taking 6-60. Lancashire, 133-3, then took an 81-run lead

by the close of the second day and went on to declare at 256-9 with

Marner making 63 and Barry Knight taking 4-61. Requiring 205 for

victory, Essex closed on 157-3, Barker once again in the runs, this time

with 54 not out, and the match was drawn.

It was 17 years before Essex next appeared at Stanley Park and

with the first day of the game washed out, without something spectacular

happening there was never much chance of a positive result. And so it

proved as Lancashire made 244 all out with skipper Frank Hayes

making 41 and welcome runs from down the order from David Hughes,

32, and Paul Allott, 30 not out, as David Acfield wheeled away for 31.2

overs to take 4-72. And with 46 from Ken McEwan and 45 from Mike

Denness, the latter in his final first-class match, Essex almost reached

parity at 226 all out with Hughes taking 5-40. There was sufficient time

remaining for Lancashire to score 152-3 with Andrew Kennedy making

92, before stumps and the match were drawn.

So Essex make their 10 th visit to Stanley Park for next Monday’s

LV= County Championship Division One game, which sees sixth-placed

Lancashire, 87 points, take on second-placed Essex, 106 points. It

should prove to be a fascinating contest and, weather permitting, good

crowds are expected for all four days … please come along to Blackpool

Cricket Club and join in the fun!

Gerry Wolstenholme

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