Chris Waters: Pilgrimage for two of Yorkshire’s most famous cricketing sons... Hutton and Booth

Yorkshire cricket legend Len Hutton.

Yorkshire cricket legend Len Hutton.

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THURSDAY week marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of Yorkshire and England’s greatest cricketers.

Sir Leonard Hutton, arguably the finest and most technically correct of English batsmen, was born at Fulneck, Pudsey, on June 23, 1916.

To mark the centenary, a group of Yorkshire CCC aficionados are to pay tribute to Hutton and also to another of Pudsey’s most famous cricketing sons, Major William Booth, who died, aged 29, in the Somme offensive, eight days after Hutton’s birth.

Booth, whose Christian name was Major (it was not his rank), was an all-rounder who played 144 first-class games for Yorkshire and also two Tests for England on their 1913-14 tour of South Africa.

The YCCC group will honour both men on July 1 by trekking through the streets of Pudsey and visiting relevant landmarks.

The pilgrimage will start at Pudsey Congs CC and pass Booth’s house en route to Pudsey Cenotaph and Pudsey St Lawrence CC, for whom Hutton and Booth both played.

It will stop at Pudsey St Lawrence Parish Church, where a tablet is displayed in memory of Booth, before wending its way to Hutton’s birthplace at Fulneck and on to Fulneck School.

There will be a stop for refreshments at a cafe in Fulneck, and anyone interested in joining the group should contact brian186@btinternet.com or michaelpulford@yahoo.co.uk

Before then, on June 23 itself, Hutton’s life will be celebrated in the Long Room at Headingley cricket ground at the 364 Club’s annual lunch.

Keith Moss, the former Yorkshire CCC chairman whose grandparents were neighbours of the Hutton family at Fulneck, founded the club a number of years ago, which takes its name from Hutton’s then world record Test score of 364 against Australia at The Oval in 1938.

Moss, president of Pudsey St Lawrence CC, has brought a number of eminent speakers to the annual lunch over the years, including legendary West Indian all-rounder Sir Garry Sobers.

This year’s speakers are former England captain Mike Brearley and Lord Jeffrey Archer, with more than 400 people having bought tickets.

Hutton, who died at Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, on September 6, 1990, is thus fondly remembered each year at Yorkshire CCC.

He played 341 first-class games for the club between 1934 and 1955, scoring 24,807 runs at an average of 53.34 with 85 centuries.

Of the 12 men who have scored more than 20,000 first-class runs for Yorkshire, only Geoffrey Boycott (57.85) had a better average, and just two, Boycott (103) and Herbert Sutcliffe (112), scored more hundreds.

Hutton, who was England’s first professional captain, had an even better record at Test level, where he averaged 56.67 in scoring 6,971 runs in 79 matches between 1937 and 1955.

He was only 22 and playing in just his sixth Test when he broke the record for the highest individual innings, which remained at the summit until Sobers scored 365 not out against Pakistan at Kingston in 1958.

Wisden wrote of Hutton: “In the Hall of Fame he sits at the high table with the elite, and if English cricket alone is taken into consideration he was one of the two most accomplished professional batsmen to have played for his country, the other being Sir Jack Hobbs.”

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