David Green

CRICKETER OF THE YEAR 1969

David Green

Although David Michael Green was born in the Caernarvonshire village of Llanengan on November 10, 1939, he was brought up at Timperley in Cheshire and learned all his cricket in Lancashire, for whom he played from 1959 until 1967 when the Red Rose county rather surprisigly allowed him to move the Gloucestershire.

Lancashire's loss was the West Country club's gain, for Green, in his first season away from Old Trafford, hit 2,137 runs for an average of 40.32 and a top score of 233. Only Barry Richards, the South African-born Hampshire batsman, scored more runs, and many Lancashire followers still criticise the county's decision to discard a cricketer who can match attractive batsmanship with some useful medium-pace seam bowling and field as well as most other players, either close to the wicket or away from it.

Green was regarded, in the Greater Manchester area, as a schoolboy cricketing prodigy when he played for Lanchashire 2nd XI while still at Manchester Grammar School and although he also played club cricket with Bowden, the Manchester Association club, Green was seldom away from Old Trafford, playing for the club and ground side as well as for the Second Eleven in his school vacation.

A clever scholar as well as an all-round sportsman who was good enough to play Rugby Union football for Sale and for Cheshire in several positions, Green won his way to Oxford University to take a degree in history between winning his cricket Blue under Alan Smith in 1959 and 1960 and also under the Nawab of Pataudi at year later. It was whilst still at University that Green made his debut for Lancashire and at once impressed as an all-round cricketer of immense potential.

He played regularly for the county until his University days were over but after being awarded his cap in the 1962 season Green disappeared for a time to sample league cricket in Yorkshire and Lancashire before returning to Old Trafford as a contracted player in readiness for the 1964 season.

He never failed to top 1,000 runs until 1967 when a leg injury troubled him and finally forced him out of the side except for two Gillette Cup matches. This was a branch of cricket that suited the Sale man down to the ground and he won three man of the match awards for sound all-round cricket, enabling Lancashire to reach three semi-finals; also one last season when Gloucestershire knocked out Nottinghamshire.

In 1965 Green achieved what is regarded as a Lancashire record by making more than 2,000 runs without hitting a century and his consistency that season, when he was vice-captain to Brian Statham, was one of the brightest features of the county's cricket.

At his best when opening the innings, Green is a forceful driver of the ball, a neat exponent of the pull and cut, and also a sweeper of more than average ability. His fine displays for Gloucestershire in his first season enabled the West Country side to climb the county championship table as well as make steady progress in the Gillette Cup Competition.

Green pays tribute to the tremendous help he received from the Gloucestershire coaches, George Emmett and Jack Crapp, and from the new county captain, Arthur Milton, as well as the former captain, Mortimore. "Batting with Arthur Milton has been and education to me. He is a magnificent judge of a run and I must be 200 runs or more better off purely from running between the wickets with him," says a grateful Green.

He also plays tribute to the manner in which Milton and Mortimore have helped him conquer some weaknesses against spin bowling and he regards the help of these two senior Gloucestershire players, both blessed with an unrivalled knowledge and technique of cricket as one of the biggest reasons for his success in the 1968 season.

At Manchester Grammar School, Green came under the beneficial influence of Arthur Booth, the old Yorkshire left-hander who was school coach for more than twenty years, but he regards the advice, encouragement and enthusiasm of Mr. Eric Heard, the headmaster of Lawrence House School, St. Annes, where he spent his early schooldays, as the greatest single influence upon his cricket. Mr. Heard was, in Green's opinion, a magnificent coach, not at all rigid in his outlook or his methods, a man who knew a lot about the game and was devoted to it.

He also pays tribute to the enthusiasm and determination of his father home at Timperley with a tennis ball until pleading that his arm had gone. In reality a young 16-year-old of some 13 stone and near six feet in height, was inflicting such punishment that passers by stared in wonderment and Green senior decided there was nothing further he could do to improve his son's cricket.

The rest was up to him and David Green did not let his father down. He has proved himself an entertaining and attacking cricketer in an age of dour defensive cricket.

Married to a German-born girl, Gina, who came to live in the Sale district in 1948, Green now has two sons, Daniel, who was four in March, and Adam, who will be two next July. They are happily settled in Bristol where daddy now works for a big West County catering firm after sampling school teaching whilst with Lancashire and earlier having a brief career as managerial trainee.

Because of a leg injury that finally led to his leaving Lancashire, Green now plays little Rugby Union football, although last winter he appeared occasionally for Cleve until, dislocating both thumbs in one hectic match, he decided in the interest of his cricketing career to become a spectator of the winter game.

With Gloucestershire Green in regarded as a batsman with the ability to restore some of the lustre of Hammond and Barnett of old by his bold and venturesome brand of batsmanship and reliable change bowling.

In Lancashire there is general regret that yet another fine cricketer got away. Certainly the powers that be at Old Trafford gave a fine stroke-player little opportunity to make a lasting recovery from a leg injury that specialists said required surgery. Green did not think this necessary, believing that time and a winter's rest would restore him to complete fitness.

He has been proved right and Gloucestershire have gained a tremendous asset in the signing of a cricketer whose zest for life is embodied in his cricket.

David Green is undoubtedly the sort of player the game demands -- aggressive, talented and entertaining.

© John Wisden & Co
 
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