CLAYTON'S GREATEST CRICKETER

 

ABRAHAM ”ABE” WADDINGTON

 

Abe was born at 1 Druids St, Clayton on 4th February 1893. His father Sam was a butcher.

In 2016, 1 Druids Street is still a butchers shop.

Abram, as he was sometimes known, was the only Claytonian ever to play for England at cricket. He played two tests on the Australian tour of 1920/21.

    The 1920–21 MCC tour to Australia was unsuccessful for the tourists. 

Captained by J.W. H.T. Douglas, the  team was overwhelmed by Australia,  losing all five Test matches. Wisden stated that the "chief cause of   failure was the bowling".

  Between 1919 and 1927 he made 255 appearances for Yorkshire.  In these games, he took a total of 852 wickets with his left arm fast-medium bowling. Capable of making the ball swing, Waddington was admired for the quality of his bowling action, he was

a hostile bowler who sometimes sledged opposing batsmen and questioned umpires decisions, behaviour which was unusual during his playing days.

 In a match between Yorkshire and Middlesex, critics thought that the Yorkshire bowlers appealed excessively to the  umpires and the Middlesex players were barracked by the crowd. The umpires reported Waddington to the cricket committee of the MCC for inciting the crowd through his appeals and gestures of displeasure when batsmen were not given out. Waddington maintained his innocence but the MCC supported the umpires, finding him guilty of dissent, and the Yorkshire president Lord Hawke persuaded him to write a letter of apology to the M.C.C.

    When war was declared, Waddington joined the Bradford Pals battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment. On 1 July 1916, during the first day of the Battle of the Somme, Waddington was wounded by shrapnel at Serre, and took shelter in a crater in no man's land with other wounded soldiers.  One of these was the Yorkshire cricketer Major Booth, who was mortally wounded.    Waddington comforted Booth while the cricketer died in his arms, an experience which haunted Waddington for the rest of his life. 

After recovering, Waddington transferred to the Royal Flying Corps.                                                                                                                                    

     

     Waddington had success in other sports, especially as an amateur  goalkeeper. He was with Bradford City in the 1920–21 football season, but did not play a match for them. For the 1921–22 season, he played for Halifax Town, making seven appearances. He was a good enough golfer to represent Yorkshire and to partner Henry Cotton. He played  played in the qualifying rounds of  Open Champion ship in 1935 and 1939. One Bradford golf club banned him after he poured a glass of beer over the captain, who Waddington believed had used inappropriate language in front of a lady. After a long illness, Waddington died in a Scarborough nursing home on 28 October 1959 aged 66. He was cremated in Bradford.