|Full name||William John Edrich|
|Born||26 March 1916|
Lingwood, Norfolk, England
|Died||24 April 1986 70) (aged|
Whitehill Court, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, England
|Bowling||Right-arm off-break |
|Relations|| Brian Edrich (brother)|
Eric Edrich (brother)
Geoff Edrich (brother)
John Edrich (cousin)
Justin Edrich (son)
|Test debut(cap 300)||10 June 1938 v Australia|
|Last Test||28 January 1955 v Australia|
|Domestic team information|
Source: CricketArchive, 17 September 2009
William John Edrich(26 March 1916 – 24 April 1986) was a first-class cricketer who played for Middlesex, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), Norfolk and England.
Edrich's three brothers, Brian, Eric and Geoff, and also his cousin, John, all played first-class cricket. Locally in Norfolk the Edriches were able to raise a full team of eleven. In 1938 a team composed entirely of Edriches beat Norfolk in a one-day match.
Born in Lingwood, Norfolk, Bill Edrich was an attacking right-handed batsman and right-arm fast bowler.Playing first for Norfolk in the Minor Counties at the age of 16, he qualified for Middlesex in 1937 and was an instant success, scoring more than 2,000 runs in his first full season. The following year, 1938, he scored 1,000 runs before the end of May and made the first of 39 Test match appearances, though with little success. In fact, Edrich achieved almost nothing in Tests until the final "Timeless Test" of the 1938–39 tour to South Africa at Durban, where his 219 enabled England to reach 654 for five wickets, at which point the Test was left drawn to enable the tourists to catch their ship home.
Having finally achieved Test match success, Edrich was promptly dropped for the 1939 series against the West Indians. Even so, he was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in the 1940 edition of Wisden. Edrich played association football as an amateur for Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur during the 1930s.
At the outbreak of war Edrich joined the Royal Air Force, in which he attained the rank of Squadron Leader, operating as a pilot for RAF Bomber Command. On 12 August 1941 he participated in a low-level daylight attack by Bristol Blenheim bombers against power stations in the Cologne area, described by The Daily Telegraph as "the RAF's most audacious and dangerous low-level bombing raid". Of the 54 Blenheims sent on the mission, twelve were shot down. For his part in the war he was awarded the DFC.He had "an immense relief that he survived" the war and as a result loved to party and lived for the day.
When cricket resumed after the Second World War, he quickly became a regular in the England team, batting at No. 3 and sometimes opening the bowling. He scored centuries against Australia in the 1946–47 Ashes series, two against the South Africans in 1947, another against Australia in 1948 and a final one against New Zealand in 1949. A gutsy batsman he was "almost indifferent to his own safety. No bowler is too fast to hook; no score too large to defy challenge" and was badly bruised standing up to the bouncers of Lindwall and Miller in 1946–47 and 1948.
The postwar years were Edrich's heyday and in 1947 he broke Tom Hayward's record, scoring 3,539 runs in the season and not being much overshadowed by Denis Compton, who scored 3,816. Compton's and Edrich's aggregates remain the highest ever in an English cricket season, and with the reduction in the number of first-class matches seem likely never to be overtaken. In addition to his runs, Edrich also took 67 wickets in the same season.
Edrich's Test career continued until The Ashes tour of 1954–55, but he played less regularly after 1950, when he appeared to have little answer to the West Indian spinners Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine. When England retained the Ashes at Adelaide in 1954–55 the team consumed over 56 bottles of champagne and Edrich – the life and soul of any party – climbed the marble pillar in the lounge of Glenelg's Pier Hotel and sang "Ginger".
All told, Edrich played in 571 first-class matches between 1934 and 1958, scoring 36,985 runs, with a highest score of 267 not out. His run total puts him 29th on the all-time lists. He scored 2,440 runs for England in his 39 Test matches, with the 219 not out at Durban his best.A professional before the Second World War, he turned amateur afterwards and captained Middlesex jointly with Compton in 1951 and 1952, continuing in sole charge from 1953 to 1957. After retiring from Middlesex, he returned to Norfolk and played Minor County cricket until he was 56, captaining the county until 1971.
A famously convivial man, Edrich was married five times and had two sons, Jasper and Justin. He died following a fall at his Chesham, Buckinghamshire home on 24 April 1986, aged 70. The MCC named the twin stands at the Nursery End at Lord's Cricket Ground, in his and Denis Compton's honour. Cricket writer, Colin Bateman, noted, "it is a dull, practical structure which does little justice to their mercurial talents and indomitable spirits".
