YORKSHIRE take on Nottinghamshire in the County Championship at Headingley from tomorrow and if it is anything like as memorable as the corresponding match between the counties 82 years ago it will certainly be an extraordinary affair.
Why, it might even inspire somebody to write a book about it one day, which, funnily enough, is exactly what I have done about the fixture at Leeds 82 summers ago in which Yorkshire’s Hedley Verity took 10-10.
‘10 for 10: Hedley Verity and the Story of Cricket’s Greatest Bowling Feat’, published by John Wisden & Co, priced £10.99, tells the story of the amazing game in July, 1932 in which Verity took the world record figures in first-class cricket.
It is a book of just over 40,000 words and narrates the match in relation to Verity’s life and remarkable career.
The seeds of the book were sown in my childhood when I came across Verity’s feat in the records section of the Wisden almanack.
As a boy, I was fascinated by the figures and records of the game, and 10 for 10 sounded to me like something out of a fairy story, as though fashioned by the pen of Hans Christian Andersen.
Verity’s record stayed with me and, at the turn of the millennium, a remarkable thing happened when I chanced to meet the last survivor of the historic fixture.
Frank Shipston opened the batting for Nottinghamshire – he was Verity’s second victim – and, in December, 2000, I met him while working for the Nottingham Evening Post after he had become the oldest living county cricketer, aged 94.
He was a lovely chap and he retained hazy memories of the amazing occasion.
In 2004, the year after I joined the Yorkshire Post, I then chanced to meet Verity’s son, Douglas, during an exhibition at Headingley to mark the 100th anniversary of his father’s birth.
Douglas brought over the 10 for 10 ball from his home in North Wales and I became fortunate enough to count him as a friend.
After writing about that exhibition in the Yorkshire Post, and my long-standing interest in the 10 for 10 feat, a gentleman from Earby wrote to me to say that he had been present at the famous match.
John Robert Richardson was 90 years old when I drove out to see him, one of just 2,000 or so spectators privileged to have been a witness to sporting history.
So, for me, 10 for 10 has always held a special fascination, and I felt it was important to try to illuminate this incredible world record by one of the greatest cricketers Yorkshire and England has ever produced.
Verity was a truly remarkable bowler and, by all accounts, a truly remarkable man too, and it was a great honour to find myself in the happy position to tell this story.
The book will be officially launched tomorrow during the lunch interval in the East Stand Long Room.
Feel free to come along and hurl abuse at me – provided, of course, you buy a copy.