The information is presented in the first two chapters of his biography. Laker's mother was born circa in the Barnsley area. She was called Ellen Oxby and was the daughter of a railway worker and his wife who had moved to south Yorkshire from their native Lincolnshire. When Ellen was 20, circa , she married a man called James Henry Kane, who was a journeyman printer from Bradford.
Over the next few years, Ellen had two daughters, called Mollie and Margaret. Six years later, circa , she had a third daughter called Doreen and, at around the same time, Kane deserted her. Hill discovered that Kane's family ostracised him but there was never a divorce, and so Ellen continued to be known as Ellen Kane. In order to make ends meet, Ellen followed the example of her sister Emily Oxby and became a schoolteacher of infant and junior children, working at schools in the Shipley district, which is in Airedale, north of Bradford.
Some years later, she became involved with a man called Charles Henry Laker. They set up home together and a daughter, Susie, was born in It is not clear from Hill's researches if Charles Laker joined the armed forces during World War I or if, as a qualified stonemason, he was reserved. In February , the family were living in Shipley at 36, Norwood Road, which is where Jim Laker, originally known as Charlie, was born.
Jim was 2 years old when this happened and was told that his father had died. He maintained that he had no recollection of his father and had never even seen a photograph of him. In the s, only a few years before Jim's death, he discovered that his father had moved to Barnoldswick and had died there in after working locally as a stonemason. It transpired that Laker senior had left Ellen to live in Barnoldswick with a woman called Annie Sutcliffe.
She was buried beside him, having died in , and it is possible that she knew about her famous quasi-stepson. Meanwhile, the Kane family pulled together and, as Hill says, "ringfenced" the situation. In , Ellen was working at the church school in Calverley. As Hill asserted, the priority in those times was to "silence gossip-mongering" and protect the vital teaching role. Ellen was therefore, correctly, Mrs Kane at school but, not so, she assumed the pretence of "aunt".
Apparently, no one who knew the family thought that Ellen was the mother of Susie and Jim. It was simply accepted that they were orphans and she was their aunt. Hill discovered that the children sometimes resided with a family living over a grocer's shop in Baildon.
It seems that this was Margaret's family so the children on those occasions were staying with "another aunt", in fact their half-sister , perhaps because Ellen was ill or for work reasons.
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In the years around , Ellen was employed at Frizinghall Council School, which Jim attended until This entitled him to a free place at the Salts High School in nearby Saltaire. This was a sound relationship and Jim was able to enjoy a settled home life through his senior school years. The family moved to Kirklands Avenue in Baildon.
Doreen married and went to live in Eastbourne. In due course, Susie married and moved on too, but Jim lived with Ellen and Bert until he joined the Army in Jim left school in February and obtained full-time employment at Barclays Bank in Bradford city centre. Ellen was distraught when Jim volunteered for active service, especially as he lied about his age and said he was twenty. He set sail a few days later and, until , served in Palestine and Cairo, although he was never involved in front line fighting.
Bert had died during the war and Ellen was forced to sell the house in Baildon. She had moved to Manningham, not far from Valley Parade Jim was a lifelong Bradford City supporter , and was still working as a supply teacher even though she was Her health had declined and Jim was worried about her.
Shortly before his leave was due to end, she suggested that he visit Doreen in Eastbourne. He agreed and, while he was travelling, she collapsed and died of a massive heart attack. With Susie and his half-sisters all married, Jim's northern roots were broken and he no longer had any pressing reason to return to Bradford.
He was able to keep his options open when his military service ended. He had to return to Egypt, by way of Italy, before he was finally repatriated but he still had a year of service to perform before demobilisation. He was posted to Shorncliffe at Folkestone in late and spent a month there in freezing cold conditions. He then negotiated a transfer to the War Office itself, in central London.
He was invited by an army friend called Colin Harris to lodge with his family in Forest Hill, a couple of miles from Catford. It was meant to be a temporary arrangement but Laker ended up living with the Harris family for over five years, until he was due to get married himself. His demobilisation was in August and he had the option of a permanent career, perhaps even a commission, in the Regular Army. He considered a return to banking and asked Barclays if they would reinstate him and transfer him to a London branch. They agreed, but as Fred Robinson, one of Laker's old school friends later told Alan Hill, "neither of those ventures ever really came within his considerations".
