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Sunday, 17 May 2009





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Wilfred Rhodes at 52 years and 165 days-oldest to appear in a Test

Wilfred Rhodes - longest Test career, oldest Test cricketer and most first-class appearances.

Wilfred Rhodes: Yorkshire cricket was personified in the great period of the country's domination by a shrewd, dour but quick to seize opportunity. For Yorkshire he scored more than 30,000 runs averaging 30 an innings. For Yorkshire, he took, 3,608 wickets at 16 runs per wicket.

When he was not playing for Yorkshire, in his spare time, so as to say, he played for England and amassed 2,000 runs, average 30 and took 127 wickets at the cost of 26.96 apiece. He was the oldest player to play in a Test Match. He was 52 years and 165 days on the last day of the England - West Indies match at Kingston in 1929-30.

First Test

In his first Test, he was last in the batting order, and at Sydney, in the 1903-04 `rubber', he took part in the most persistent and prolific Test match last-wicket partnership to this day. He helped R.E. Foster to add 140 for the 10th wicket, his share was 40 not out. Then 8 years afterwards he went in first for England at Melbourne, and against Australia, he was the partner for Hobbs in the record first wicket stand of 323 runs.

His career is legendary, it does indeed like a fairy tale. He was not 21 years old when he first bowled for Yorkshire in a match against MCC at Lord's. In his career spanning from 1898 to 1930, he made 39,797 runs, had 1,532 innings, 236 times not out HS: 236, 100s-58, 1,000 runs 21 times and average 30.70.

During the period Rhodes and Hobbs opened every England innings by prescriptive right, Rhodes put aside his bowling. In the Australian `rubber' of 1911-12, he contributed only 18 overs. But then the War came, reducing Yorkshire attack.

In 1919, Yorkshire needed again the spin and flight of Rhodes, so he picked up his bowling arts exactly where years before he had laid them down, picked them as though he had not lost touch for a moment. He headed the bowling averages of 1919 - 164 wickets, averaging 14.42 in 1048 overs. He was nearly, 42 by the calendar.

In 1902, he had gone in last for England at Kingston Oval when 15 runs were wanted to beat Australia. George Hurst, with whom he always opened Yorkshire's attack, was holding the wicket at the other end. England, however, won the match by one wicket.

Then 24 years afterwards, Rhodes in his 49th year was recalled to the England XI and was one of the main causes of Australia's defeat and England's emergence from years in the wilderness on this, his last appearance for. England, Rhodes took the wickets of Woodfull, Ponsford, Richardson (twice), Collins and Bardslay for 79 runs. He had probably lost by then much of his old quick vitality fingered spin, but as he explained, "If batsmen think as I'm spinning them, then I am" - a remark quite to the point."

In one of his matches nearing the tail-end of his career against Australia, Wilfred Rhodes performed well in the game on August 14, 16, 17 and 18 in 1926 at The Oval. Rhodes took 2 for 35 and 4 for 44 in 20 overs in the second innings and Australia were all out for 302 in the first innings and 125 in the second innings.

England won the Test by 289 runs as they made 280 in the first innings and 436 in the second innings.

ENGLAND: 280 (J. B. Hobbs 37, H. Sutcliffe 76, F. E. Woolley 18, A. P. F. Chapman 49, G. T. S. Stevens 17, Wilfred Rhodes 28, M. W. Tate 23; C. Grimmet 2 for 74, A. A. Mailay 6 for 138) and 436 (J. B. Hobbs 100, H. Sutcliffe 161, F. E. Woolley 27, G. T. S. Stevens 22, M. W. Tate 33 not out; J. M. Gregory 2 for 58, Charlie Grimmett 3 for 108, A. A. Mailay 3 for 128).

AUSTRALIA: 302 (W. M. Woodfull 35, C. G. Macartrey 25, H. L. Collins 61, J. M. Gregory 73, W. A. Oldfield 33 not out, C. V. Grimmett 35, M. W. Tate 3 for 40, H. Larwood 3 for 82, Willfred Rhodes 2 for 35) and 125 (W. Bardley 21, W. A. S. Oldfield 23, H. Larwood 3 for 34, Wilfred Rhodes 20-9-44-4.

Rhodes was a great player and one of the greatest in cricket's history, not only for his all-round performances. He also scored nearly 40,000 runs in 37 seasons and bagged, 4,184 wickets. He was great because his cricket was played with the best and representative of Yorkshire Xounry. In his old age, he lost his eyesight.He was born at Kirheaton, West Riding on October 29th 1877 and died near his home in Dorset, July 8th 1973. He was blind since 1952.


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