Roy Tattersall: Off-spin bowler for Lancashire and England

 

Although a relative latecomer to the professional game, Roy Tattersall enjoyed conspicuous cricketing success with Lancashire between 1948 and 1960. In 1950, amid a first full season bowling off spin, his haul of 171 wickets helped propel the county to a richly deserved share of the championship title. The following year he won the first of his 16 England caps.

A proud Boltonian, Roy Tattersall was educated at Castle Hill Council School before moving to Folds Road Central School. While there, his prodigious cricketing talent first came to the fore when playing alongside his brothers for local club Bradshaw. Initially serving his time as an apprentice cobbler, a perforated ear drum kept him out of war service. His immediate post-war years, while starring for Tonge in the Bolton League, were spent as an officer at Cheadle Juvenile Delinquent Remand Home.

Tattersall was initially signed by Lancashire to bolster the county's opening attack in 1948; aged 26, and at 6ft 2ins, he was a brisk right-arm medium-pace bowler. However, when witnessed bowling off spin in the nets, it was coach Harry Makepeace who spotted his potential. While not a vicious spinner of the ball, his command of flight, subtle changes of pace and unerring accuracy could, on their day, prove devastating.

Having had a modest start to the 1950 season, it was his 6-69 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in May that helped set up the first of Lancashire's 16 victories. Impressive 12-wicket returns at Gloucester and against Essex and Worcestershire at Old Trafford inexorably propelled the county to a share of the championship title with Surrey. Invariably supported by the predatory instincts of close catchers Grieves, Ikin and Edrich, Tattersall's total haul of 193 wickets comfortably put him at the head of the national averages. However, while awarded a county cap, his exploits were overlooked by the England selectors.

His test debut eventually came in Adelaide in February 1951, when together with Lancashire teammate Brian Statham, he had flown out to reinforce Freddie Brown's beleaguered troops, then in the midst of an Australian tour. England won only the last test in Sydney and while Tattersall bowled tidily, it was his input as a batsman that helped bring victory. Coming to the crease with Reg Simpson eight runs short of his century, they shared in a last wicket stand of 74. While Simpson took his total to 156, his partner had managed to creep into double figures before Keith Miller comprehensively uprooted his middle stump.

Later that year Tattersall played in all five domestic tests against South Africa, his 7-52 bowling England to a convincing victory at Lord's. While a key member of the England party that toured India in 1951-52, he was soon to be overshadowed by the emergence of fellow spinner Jim Laker. The last of his test appearances came in the drawn game against Pakistan at Lord's in June 1954. In all, he won 16 test caps, taking 58 wickets at an average of 26.08.

Having formed a close bond with his captain at Old Trafford, Nigel Howard, he sadly did not always enjoy the same rapport with his successor, Cyril Washbrook. During the 1956 season, when heading the county's bowling averages, Tattersall was surprisingly omitted from seven crucial championship matches. Soon recalled, he responded in style by taking 26 wickets in the closing five games. Unfortunately, he would never again play a full season for the county.

A left-handed batsman who accrued a seemingly modest total of 1,786 runs from 312 innings, he was nevertheless not without ambition and could defend or attack with the best of them. Against Leicestershire at Old Trafford in July 1958, while Statham claimed the bowling honours, the star turns were undoubtedly Tattersall and wicketkeeper Alan Wilson. Amid Lancashire's first 10th-wicket century stand for 25 years, Tattersall contributed a robust 58, his highest score in first-class cricket.

However, it is his incomparable artistry as a bowler that ensures his place among the game's elite. Exceeding 100 wickets in a season seven times, in all first-class cricket he played 277 games, taking 1,369 wickets at an average of 18.04. Against Notts at Old Trafford in 1953, when he also claimed a hat trick, he recorded his best ever bowling return of 9-40. Never less than a wholehearted and committed team player, he also had 143 catches to his name.

In 1960, Lancashire awarded both Tattersall and teammate Malcolm Hilton a joint testimonial match against Yorkshire, in which neither of them played. While Hilton was exiled to Scarborough to lead the Second XI, Tattersall was forced to watch from the sidelines. Happily, a record crowd of some 34,000, the largest seen at Old Trafford since 1921, earned them well in excess of £11,000.

The following year he settled in the Midlands, working for a carpet manufacturer while playing for Kidderminster. Occasional appearances for Worcestershire Second XI led to a long association with Worcester Ramblers. Here, as always, his record of achievement on the field and his exemplary conduct off it earned him the high regard of everyone involved in the game.

Kenneth Shenton

Roy Tattersall, cricketer: born Bolton, Lancashire 17 August 1922; married (three daughters); died Kidderminster, Worcestershire 9 December 2011.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat