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Willie Watson (England cricketer)

Willie Watson (England cricketer)

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William "Willie" Watson, (7 March 1920 – 24 April 2004) was an English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

er, who played for Yorkshire
Yorkshire County Cricket Club
Yorkshire County Cricket Club represents the historic county of Yorkshire as one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English and Welsh domestic cricket structure....

, Leicestershire
Leicestershire County Cricket Club
Leicestershire County Cricket Club is one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English and Welsh national cricket structure, representing the historic county of Leicestershire. It has also been representative of the county of Rutland....

 and England. He was a double international, as Watson was also a footballer who played for England
England national football team
The England national football team represents England in association football and is controlled by the Football Association, the governing body for football in England. England is the joint oldest national football team in the world, alongside Scotland, whom they played in the world's first...

's national team.

Cricket career


Born in Bolton on Dearne
Bolton on Dearne
Bolton upon Dearne is a small village in the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England, in the part of the Dearne Valley through which the River Dearne passes. It is approximately seven miles east of Barnsley, ten miles west of Doncaster and eight miles north of Rotherham.Bolton...

, Yorkshire
Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, Watson, a left-handed batsman, made his debut for Yorkshire in 1939, and was a regular in the side for a dozen years after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He made his Test match
Test cricket
Test cricket is the longest form of the sport of cricket. Test matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined by the International Cricket Council , with four innings played between two teams of 11 players over a period of up to a maximum five days...

 debut against the South Africans
South African cricket team
The South African national cricket team represent South Africa in international cricket. They are administrated by Cricket South Africa.South Africa is a full member of the International Cricket Council, also known as ICC, with Test and One Day International, or ODI, status...

 in 1951, and did well. But at a time when England was rich in batting talent, Watson rarely commanded a regular place and his twenty three Test matches were spread across eight years. His most famous innings was one of 109, in almost six hours, which with Trevor Bailey
Trevor Bailey
Trevor Edward Bailey CBE was an England Test cricketer, cricket writer and broadcaster.An all-rounder, Bailey was known for his skilful but unspectacular batting...

 contributing to a partnership of 163, enabled England to save the second Test at Lord's
Lord's Cricket Ground
Lord's Cricket Ground is a cricket venue in St John's Wood, London. Named after its founder, Thomas Lord, it is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club and is the home of Middlesex County Cricket Club, the England and Wales Cricket Board , the European Cricket Council and, until August 2005, the...

 in 1953 against the Australians
Australian cricket team
The Australian cricket team is the national cricket team of Australia. It is the joint oldest team in Test cricket, having played in the first Test match in 1877...

, when the game appeared to be lost.

Despite being a stylish left-hander, his Test career was a series of stops and starts. He even found himself dropped after his efforts at Lord's for the final Ashes
The Ashes
The Ashes is a Test cricket series played between England and Australia. It is one of the most celebrated rivalries in international cricket and dates back to 1882. It is currently played biennially, alternately in the United Kingdom and Australia. Cricket being a summer sport, and the venues...

 series clinching victory. Nevertheless, he was one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year
Wisden Cricketers of the Year
The Wisden Cricketers of the Year are cricketers selected for the honour by the annual publication Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, based primarily on their "influence on the previous English season"...

 in 1954.

Watson toured in the West Indies in 1953-54, and scored his second Test century in Jamaica. He final Test appearance was in New Zealand in March 1959, when one of his team-mates was another cricket and double football international, Arthur Milton
Arthur Milton
Clement Arthur Milton was an English cricketer and footballer. He played County cricket for Gloucestershire from 1948 to 1974, playing six Test matches for England in 1958 and 1959. He also played domestic football for Arsenal between 1951 and 1955, and then for a brief period for Bristol City...

. Watson's highest first-class score was 257, for the MCC
Marylebone Cricket Club
Marylebone Cricket Club is a cricket club in London founded in 1787. Its influence and longevity now witness it as a private members' club dedicated to the development of cricket. It owns, and is based at, Lord's Cricket Ground in St John's Wood, London NW8. MCC was formerly the governing body of...

 against British Guiana
British Guiana
British Guiana was the name of the British colony on the northern coast of South America, now the independent nation of Guyana.The area was originally settled by the Dutch at the start of the 17th century as the colonies of Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice...

 at Georgetown.

Watson's cricket career received a late boost when, in 1958, he left Yorkshire and joined Leicestershire as assistant secretary and captain
Captain (cricket)
The captain of a cricket team often referred to as the skipper is the appointed leader, having several additional roles and responsibilities over and above those of a regular player...

. A popular if quiet skipper, he temporarily regained his England place, and was also instrumental in a limited revival of the Leicestershire's fortunes. He retired in 1962, although he made several appearances in 1964.

Watson emigrated to South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 in 1968, to coach the Wanderers. He died in Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa...

 in April 2004, at the age of 84.

Football career



As a footballer, Watson was a cultured wing-half for Huddersfield Town
Huddersfield Town F.C.
Huddersfield Town Football Club is an English football club formed in 1908 and based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. They currently play in League One...

, Sunderland
Sunderland A.F.C.
Sunderland Association Football Club is an English association football club based in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear who currently play in the Premier League...

 and Halifax Town
Halifax Town A.F.C.
Halifax Town Association Football Club were an English football team who most recently played in the Conference National, although prior to that they participated in the Football League for over eighty years...

. He made 223 league appearances for Sunderland, in his seven seasons at the club. He played for England four times, gaining his first cap in England's 9-2 victory over Northern Ireland in November 1949. He was a member of the squad for the 1950 FIFA World Cup
1950 FIFA World Cup
The 1950 FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil from 24 June to 16 July, was the fourth FIFA World Cup. It was the first World Cup since 1938, the planned 1942 and 1946 competitions having been canceled owing to World War II...

, though he did not appear in any of the games in the tournament in Brazil. He had two spells in charge of Halifax, from 1954 to 1956 and later from 1964 to 1966, and also managed Bradford City
Bradford City A.F.C.
Bradford City Association Football Club is an English association football club based in Bradford, West Yorkshire, playing in League Two....

 from 1966 to 1968, where he laid the foundations of a promotion-winning team, but his biggest successes were in cricket.

External links