The reason why Mr Robinson held that opinion was because Jim Laker had, through many years, developed into a cricketer of enormous potential. As soon as he was demobbed, Surrey offered him a professional contract which, having gained Yorkshire's permission, he signed. Laker played cricket continuously from an early age with the full encouragement of his mother, who was a lifelong enthusiast of the game. Alan Hill was told by Susie's son that Ellen used to make Susie bowl to Jim because she was convinced he had the makings of a batsman.
He was a regular member of the Salts High School team, playing primarily as a batsman but also as a fast bowler. In March , aged 16, he was invited to attend special coaching by Yorkshire in their winter shed at Headingley. Hill recounts that Ellen tried without success to sabotage his debut by trying to get Jim into the Baildon team.
He played for Salts for three seasons, on one occasion scoring a century. Laker recalled that Ellen took him to Leeds to buy new cricket gear at Herbert Sutcliffe's shop. He said the sacrifice she made was "frightening to contemplate" but she was determined to see him succeed as a cricketer. Charlie Lee, one of Laker's Saltaire team-mates, had a similar recollection saying that "Jim bowled all sorts of stuff and generally enjoyed himself without ever appearing to have the makings of a great bowler".
Although Laker did enough at Saltaire to be well remembered, his cricketing career really gathered pace and took off while he was with the RAOC in Egypt. Playing on coconut matting wickets in inter-service matches, he decided to develop the off spin technique he had been taught by Benny Wilson.
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He recalled that, "to my utter amazement", he could turn the ball "quite prodigiously" on these matting strips. Although Laker would have loved to play for Yorkshire, his circumstances after the end of the war led almost inevitably to his being approached by Surrey. While he was resident with the Harrises at Forest Hill, he continued to play for service teams and, in March , he joined Catford Cricket Club.
Jim Laker: A Biography - Alan Hill - Google книги
Kempton knew Andy Sandham , the former England opening batsman who was Surrey's coach in , and recommended Laker. Sandham invited Laker for a trial at the Oval. Laker had the creditable figures of three for 78 and three for He was still in the RAOC at the time but was demobilised in August; Surrey immediately offered him a professional contract, subject to Yorkshire's approval. Laker bowled well at county level in , taking 79 wickets and topping the Surrey bowling averages. His best performances were at Portsmouth, where he dismissed Hampshire with eight for 69, and at Chelmsford, where he took seven for 94 against Essex.
Whether he knew it or not at the time, this match was effectively a test trial. He did very well, taking eight wickets in the match, including a second innings hat-trick. He played in four tests and, on debut, took seven for in the first innings of the first test. Playfair said Laker was the only player who "really justified his selection". He was described as specialising in off breaks, "fielding smartly" in the gully and showing promise as a batsman. Still inexperienced at test level, Laker came in for some heavy punishment when he played in three tests against the Australians and that failure created doubt in the minds of England's team selectors.
England's worst performance in the series was at Headingley: they actually played well for the first four days and set Australia a seemingly impossible last day target of to win. Australia, led by Don Bradman , won by seven wickets.
Evans himself was a prime culprit because he missed stumping chances, including one off Laker with Bradman beaten and out of his ground. Bradman later said that it was the key moment of the Australian innings. Despite being a disappointing outcome, it was against what many people believe to have been the greatest cricket team of all time.
The implication was that the pitch was not one on which an off-break bowler such as Laker could succeed. Alan Hill recorded that, while Laker may not have enjoyed the Headingley test match, its host club were very concerned indeed that Yorkshire-born Laker had eluded their attention. Fred Trueman later recalled that the Yorkshire club president Ernest Holdsworth contacted Laker in and invited him to dinner at a London restaurant. Laker accepted but was then astonished when Holdsworth tried to persuade him to return and play for Yorkshire.
Although Laker did not like the social divide in place at Surrey, he wished to stay with his adopted county and thanked Holdsworth for the offer, which he declined. Len Hutton recalled that, also in , he was asked by the Yorkshire committee to make some discreet enquiries about Laker's situation in Surrey. He reported back that Laker was content where he was and did not wish to play for Yorkshire.
Hutton agreed that Yorkshire "went on needing Laker badly" and ruefully admitted that he "tied us in all sorts of knots" in Yorkshire's matches against Surrey. After the Headingley match, Laker was omitted from England's team in the final test at the Oval, his home ground. The preferred spinners were Jack Young slow left arm orthodox spinner , Roly Jenkins and Doug Wright both leg break and googly. No specialist off spinner was included in the squad. England won the five-match series two to nil with three drawn. In , he played in only one of the four tests against New Zealand even though he took wickets in the season and was easily one of the most outstanding English bowlers.
