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Essex Shield

Tales from the Boundary

Bob Appleyard


Nine Tests, 31 wickets at 17.87; 152 first class matches, 708 wickets at 15.48.

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As a youngster Bob had the traumatic experience of discovering his father, stepmother and two sisters dead in a gas filled house.  Soon after World War Two started and he was called up in 1942.   All of this contributed to his Yorkshire debut coming at the late age of 26, in 1950.

In 1951, playing 31 matches, he took exactly 200 wickets at 14.14, bowling 7,940 balls.  After one match in 1952, illness wiped out the rest of his current and following season.   He was back in 1954, with 154 wickets at 14.42, off just over a thousand overs, which led to his selection for the 1954-55 Ashes tour, instead of Jim Laker.

Bob's role on this tour, like Wardle and Bailey was support for the pace of Statham and, especially, Frank 'Typhoon' Tyson.  In three matches on the New Zealand leg, however, he was devastating, with 18 wickets at 7.61.

His county and particularly his Test career slid downhill after this, and following a knee injury in 1955 Bob retired after 1957 to become an advertising rep. in the Maxwell empire, shrewdly moving his company pension before the funds disappeared.

He seems also to have been somewhat taciturn, clearly loved bowling and had the style to bowl all day, every day.  Ray Illingworth has mentioned about being told to bowl by Billy Sutcliffe, only to find that Appleyard had the ball and had no intention of relinquishing it.

Andrew Appleby