One of a group of talented youngsters that was engaged on the Trent Bridge groundstaff in the years immediately before the Second World War, Steve Yates was an attacking middle order right hand batsman and a medium pace bowler, though after the war he concentrated more on off-spin.
Born in Walter Gerald Yates in Warsop on June 18 1919, his early cricket was for Welbeck Colliery. He had a trial at Trent Bridge in 1936 and was invited to join the playing staff without pay, but with 15 shillings train fare. In 1937 he came on the staff on a full-time basis and made his mark with the Seconds, scoring 123 and 56, both not out, against Derbyshire. Yates then made his First-Class debut and although he only scored modestly in three innings in Championship matches, the local papers were clearly impressed. In the end of season review, The Journal noted: “Yates stands out as the most likely batting discovery for years.”
In 1938 he hit another hundred, v Derbyshire Seconds, and played in three First-Class matches but in 1939 he made no first team appearances and failed to hit a fifty for the Seconds. Whilst on the Playing Staff he appeared as a pro at various times for Manton Colliery and Firbeck Colliery. He applied to rejoin the Notts Staff in 1946, after war service, but his application was turned down. In 1946 he joined Blidworth Colliery and played for them with great successful for eleven seasons. He then appeared for Chesterfield and for Notts Forest CC on Sundays.
A very outgoing character, he felt deeply upset that the County Club did not allow him another chance as a professional in the post-war years, but he continued in Notts club cricket into his 60s. He was by occupation a heating engineer.
'Steve' Yates died on December 15, 2008. His brother Jack was engaged on the Trent Bridge staff in 1938 and 1939 and it is difficult to separate the performances of the two. He should not be confused with G W Yates, a Nottingham High School batsman who played for the Seconds in the 1950s.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 365