Denis Charles Scott Compton was an English cricketer who played in 78 Test matches and spent his whole cricket career with Middlesex. He was also an accomplished footballer, who played most of his football career at Arsenal.
Thomas Walter Hayward was an English first-class cricketer who played for Surrey and England between the 1890s and the outbreak of World War I. He was primarily an opening batsman, noted especially for the quality of his off-drive. Neville Cardus wrote that he "was amongst the most precisely technical and most prolific batsmen of any time in the annals of cricket." He was only the second batsman to reach the landmark of 100 first-class centuries, following WG Grace. In the 1906 English season he scored 3,518 runs, a record aggregate since surpassed only by Denis Compton and Bill Edrich in 1947.
John David Benbow "Jack" Robertson was an English cricketer, who played county cricket for Middlesex, and in eleven Tests for England.
Ian Alexander Ross Peebles was a cricketer who played for Oxford University, Middlesex, Scotland and England. After retiring from cricket he became a cricket writer, working as a journalist on The Sunday Times and as the author of many books on cricket.
John Albert "Jack" Young was an English cricketer, who played for Middlesex and England. His first-class cricket career lasted from 1933 to 1956.
John Thomas Ikin was an English cricketer, who played in eighteen Tests from 1946 to 1955. A "calm, popular left-hander who also bowled leg spin", Ikin played most of his cricket for Lancashire. He was a solid left-handed batsman whose statistically modest Test record underplayed his contribution to the team as a sturdy foil to such players as Bill Edrich, Len Hutton and Denis Compton.
1939 was the 46th season of County Championship cricket in England. It was the one and only season in which English cricket adopted the eight-ball over. It was the last season before the Second World War and it was not until 1946 that first-class cricket could resume in England on a normal basis. The West Indies were on tour and England won the Test series 1–0. The West Indian team departed early, with several matches cancelled, because of the growing international crisis. In the 1940 edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, author R. C. Robertson-Glasgow reviewed the 1939 season and remarked that it was "like peeping through the wrong end of a telescope at a very small but happy world".
The English cricket team in Australia in 1946–47 was captained by Wally Hammond, with Norman Yardley as his vice-captain and Bill Edrich as the senior professional. It played as England in the 1946–47 Ashes series against the Australians and as the MCC in their other matches on the tour. They were regarded as a sound team which was just as strong as Australia, but due to the Second World War they were an ageing side and their bowling depended heavily on Alec Bedser and Doug Wright, who were overused and exhausted as a result. Australia beat England 3-0 in a five-match series to retain the Ashes; England suffered the worst defeat in a Test series since losing 4–1 to Australia in 1924–25. Since 1881, Tests in Australia were played to finish. That rule was changed for this series, and for the first time in 65 years, a test played in Australia ended in a draw when the third test was drawn.
Freddie Brown captained the English cricket team in Australia in 1950–51, playing as England in the 1950-51 Ashes series against the Australians and as the MCC in their other matches on the tour. They were regarded as a weak team - some critics wanted to cancel the tour - and failed to regain the Ashes. However, these facts do not tell the whole story as the inspirational Brown exposed flaws in the powerful Australian team. By winning the Fifth and final Test he ended Australia's record of 26 Tests without defeat and paved the way for England's victories in 1953, 1954-55 and 1956.
The Australian cricket team toured England in the 1953 season to play a five-match Test series against England for The Ashes.
Len Hutton captained the English cricket team in Australia in 1954–55, playing as England against Australia in the 1954–55 Ashes series and as the MCC in other matches on the tour. It was the first time that an England team had toured Australia under a professional captain since the 1880s. After losing the First Test by an innings, they beat Australia 3–1 and retained the Ashes. The combination of Frank Tyson, Brian Statham, Trevor Bailey, Johnny Wardle and Bob Appleyard made it one of the strongest bowling sides to tour Australia, and it was the only team of any nationality to defeat Australia at home between 1932–33 and 1970–71.
