Norman Yardley: Yorkshire's Gentleman Player

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By Martin Howe

In today’s world, when cricket is driven by commercial considerations and the true spirit of the game is easily lost in a win at all costs attitude, it is refreshing to have a biography of a man who respected cricket’s traditions and played the game for the joy of it. Such a man was Norman Yardley, a fine all-round cricketer who scored over 18,000 runs, took almost 300 wickets in his first-class career, and, as an amateur, was a natural choice to captain England and Yorkshire after the War.

A knowledgeable and astute captain, nevertheless some Yardley lacked the ruthlessness of a Bradman and was not hard enough on some of the rebellious characters in the Yorkshire dressing room. But if his record as captain was disappointing, this was more to do with the strength of the opponents than any shortcomings of his own.

Martin Howe’s biography covers not just Yardley’s cricket career but also his life in business, journalism and broadcasting and his committee work for Yorkshire CCC. No one had an unkind word to say about Norman Yardley. His personal qualities shone through in all he did on and off the cricket field. He was indeed Yorkshire’s gentleman cricketer.

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