Cricket: When the world’s fastest bowler played in Harlow

Cricket / Sat 18th Mar 2023 at 12:23pm

FOLLOWING the recent article about Dr Booth XI, an old friend of mine, Colin Godfrey sent through a unique photograph taken at a cricket match played at Long Ley on the Sunday 15 September 1955 between the famous cricket author and commentator, John Arlott’s XI and a Harlow & District XI.

The Harlow XI was made up with locals such as G Heath (Revertex CC) C Munro (Sunvic) B Sutton (Standards) A Phipps (STC) J Perry (Revertex) D Eagle (STC) and others.

The Arlott XI were mainly from Essex CCC including Tom Pearce, Dr CB Clark (West Indies) F B Shepherd and Brian Taylor also Essex and other county players from Hampshire and couple of South Africans. But the big name was a certain Frank (Typhoon) Tyson of Northamptonshire CC and the current England opening bowler at the time!

I quick check via Wikipedia suggested that Tyson (b: 6 June 1930 d: 27 September 2015) earlier that year (1954/55) had toured Australia with England replacing the famous Freddie Trueman.

So, here is a thought.

In 1955, in January to March time, Frank Tyson was playing international cricket for England in Australia* and New Zealand. Then summertime playing county cricket for  Northamptonshire then in September to finish off an exciting cricketing year, a cricket match at glorious Long Ley in Harlow.

As a fast bowler, he was genuinely quick, possibly at that time the fasted in the world, that quick! 

For certain, I wouldn’t fancy facing him on a sporting green top strip at Long Ley for sure.

By Alan Howick

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3 Comments for Cricket: When the world’s fastest bowler played in Harlow:

Keith Feaver
2023-03-18 12:49:33

Frank Tyson was an incredible fast bowler who shot to fame in the mid-1950's. The tour of Ceylon, Australia and New Zealand lasted from September 1954 to March 1955. Tyson took 28 wickets in five Tests and 64 wickets in 14 first-class matches. He missed half of the 1955 season through injury but still managed to take 14 wickets in two Tests against South Africa and 58 wickets in 15 County Championship matches for Northamptonshire (one-day cricket was still eight years away and Northamptonshire played 28 Championship matches that season). He was named as one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year in 1956 for his performances in 1955.

gary roberts
2023-03-18 16:05:32

As a Test match cricket nut [forget the other forms] I can remember when Michael Holding came to Harlow to play starting his run on the boundary and thereby whispering death to the unprotected local team. I can remember how he and the West Indies team destroyed the plans of the then England captain Tony Greig back in the 1976 series. Great memories of the greatest game in the world.

Derek croasdale
2023-03-19 21:35:18

For sure it is gratifying to recall that Local cricket stood out from many sports by having world stars managing to take time off to pit their woes against amatuar players. No motorways in those times I recall seeing Rahan kanahi Harry Philling farook Engineer playing at Fleetwood CC in Lancashire. What happened to these over the years must been around 1968

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