opinions and controversial team selections have been a feature of YMCA Cricket
Club for over a century and the reaction to the recent publication of the club’s
finest ever squad of players proves that heated debates are not a thing of the
The All-Time Greatest
Team at the Anniversary Dinner in July
The YMCA’s All-Time Greatest
Team appeared in the recently published
Cricket Club - A 125 Years of History written by sports writer, Joyce
Woolridge with assistance from her partner & Second Eleven bowler, Andy Spicer.
The players were picked from
the many thousands of cricketers who have appeared for the ‘Christians’ since
its beginnings in 1878. The final outstanding group of individuals were chosen
using the framework of a traditionally balanced team; including a Captain,
wicket-keeper, a four man bowling attack, including one spinner, two opening
batsmen and one all rounder.
To assist the selection panel
with their difficult, if not impossible task, the team were chosen using a wide
range of reference material. This included the club’s official averages &
statistics, extensive archive records and, most importantly, invaluable
contributions from players, past and present. Each candidate was selected using
a combination of attributes, including the players cricketing achievements,
their potential, impact on the club during their career and overall contribution
to the club’s off-the-field activities.
Take a look at the
brilliant collection of cricketing giants chosen from as far back as the turn of
the 19th century...
R.S. Cork – As one of the YMCA’s most respected batsmen, Ray Cork is
probably best remembered for his opening partnership with fellow All-Time Eleven
batsmen, Keith Milsom during the 70’s and 80’s but Ray proved to be a prolific
batsmen and athletic fielder in his own right. Bristol born, Ray’s early career
began in spectacular fashion with an appearance in the 1964 Plate Final v
Imperial at the County Ground in which he helped take the match to the final
over. During the following 30 years of first team cricket at Golden Hill, Ray
amassed more than 10,000 runs in over 600 appearances before retiring to take
the post of Club Chairman between 1995 – 2000.
Keith Milsom in 1973
K. Milsom – Probably the YM’s most consistent and long serving batsmen
over its 125 year history, Keith Milsom remains a highly respected left handed
opening batsmen by his First Eleven team-mates and opposition alike. Milsom, who
holds an impressive list of league and club records, has played for the YM’
since the late sixties during which time he has scored nearly 14,000 senior runs
including an unprecedented fifty half centuries. His other achievements include
the record for the most runs in one season (617 in 1995), the most First Eleven
innings (405) and the record for most league catches (154). However, Milsom’s
contributions extend far wider than individual performances, as well as forming
part of arguably the YM’s greatest ever opening pairing with R.S.Cork, he also
captained the First Eleven for 8 seasons including the promotion season of 1980
and remains a key member of the club structure.
Johnson with on of the
club's youngest players, Oliver Sutcliffe
Rev. D.C. Johnson
- Reverend David Johnson, the son of Eddie Johnson, remains in the eyes of many,
the YM’s greatest ever Captain and with much justification. Johnson, who still
lives in Bristol, made his debut at just 13 and in the years before WWII was
given a masterclass in captaincy by some of the finest players to represent the
club including the famous
pre-war skipper, E.R.Clarke.
naturally attacking batsmen who scored thousands of runs for the club, Johnson
as First Eleven skipper
between 1955 – 1959 which covered the era when the club, perhaps, enjoyed its
most successful period in its history.
THE MIDDLE ORDER:
Don joined the YMCA in 1956, making his First
Eleven debut as a wicket keeper. Primarily a batsman, Don could also bowl. He
skippered the YM First Eleven in the 1960s, including the 1964 Plate Final.
A prolific batsman, Edwin Johnson began playing
for the YM in 1899. From then on he was to prove himself a master batsman,
serving the YM with the distinction for over thirty years and making a record
stand of 278 in 1929, before retiring in 1935. An unorthodox player, he was able
to cope with even the toughest bowling, through improvising shots.
