Jack Bond has led the tributes to Roy Tattersall, the former Lancashire and England spinner who has died at the age of 89.
“He was an excellent bowler and a lovely, mild-mannered man,” said Bond, the former Lancashire captain who became a close friend of Tattersall after joining him on the Old Trafford staff in 1955 as they would travel to away matches together from their homes in the Bolton area.
“He was a well-known figure in the Bolton League in the late 1940s when I was growing up, and he became one of my mentors in my early years at Lancashire. He was a fatherly figure who took me under his wing. Whenever we were playing away, we would always travel together, and then he would drop me at home in Little Hulton on the way back. We spent many hours talking cricket together in hotel bars.”
Tattersall had already played his 16 Tests by the time Bond joined Lancashire, having been called up initially with a young Brian Statham for the Ashes tour of 1950-51 – after taking a remarkable 193 wickets the previous summer, his first since switching from seam to spin, as the county shared the Championship title with Surrey. He was top of the national averages, and the first recipient of the Young Cricketer of the Year award introduced by the Cricket Writers’ Club.
“Even then it was felt it was too long since Lancashire had been champions,” he reflected in an interview for the latest issue of the county’s Spin magazine, celebrating the long-awaited 2011 triumph, only a couple of months before his death. He also contributed a foreword to the recently-published book ‘Champions…about bloomin’ time’.
“Ourselves, Yorkshire and Surrey were the three sides expected to do well and I never thought that Lancashire would go this long without winning the Championship again.”
Bond remembers Tattersall as “more of an off-cutter than a spinner really. He had been a seamer and he still used to open the bowling occasionally when Brian Statham was away with England or something like that. He wasn’t quite as quick as Bob Appleyard, but he was that sort of bowler, and being such a tall man he would exploit any bounce in the pitch, which of course were uncovered in those days.
“I can’t remember him ever being angry. The number of times he would have catches dropped off his bowling, but it never seemed to trouble Roy.”
Tattersall thought himself lucky to have Ken Grieves, Jack Ikin and Geoff Edrich crowded around the bat. “You couldn’t wish for three better close fielders,” he said.
In total he took 1,369 wickets for the county in 13 seasons between 1948 and 1960, leaving him seventh on Lancashire’s all-time list. However he always regarded the 1956 season as a missed opportunity, as having taken 91 wickets he was dropped for seven consecutive Championship matches, as the captain Cyril Washbrook preferred a young Jack Dyson, who had just returned to cricket after scoring in Manchester City’s FA Cup final win against Birmingham at Wembley.
He moved to Worcestershire to play league cricket and work for a carpet manufacturer, but continued to follow Lancashire’s progress closely, especially this summer when Simon Kerrigan, a young left arm spinner, became the first bowler to take nine wickets in an innings for the county since his own figures of nine for 40 against Nottinghamshire in 1953.
“As the final matches were being played at Worcester, Liverpool and Taunton, I was struck by the similarities between the current Lancashire team and the 1950 side which shared the title with Surrey,” he reflected. “Both teams were well captained. Spinners were important to both sides too.
“It’s also a bit of a relief to be able to write these words,” he added. “After so many near misses I was beginning to wonder when my beloved county would win the title again.”
For full details of Roy Tattersall’s first-class career records, go to: http://stats.thecricketer.com/Players/0/884/884.html