Published: 20th April, 2014
With families celebrating Easter up and down the country, kiaoval.com is taking some seasonal terminology and giving it a cricketing spin.
Surrey CCC has produced many great bowlers down the years. These men have repeatedly dismissed some of the world’s finest batsmen and given crowds at The Oval thrills in both Surrey and England shirts.
However, who were the unfortunate men at the other end who were most frequently dismissed by these men? If you like, who were their Easter Bunnies?
Although a martial decision, this article will focus on only five of the great Surrey men over the years: Alec Bedser, Martin Bicknell, Tony Lock, Jim Laker and Pat Pocock. If it is received well, perhaps five more can get the treatment in 2015?
Fittingly for a bowler of his reputation and stature, Alec Bedser’s ‘bunny’ was no mug himself, he was the great Australian Arthur Morris, who Bedser dismissed 22 times.
In possession of a Test average of 46.48 with 12 centuries and 3,533 runs, Morris is described by Gideon Haigh as ‘the acme of elegance’. However, despite his obvious class, he was no match for Surrey’s whole hearted seamer, who had him caught for two by Wally Hammond on his Test debut at the Gabba in 1946.
One of the great county seam bowlers of his generation, Bicknell never got the chances many felt he deserved at International level. With this in mind, the identity of his ‘bunny’ is quite appropriate, Leicestershire opener Darren Maddy, another top county batsman who many feel never got the opportunity for England his talent deserved.
Maddy was dismissed 11 times by Bicknell, including, somewhat predictably, in 2003 the classic Surrey dismissal ‘ct Stewart bwld Bicknell’
A superb spinner in his own right, Lock is often remembered for being the secondary half of the ‘Laker and Lock’ spin double act that helped Surrey to the most successful period in county history.
His bunny is popular Sussex and England wicket keeper Jim Parks, who was dismissed by the wily leggie on 18 occasions during his first-class career that lasted an improbable 27 years. Although primarily a ‘keeper, Parks was still a fine batsman, averaging 34.76 in first-class cricket with 51 centuries – including two at Test level.
The other half of the duo was Yorkshire born but Surrey bred off spinner Jim Laker, most famous for his extraordinary match figures of 19-90 against Australia at Old Trafford in 1953.
His ‘bunny’ was Arthur Milton, a Gloucestershire man who was the last dual international in both football and cricket. Although he struggled at Test level, Milton was a superb servant of his county, scoring 32,150 first-class runs in a career spanning from 1948 to 1974. However, he was no match for the Surrey spinner, who had his name on fourteen occasions.
Laker’s list of regular victims bears further examination however, as it very much underlines his class. He dismissed the great Bill Edrich and Doug Insole thirteen times and both Keith Miller and Clyde Walcott, who have reputations spanning many generations, 12 times.
An oft overlooked great in the Surrey ranks, spinner Pat Pocock took over 1,600 first-class wickets.
Eleven of these initially belonged to Clive Radley, a fine servant of Middlesex, described by Cricinfo as ‘not the most gifted or graceful batsman, but he more than made up for that with determination, hard work, and the absence anything approaching risk’.
Radley, who would go onto become Head Coach of the MCC, averaged 35.44 in first-class cricket and hit 46 centuries, was a very fine player indeed but had no answer for Pocock, Surrey’s popular maestro of the 60s, 70s and 80s.
With thanks and appreciation for the work of Brian Cowley and the Surrey CCC Research Group