THE WICKET KEEPER:
Lionel Harris - An
L.C.Harris – Although not exclusively a wicket keeper, Lionel Harris’s
skill with the gloves and, most notably the bat, wins him the coveted place as
YM’s greatest wicket keeper/batsmen against stiff opposition. Six footer,
Harris' distinguished cricket career spanned three decades during which time he
became a regular member of the First Eleven scoring over 2600 runs in over 100
appearances as well as taking countless catches behind the stumps. His elegant
batting style will be best remembered when he scored a stylish 123 not out for
the Second Eleven against Chipping Sodbury
THE ALL ROUNDER:
V.R. Davis - Universally recognised as the YMCA’s greatest individual
player, 6ft 4” Roy Davis achievements stand head and shoulders above his
contemporaries and there is little doubt that would have made the All-Time
Eleven as either a batsmen or bowler in his own right. Davis joined the YM in
1932 at the age of 17 before becoming the First Eleven captain in 1946 and
eventually playing for Gloucestershire Second Eleven at his peak. He continued
to play for the club for a period stretching over four decades until his
retirement in 1968.
During this remarkable 36 year career, the slow left arm spinner collected 1001
senior wickets with amazing consistency (highlighted by a bowling average
approaching 10) and the respect of ever top Bristol batsmen of his generation.
As with every great all rounder, Davis also contributed with the bat and could
boast an impressive tally of runs thanks, in the main, to an array of big shots.
Although many of the records are now lost, it is almost certain that he scored
over 5000 runs, mostly from the lower order, to be the undisputed all rounder
champion of Golden Hill. Ten years after his career ended, Davis returned to
become Club President between 1978 and 1996. A truly great player.
M.J.A. Hutton – The one player who, had he played for the YM for longer,
would have surely challenged V.R.Davis for the crown as ‘Greatest Player’. Mike
was a member of the well known Hutton family who were feature of the Golden Hill
scene for many decades - although it was Mike that shone brightest. A naturally
gifted cricketer whose was equally at home with the bat or ball, Hutton was one
of very few YM players ever to have been selected for the Bristol & District
team in which he excelled. Hutton finished his relatively short career at the
club with a hugely impressive set of statistics including an average of 27 with
the bat and 16 with the ball.
J.P.Ireland – One of the greatest spin bowlers ever to have played for
the YMCA, John Ireland’s record speaks for itself. Ireland’s intelligent bowling
secured him over 640 dismissals in a highly respected career that bridged the
60s, 70’s and 80’s. Other achievements included, most notably, the record for
the most wickets in one season for a First Eleven bowler, 46 in 1982 and a
remarkable haul of 8 wickets for 10 runs against Hanham in 1973 - a spell that
gave the club its first ever victory in league cricket.
J.F. Chidgey – Throughout the 1990’s the YMCA’s first team strike bowler,
James Chidgey has developed a reputation as one of the Bristol’s most feared
fast bowlers. Chidgey began his career in 1980 and was an impressive performer
from the outset. His consistency has produced a club record that can only be
matched by a handful of former players, His achievements to date include
reaching the 650 senior wickets barrier (an official club record) and the best
individual bowling figures of 9 for 22 v Robinsons in July 1992. However, it was
not just with the ball that Jim has contributed. As well as an experienced
fielder, Jim can boast a good batting average of over 10 which has produced many
vital innings in the lower order on matchdays. His batting skills were tested to
the full in one of YM’s most famous league victories, over Gordano Valley, in
which Jim made his highest score of 67* during a remarkable unbroken, match
winning eighth wicket stand of 145.
M.J. Whale – One of two outstanding brothers who represented the YM for
many years during the 70’s and 80’s, Mike Whale’s selection can be justified,
not only by his accomplished batting and bowling, but also by his competitive
attitude and enthusiasm. The powerfully built fast bowler’s wicket tally quickly
increased after he joined the First Eleven in 1975 and during 1985 he took 41
wickets to secure the second highest total of league dismissals in one season.
Whale also took as on a spell as First Eleven captain in 1984 before moving on
the to play for and captain Knowle CC.
More information about John
Ireland, Lionel Harris and James Chidgey can be found at the
Player Profiles section.