In this series, England chose Eric Hollies , another leg spinner in all the matches and Laker's only selection was a tactical one, in the final test at the Oval, replacing a pace bowler with an extra spinner for that venue. In , Laker took eight wickets for only two runs in an innings in a test trial at Bradford Park Avenue when playing for England against "The Rest".
The match, scheduled for three days, began on Wednesday, 31 May with a chill wind blowing. The wicket had been uncovered and was drying after recent rain, which meant that a spinning delivery would act unpredictably when pitched.
Jim Laker : 19-90
Laker took full advantage. He set an attacking leg side field and bowled around the wicket, concentrating on line and length with minimal flight, which gave the batsmen no time to come forward to the pitch of the ball. Some balls would gain extra bite from the pitch surface and rear up while others would turn to an unexpected degree. The Rest were all out before lunch for only Batting conditions improved afterwards but England went on to win by an innings inside two days. He took only one wicket in the match, which England won, and the selectors decided to leave him out of the team thereafter.
Without him, England lost the series one to three. England, hopelessly outclassed and under poor leadership, lost the first four tests before managing a consolation victory in the fifth. Laker accepted an invitation to tour India and Ceylon with a Commonwealth XI , playing in ten matches and taking 36 wickets. The Commonwealth squad was a multi-talented group considered stronger than the England one touring Australia.
Laker had to return home in early December because of sinus problems but he enjoyed the tour. Laker stopped and was then astonished to see a kite hawk swoop down, seize the rat in its talons and fly away with it. Laker was used to pigeons on the field at the Oval. He was so surprised by this that when he did the bowl the next ball, it bounced twice and was struck to the boundary. Having recovered from his illness, Laker began to think seriously about marriage.
He had courted his fiancee Lilly for some years. She was born in Vienna but left Austria when it came under Nazi control and was in the Middle East when the war began. They decided to marry on 27 March at Kensington Register Office and spent a rain-swept honeymoon in Bournemouth before the cricket season began.
Laker took wickets in and played in two of the five tests against South Africa. In the final test at the Oval, he took ten wickets in the match for runs and England won by four wickets. His main competitors for a place were Johnny Wardle slow left arm orthodox and Roy Tattersall , another off spinner. Tattersall played in all five matches. He played in four matches for Auckland, taking 24 wickets. The Lakers were in New Zealand for five months and liked it so much that they seriously considered emigrating there.
In , the season in which Surrey won the first of their seven consecutive County Championship titles, Laker played in four tests against India. He played in three tests against Australia, including the series decider at the Oval in which England won the Ashes for the first time in twenty years. He played in one test against South Africa in Laker finally secured his test place in and took part in all five tests against Australia.
He took all ten wickets in an innings for Surrey against the Australians. This was the first time a bowler had taken all ten against the Australians since Ted Barratt in Surrey won the County Championship for the fifth consecutive time in Roy Webber's history of the competition was published soon afterwards and, in his review of the contemporary county teams, he wrote that "it is difficult to imagine a better and more balanced bowling attack than that presented by Alec Bedser, Peter Loader, Stuart Surridge, Jim Laker and Tony Lock".
In its report of the fourth test at Old Trafford, Wisden began by saying that "this memorable game will always be known as Laker's Match because of the remarkable performance by the Surrey off-break bowler in taking nine wickets for 37 runs in the first innings and ten wickets for 53 in the second".
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The match took place from Thursday, 26 to Tuesday, 31 July. England, who had won the toss and decided to bat first, won the match by an innings and runs. England batted until mid-afternoon on the Friday and amassed a total of , which included centuries by Peter Richardson and David Sheppard. In Emrys Davies became the first Glamorgan player to achieve the double of scoring 1, runs and taking wickets in the same season: the same feat was achieved in when he scored 1, runs and took wickets.
He continued to play after the war until he was 50 years old. He played matches for Glamorgan, over a period of 30 years, from until , with a total of 26, runs and scoring 1, runs on 16 occasions, and taking wickets. Following his retirement in , he became an umpire, officiating in nine Test matches between and He retired on account of ill-health in and coached at Llandovery College during the period Owen, D. Dictionary of Welsh Biography. PDF Print Cite. Huw Owen.