Yorkshire fans queue as 'Magnificents' team up again

Author Andrew Collomosse could hardly have picked a more receptive audience if he had drawn up the invitation list himself as publishers Great Northern Books organised a book signing for his look back at Yorkshire cricket’s golden 1960s to coincide with past players’ day at Headingley during Yorkshire’s match against Nottinghamshire.

Guests at the Professional Cricketers’ Association’s annual gathering included a dozen members of the Yorkshire teams that won seven County Championships between 1959 and 1968, whose recollections of that period were assembled by Collomosse in his Magnificent Seven book.

A long queue quickly formed in the Premier Suite in Headingley’s Old Pavilion as Ray Illingworth, Brian Close, Phillip Sharpe, Bryan Stott, Ken Taylor, John Hampshire, Geoff Cope, Don Wilson and Richard Hutton took turns to sign copies of the book, boxes of which were emptying fast behind a long trestle table.

Magnificent Seven tells the story of 11 seasons between 1959 and 1969, taking in two Gillette Cup triumphs, in 1965 and 1969, as well as each of the seven title-winning years, with each chapter seen through the eyes of one or sometimes two players.

Former England captain Illingworth, now 78, described the book as a “collectors’ piece” that Yorkshire fans from that era would treasure.

“The way Andrew has put it together is interesting and different, providing a dozen or so different views of what was a special time for the club,” he said.

“It was a team that had a bit of everything, with a good depth of batting plus a bowling attack with great balance, and there was a real spirit in the dressing room, which stemmed from us being Yorkshire lads who grew up together.  It was the last real all-Yorkshire team.

“As a record of those years I think the book will make a nice collectors’ piece for supporters to keep.”

Former opening batsman Hampshire, still working at 69 as a mentor for the current group of first-class cricket umpires, echoed Illingworth’s thoughts.

“It was a really outstanding team, with probably five batsmen who could score 1,000 runs a season and four or five bowlers who could get you 100 wickets,” he said.

“The book is a fantastic record of what they achieved, unique too in that it is the only book I know about that team.

“It is an excellent idea and Andrew has done a terrific job with it.”

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