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Willie Watson: A biography of England's most successful double i

Willie Watson: A biography of England's most successful double i

Ref No: 9781907524349

Details: Author: Frank Garrick

Type: Books

Price: £17.99

Willie Watson was one of the twelve players to have represented England at both cricket and football, and while CB Fry is probably the best known, Watson was by far the most successful. He played four times for the football team as an attacking right half and 23 times for the cricket team as an elegant left-hand batsman. It was as a cricketer that Watson enjoyed his finest hour, sharing a fifth wicket stand with Trevor ‘barnacle’ Bailey that occupied most of the last day of the Lord’s Test of 1953, and foiled what had seemed a certain Australian victory. The duo’s epic defiance effectively enabled England to regain the Ashes – for the first time in more than 20 years – when they won the fifth Test at The Oval. Watson had played football for England against Ireland in 1949 (a game which England won 9-2), and also against Italy, Wales and Yugoslavia. In the latter game England manager Walter Winterbottom, told him to play defensively, totally against his natural style, and he was not a success. Watson never played football for England again, though he was a member of England’s World Cup squad that went to Brazil in 1950 and lost to the USA. His international cricket career, however, proved longer lasting. Willie Watson born in Barnsley, was the second son of another Willie Watson, the left-half for Huddersfield Town and a member of their winning Cup Final side in 1922. At 16 the young Willie signed as an amateur with Huddersfield Town and the next year became a full-time professional. Meanwhile, his efforts with the bat came to the notice of Yorkshire and n 1939 he made his debut for them. He was transferred in 1946 to Sunderland for a fee of £8,000. Previously an inside forward, he became a wing-half to make room for Len Shackleton and Ivor Broadis. Watson made his Test debut against South Africa in 1951, leaving Yorkshire seven years later to captain Leicestershire. A Test selector from 1962, he retired as a player in 1964. In his first-class career he scored 25,670 runs, making 55 centuries. In the mid-1950s he was player-manager of Halifax Town, a post to which he returned (though no longer as a player) in 1964. In 1966 he became manager of Bradford City, taking them to the top four of Division Four, before resigning two years later. Watson then went to South Africa where he was manager of the Wanderers club in Johannesburg, although he was always keen to join the various reunions of England players.

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