1947 was the 48th season of County Championship cricket in England. It is chiefly remembered for the batting performances of Denis Compton and Bill Edrich who established seasonal records that, with the subsequent reduction in the number of first-class matches, will probably never be broken. Their form was key to their team Middlesex winning the County Championship for the first time since 1921, although they were involved in a tight contest for the title with the eventual runners-up Gloucestershire, for whom Tom Goddard was the most outstanding bowler of the season. Compton and Edrich were assisted by the fact that it was the driest and sunniest English summer for a generation, ensuring plenty of good batting wickets.
Ray Lindwall was a key member of Donald Bradman's famous Australian cricket team, which toured England in 1948. The Australians went undefeated in their 34 matches; this unprecedented feat by a Test side touring England earned them the sobriquet The Invincibles.
Bill Johnston was a key member of Donald Bradman's famous Australian cricket team, which toured England in 1948. The Australians went undefeated in their 34 matches during the English summer; this unprecedented feat by a Test side touring England earned them the sobriquet The Invincibles.
Don Tallon was a key member of Donald Bradman's famous Australian cricket team tour of England in 1948, in which Australia was undefeated in their 34 matches. This unprecedented feat by a Test side touring England earned them the sobriquet The Invincibles.
Ernie Toshack was a member of Donald Bradman's famous Australian cricket team, which toured England in 1948 and was undefeated in their 34 matches. This unprecedented feat by a Test side touring England earned Bradman's men the sobriquet The Invincibles.
The Third Test of the 1948 Ashes series was one of five Tests in the Ashes cricket series between Australia and England. The match was played at Old Trafford in Manchester from 8–13 July 1948, with a rest day on 11 July. The match was drawn after the whole of the fourth day and the first half of the fifth day was washed out due to rain; England had the upper hand before the weather intervened. The draw maintained Australia's 2–0 lead in the series, which was established through victories in the first two Tests. As Australia were the holders of The Ashes, the draw meant that England could do no better than level the series 2–2 by winning the last two Tests, and thus Australia retained The Ashes.
Ian Johnson was a member of Donald Bradman's famous Australian cricket team, which toured England in 1948. Bradman's men went undefeated in their 34 matches; this unprecedented feat by a Test side touring England earned them the sobriquet The Invincibles.
The 1946–47 Ashes series consisted of five cricket Test matches, each of six days with five hours play each day and eight ball overs. Unlike pre-war Tests in Australia, matches were not timeless and played to a finish. It formed part of the MCC tour of Australia in 1946–47 and England played its matches outside the Tests in the name of the Marylebone Cricket Club. The England team was led by the veteran Wally Hammond and his vice-captain Norman Yardley with the strong batting line up of Len Hutton, Cyril Washbrook, Bill Edrich, Denis Compton and Joe Hardstaff, but a weak bowling attack that relied on pre-war bowlers like the 37-year-old Bill Voce of Bodyline fame and the mercurial leg-spinner Doug Wright. The two successes of the tour were the newly capped Alec Bedser, who would carry the England bowling attack until 1955, and Godfrey Evans who would be England's first choice wicketkeeper until 1959. England had drawn the Victory Tests 2–2 in 1945 and were thought to be equal in strength, but Hammond lost 3–0 to Don Bradman's Australian team which had only two other pre-war players – Lindsay Hassett and Sid Barnes, who had played 5 Tests between them – and was packed with fresh talent in the shape of Arthur Morris, Keith Miller, Ray Lindwall, Colin McCool, Ernie Toshack and Don Tallon. There were several controversial umpiring decisions which assumed greater significance as they favoured Australia and in particular Don Bradman.
The Marylebone Cricket Club tour of Australia in 1946-47 under the captaincy of Wally Hammond was its ninth since it took official control of overseas tours in 1903-1904 and the first since the Second World War. The touring team played as England in the 1946–47 Ashes series against Australia, but as the MCC in all other games. In all there were 25 matches; 5 Test matches, 13 other First Class matches and 7 minor matches. Australia had been suffering a drought since 1937, but this ended as it rained in every match the MCC played on tour, including tropical thunderstorms twice in Brisbane and again in Sydney. However, this had an adverse effect on the pitches and denied the touring team adequate practice and lead to many draws.
Hammond's ill-equipped army returned to England beaten, yet deserving of the highest honours for their sportsmanship, their ability to smile in the face of certain disaster and also for their success in gaining the objective of their invasion - the spreading of cricket goodwill from the Homeland to a Dominion.
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| Middlesex County Cricket Captain |
(jointly with Denis Compton 1951–2)