George Gibson Macaulay, the forgotten Yorkshire bowler

Fourth on the list of leading Yorkshire wicket-takers in first-class cricket is George Macaulay, a bowler who is largely forgotten by everyone today.

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Old Ebor

From 1893 to 1931, Alfred Pullin wrote for the Yorkshire Post and the Yorkshire Evening Post under the pseudonym "Old Ebor". He wrote at length, he wrote about sport and he wrote with authority. His articles are surprisingly readable and well-informed. Rather neglected today, he was well-respected in his lifetime and afterwards. Aside from being well-connected with most of the leading cricketers of his time, he led an interesting life.

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Macaulay’s last years with Yorkshire: “one of the most determined and attractive bowlers of the day”

In total, George Macaulay took 1,837 first-class wickets at an average of 17.65. In eight Test matches, he took 24 wickets at an average of 27.58. With the bat, he scored 6,055 runs at an average of 18.07 and in the field he held 373 catches. He took 100 wickets in a season ten times, a record only surpassed by four others for Yorkshire, while only three other Yorkshire bowlers have taken 200 wickets in a season. He also took four hat-tricks. With Macaulay in the side, Yorkshire won the Championship in 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1931, 1932, 1933 and 1935.

Yorkshire in 1924: “…in danger of becoming social outcasts”

Although Yorkshire were County Champions in 1924, it was not a good season for them. Amid their uncertain form, the defeat by Middlesex at Lord’s was followed by the Waddington Incident, a public spat with Middlesex, and the public censure of Abe Waddington by the MCC. After this, Yorkshire  were bowled out for 33 by Lancashire while chasing 58 to win at Headingley; in games against the other "Big Six" counties (Middlesex, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Surrey and Kent), they had a poor record. The batting was uncertain. The remainder of Yorkshire’s season remained bumpy. The Times correspondent noted, while reporting on the Waddington Incident, that pavilion gossips and Lord's and the Oval could talk of little else. And when Yorkshire played Surrey at the Oval at the end of August, these particular gossips had a chance for first-hand involvement.

The Waddington Incident: “An unseemly outburst on the part of a section of the crowd”

In the early 1920s, Yorkshire County Cricket Club dominated the County Championship. Although beaten by Middlesex in 1920 and 1921, the latter Championship was very close and many cricket followers believed that Yorkshire had the better team. Between 1922 and 1925,  the club were champions each season; in 1923 Yorkshire were defeated just once, and in 1925 not at all. Unfortunately for the club, this dominance brought criticism of the way that Yorkshire played. There were suggestions of unhappiness in 1923, but in 1924 the situation boiled over in an incident involving Abe Waddington in a match between Yorkshire and Middlesex at Sheffield.

George Macaulay in 1925: On top of his game

The culmination of Macaulay’s career came, in many ways, in 1925. Yorkshire won their last Championship for six years and Macaulay took over 200 wickets despite a hot summer which produced ideal batting conditions for much of the time. Wisden purred about his accuracy, success on good pitches and against the best opposition.

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