Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020



One former Worcestershire CCC player has a quirky claim to fame which is unlikely to be equalled.

For batsman Ted Hemsley played cricket for the County on what was also his home ground – as a professional footballer!

It occurred on at least four occasions in County Championship cricket when Hemsley appeared at Bramall Lane – the ground of current surprise Premier League success story Sheffield United – in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

There were many footballer-cricketers in an era when the respective seasons did not overlap to the same extent as now – include Worcestershire’s own Phil Neale and Jim Cumbes.

But only Edward John Orton ‘Ted’ Hemsley experienced his ‘home from ‘home’ status.

In addition to playing first class and List A cricket for Worcestershire from 1962 to 1982, Hemsley also appeared for the Blades from 1968 to 1977.

At that time Bramall Lane was also one of Yorkshire’s regular venues and the spectator stands on only three sides of the ground meant its use was combined with professional football.

The Tykes would play three or four Championship games per season in Sheffield and Hemsley felt home from home in games there in 1968, 1969, 1971 and 1972 when Worcestershire were the visitors.

Figures would indicate that Bramall Lane was clearly a happy hunting ground for spinners.

Worcestershire legend Norman Gifford enjoyed match figures of 37.1-15-69-12 in 1968 and 60.4-26-98-10 three years later.

Yorkshire played at Bramall Lane for the final time in 1973 and shortly afterwards work began in constructing the South Stand over the cricket square and enclosed the football pitch on all four sides.

Hemsley made his Worcestershire first class debut in 1963 and, although he did not feature in the 1964 and 1965 County Championship winning sides, he became a regular member of the team in 1967.

He helped Worcestershire lift another County Championship title in 1974 and three years later hit his career best score of 176 not out versus Lancashire at New Road.

In 1978 enjoyed his best season in terms of runs for Worcestershire with an aggregate of 1,168 included three centuries.

Hemsley ended his cricket career after a benefit year in 1982 having scored 9,740 first class and 4023 List A runs in addition to taking 70 first class and 73 List A wickets with his medium pacers.

All through his cricket career, he combined playing professional football, initially for Shrewsbury Town (1961-68) and then Sheffield United (1968-77).

Hemsley made 235 league appearances for the Shrews and helped Sheffield United to gain promotion to the old First Division in 1970-71.

He went onto make 247 league appearances for Sheffield United before ending his football career with two seasons at Doncaster Rovers.