Monday, December 21st, 2015

Part Six Of Look Back At Worcs Proud History

Part Six Of Look Back At Worcs Proud History

Everyone at Worcestershire CCC has been proud to celebrate the club's 150th Anniversary Year which will reach a climax with a Gatsby Ball in the Graeme Hick Pavilion on December 31.

Now seems an appropriate time to look back at the history of the County via a series of articles on the Worcestershire website.

Here we feature PART SIX – the back to back County Championship triumphs of the mid 1960s and the 1974 triumph with Ron Headley, Roy Booth and Norman Gifford respectively.


Worcestershire won the County Championship title for the first time in 1964 and for good measure repeated their triumph 12 months later.

They also finished runners-up in 1963 and 1966 and reached the final of the Gillette Cup in 1963 and 1966.

The county won the title for the first time by 41 points from Warwickshire after winning 18 of their 28 games – and then came from nowhere to emulate that achievement in 1965.

Paceman Jack Flavell was named one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year after taking 101 wickets – including 46 in five matches during August after returning from injury.

Opening batsman Ron Headley and wicket-keeper Roy Booth believe skipper Don Kenyon, the county's record run-scorer with more than 37,000 first class runs, should take a lot of credit.

Headley said: "The main point is we had a wonderful team captained by Don Kenyon.

"That was the trigger basically. Don was not only a good skipper on the field, he was a good skipper off the field.

"Every player would dive under a bus for Don. He treated us all as men and lifted us all up. We respected him.

"In those days you didn't say 'Don', you said 'Skip'. It was about respect and, of course, he was a great player himself.

"His record was phenomenal, no helmets, uncovered wickets."

Booth said: "One thing is we had a good captain. He wasn't over technical was Don but he was a team player.

"I remember that season he gave away at least two centuries he could have scored himself in going for quick runs to get a declaration.

"He got into the 80s and 90s but played for the team and that was how it went. Everyone was the same in that side."

Worcestershire overcame the disappointment of missing out on the 1963 title on the final day of the season to triumph the following year.

Booth said: "In 1963 we looked as if we were going to win the title right to the last day of the season and Yorkshire beat Glamorgan up at Harrogate in two days.

"The first day of that three day game was rained off when they had to win it to pip us.

"But they bowled Glamorgan out twice with plenty to spare in the end which was very disappointing.

"We finally won it 1964. We'd got a good side headed by Jack Flavell and Len Coldwell, two top bowlers, and other sides used to say the same about them.

"Raymond Illingworth (Yorkshire) said the same, that there wouldn't be two better opening bowlings in the Championship.

"Flavell and Coldwell were unlucky not to play more often for England. Together they would take a lot of beating with their different ways of bowling, one straight and quick, Len bowling good inswing and a good length. They complimented each other.

"Tom Graveney made a big difference after coming to us from Gloucestershire. It made a big difference to the opposition as well when you had someone like Tom coming in at number four and he regained his England place.

"Martin Horton was a good opening batsman and good off spin bowler and we had two left arm spinners in Norman Gifford and Doug Slade while Jim Standen also got wickets.

"We had strength in depth. Bob Carter slotted in and got wickets. We had a good team spirit which makes a lot of difference."

Standen also played as goalkeeper for West Ham and in 1964 and 1965, alongside Worcestershire's double title success, won the FA Cup and European Cup Winners Cup with the Hammers.

In contrast to their runaway success of 1964, Worcestershire came through the field to retain their crown.

Booth said: "Two thirds of the way through the season, we didn't look as if we were anywhere in contention.

"But then we won something like eight matches on the trot and came through to win the title again. It was a lengthy run of victories."

The county also added in Basil D'Oliveira to the side which came out on top in 1964 and barely 12 months after his debut he was representing England for the first time.

Spinner Norman Giffird said: "We already had a really good side which had been building up to what was achieved for a couple of years.

"It was building up from 1961. We were just starting to put it together and it took a couple of years.

"Winning is a habit isn't it and we started to get a bit of that habit. Then when Dolly came in for 1965, he added a lot to us as well."

Nearly a decade later Gifford was captain when Worcestershire again carried off the Championship crown in 1974.

He believes that success could have been built upon had Imran Khan stayed with Worcestershire and not moved to Sussex.

Gifford said: "We had a good side then with people like Glenn Turner and Basil (D'Oliveira). Imran Khan had just started then, and if Imran hadn't been tempted away by Mr Tony Greig to Sussex, I think we could have won it a couple of more times.

"He was just starting to be one hell of an all-rounder. He had just started to realise in that era that he could bowl quick. We could have won it again if he had stayed."