General News | 22nd July 2008
Something In Common
Cricket Historian Peter Wynne-Thomas profiles the players who have moved to Yorkshire from Notts over the years.
It was a long standing tradition, if not a strict rule, that only men born within the county boundary could play for Yorkshire.
Ironically it seems to have been a Nottinghamshire man who first ensured that this edict was adhered to. Michael Ellison was born in Worksop and played for Nottinghamshire against Surrey at The Oval in June 1852.
In fact he only appeared in emergency when William Selby who was picked to play was ‘indisposed’. Ellison had already played once for Yorkshire – against Kent in 1849 – and made one later appearance, against Sussex in 1855. The latter match was the first county game staged on the ground Ellison effectively created, Bramall Lane.
In business life, Ellison was the land agent to the Duke of Norfolk, who owned large chunks of Sheffield, including Bramall Lane and Ellison actually paid the £70 annually rent for the new ground. He was elected President of Yorkshire in 1866 and held the post until his death in 1898. A remarkably fit man it was claimed that he shot grouse on the first day of the season for 70 consecutive years.
At the annual Lord’s meeting of county officials Ellison would try, in vain, to persuade delegates to adopt the rule of using county-born only players. Rather embarrasingly the Yorkshire captain of the day (from 1883 to 1910) was Lincolnshire-born, Lord Hawke!
Aside from Michael Ellison, the Yorkshire-born rule seems to have kept Nottinghamshire’s players away until as recently, when at last one crept under the fence. David Lucas, who then moved on to Northants, made a single first-class appearance for Yorkshire in 2005 v Bangladesh A when he took eight wickets for 84.
In his other Yorkshire three day game that year Lucas took six for 20 against Bradford/Leeds UCCE. He did played in five limited overs games for the county but with little success.
Lucas had made his Notts 2nd XI debut in 1996 and been on the staff at Trent Bridge from 1999 to 2004.
According to the book on Yorkshire Cricketers, John Hall, who was born in Nottingham in 1815, played for Nottingham, prior to playing for Yorkshire.