BOB APPLEYARD, the legendary former Yorkshire and England cricketer, has died at the age of 90.
Appleyard passed away at his home in Harrogate this morning after a long battle with ill health.
Appleyard was one of the greatest seam and spin bowlers in the game’s history and played a key role in England’s 1954-55 Ashes success.
He helped Len Hutton’s side win Down Under for the first time since the Bodyline series in 1932-33 and took 31 wickets in nine Test appearances.
Appleyard captured 642 first-class wickets for Yorkshire at 15.42 during a relatively short career in the 1950s, but his story was about so much more than statistics.
Two hundred of those wickets came during his first full season, but Appleyard was then struck down by tuberculosis and was not expected to survive - let alone return to the cricket field.
But Appleyard was imbued with rare powers of determination after a very tough childhood that would have broken many people.
At 13, he lost his younger sister Margaret to diphtheria and, when he was 15, his father, stepmother and two little sisters were found gassed in the bathroom of their home in Bradford.
Appleyard was taken in by his stepmother’s parents and became a devout Christian, worshipping regularly until the end of his life.
The death from leukaemia of his young son, Ian, and later the death of a grandson, John, from the same disease, brought further sorrow to his door, but Appleyard always battled on, which was always his trademark as a cricketer.
When he hung up his boots after just five full seasons, Appleyard’s place in the game’s pantheon was assured and he remained heavily involved in Yorkshire cricket.
He was largely responsible for setting up the Yorkshire Cricket Academy and he fought tirelessly to bring Yorkshire back to his beloved Park Avenue.