Yorkshire cricket in mourning for Phil Sharpe

Leeds, Headingley, 12th July 1970. ''As soon as the rain stopped Yorkshire openers Phil Sharpe (left) and Geoff Boycott were ready to resume
Leeds, Headingley, 12th July 1970. ''As soon as the rain stopped Yorkshire openers Phil Sharpe (left) and Geoff Boycott were ready to resume
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He is widely regarded as one of the greatest slip fielders of all time and will live forever as one of the greatest players ever to play for Yorkshire.

Last night Yorkshire’s cricket fans were mourning the loss of Philip Sharpe, the former Yorkshire and England batsman, who died in hospital at the age of 78 following a short illness.

1970: ''Phil Sharpe, a familiar pose for Yorkshire's ace slip-fielder.

1970: ''Phil Sharpe, a familiar pose for Yorkshire's ace slip-fielder.

Yorkshire County Cricket Club plans to mark the death of Sharpe on the opening day of the County Championship Roses match at Headingley, 
with a minute’s silence or a minute’s applause before the start of the game being considered.

Players are also likely to wear black armbands.

Danny Reuben, Yorkshire’s head of media and marketing, said: “Philip was such an integral part of that great Yorkshire team of the 50s and 60s, and he played for England as well.

“We feel it is important to pay tribute to such a wonderful Yorkshire cricketer.

Lords, September 1965. ''Gillette Cricket Cup Final. Surrey v Yorkshire.'' Yorkshire captain Brian Close holds the cup aloft watched by his victorious team- ''Don Wilson, Doug Padgett, John Hampshire, Ken Taylor, Brian Close, Ray Illingworth, Ffreddie Trueman, Richard Hutton, Jimmy Binks, Phil Sharpe, Geoff Boycott.

Lords, September 1965. ''Gillette Cricket Cup Final. Surrey v Yorkshire.'' Yorkshire captain Brian Close holds the cup aloft watched by his victorious team- ''Don Wilson, Doug Padgett, John Hampshire, Ken Taylor, Brian Close, Ray Illingworth, Ffreddie Trueman, Richard Hutton, Jimmy Binks, Phil Sharpe, Geoff Boycott.

“Through the Yorkshire Players’ Association, the club is in contact with Philip’s family.

“Whatever we agree to do to mark his passing will be done with the family’s blessing, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this sad time.”

Sharpe, who was born in Shipley on December 27, 1936, played 411 first-class games for Yorkshire between 1958 and 1974.

He scored 17,685 runs during that time at an average of 29.72, with 23 hundreds and a top score of 203 not out against Cambridge University at Fenner’s in 1960.

In 1963, he was one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year, the almanack capturing his unique style.

Dickie Bird, the Yorkshire County Cricket Club president, knew Sharpe from their younger days.

“I grew up with Philip in the nets at Yorkshire,” he recalled. “We both came through the Yorkshire system at the same time.

“He was one of the best slip fielders I ever saw. He would be ranked among the very best alongside the likes of Mark Waugh, Bobby Simpson, Ian Botham and Ian Chappell.

“Philip was also a pugnacious batsman, who was very strong off his back foot. His trademark shot was punching the ball through mid-wicket. He picked up the length of the ball very quickly.

“In my opinion, he should have played more times for England. His batting record at Test level was fantastic.

“My sympathies go out to his family. Philip was a true gentleman and he will be a sad loss to Yorkshire cricket.”

“To the casual observer Philip Sharpe, the Yorkshire number three batsman, could be anything except a professional sportsman,” wrote Wisden.

“He has one of those skins which does not redden or tan in the summer sun and there is more of a suggestion of the bowler hat and rolled umbrella than a cricket bat or hockey stick.

“He is only five feet seven inches, but he has a pair of broad shoulders.

“He is stocky and compact, but he gives the impression of being dumpy because he wears trousers with plenty of room in the beam.

“He is probably the best slip fieldsman in the country today and he says: ‘I like room to move and bend in comfort.’”