Full name Jack Dyson
Born July 8, 1934, Oldham, Lancashire
Died November 22, 2000, Oldham, Lancashire (aged 66 years 137 days)
Major teams Lancashire, Staffordshire
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm offbreak
|First-class span||1954 - 1964|
|List A span||1963 - 1963|
When Jack Dyson died in Oldham, his home town, on November 22, 2000, aged 66, a hospital spokeswoman had to ask for information about his relatives. A friend explained the absence of order in his life: "He was a happy-go-lucky sort of a lad who always seemed to be on his uppers. He just enjoyed being a player."
Dyson was a very good player, at cricket and football, better than his figures suggest. He won an FA Cup winners' medal with Manchester City, scoring a goal in the 1956 final against Birmingham. A sharp, incisive inside-forward, he scored 26 goals in 62 matches during four seasons at Maine Road.
As a cricketer, he would have come more into his own a decade later when the one-day game began to blossom. He was a gifted right-handed batsman, capable of batting anywhere in the order - in 150 matches for Lancashire he scored 4433 runs at 21.41 - and was also a useful offspinner, claiming 161 wickets at 27.62. Dyson was a first-class cover point, and played his cricket with a cheerful and engaging grace that hinted at a free spirit.
He made his debut for Lancashire in 1954, introduced by the new captain Cyril Washbrook, and his best season followed only two years later when he was capped. That year he scored a century against Scotland, and he played a major part in the victory over 44 Leicestershire at Old Trafford that was historic because Lancashire did it without losing a wicket. After the first day was lost to rain, Leicestershire were bowled out on the second afternoon for 108. In the remaining 150 minutes Alan Wharton and Dyson put on 166. When Geoff Edrich declared on the third and last morning and Leicestershire reached 95 for 3 at lunch, a draw seemed assured. But Brian Statham bowled Charlie Palmer with the first ball after lunch, and the last six wickets fell for 25 runs.
Needing just 65 to win, Wharton and Dyson knocked off the runs in 52 minutes. Dyson was the central figure in an even more memorable match at Old Trafford in 1960 when Lancashire had the chance of completing a double over Yorkshire for the first time in 67 years. Lancashire were left to score 78 in 125 minutes and, when the news reached offices in Manchester, many members found an excuse to leave work early. "Greater excitement may not be generated at Lancashire's headquarters for countless seasons," wrote Denys Rowbotham in the next day's Manchester Guardian. "The great climax came when Dyson hit the last ball of the last over, bowled by FS Trueman, off his leg stump for four, giving Lancashire a famous victory."
But Jack Dyson did not conform to the standards the Lancashire committee expected of their professionals in 1960, under the new amateur captain Bob Barber. Barber was ordered to stay at a different hotel from his players. Peter Marner was sent home for failing to wear his blazer at lunch. Dyson was charged with "a serious breach of discipline and an act of insubordination and insolence to the captain". Barber moved on to Warwickshire and a successful career with England. Washbrook returned as team manager in 1964 and Grieves was not re-appointed captain, while Marner, Clayton and: Dyson were all sacked.
Dyson played briefly in; Staffordshire and then spent happy years in league cricket where the keen play and sharper humour suited his lifestyle. In September 1963 a members' revolt overthrew the Lancashire committee. A Manchester textile mechant, Cedric Rhoades, became chairman - a man who would have understood and might have brought the best out of Jack Dyson. No one else did.
Derek Hodgson, Wisden Cricket Monthly
Jack Dyson was one of the leading allround sportsmen of the 1950s. His career reached its apogee in 1956 when he won an FA Cup winner's medal with Manchester City, scoring the second goal in a 3-1 win over Birmingham in match best remembered for Bert Trautmann's broken neck. A few weeks later he was instrumental in Lancashire becoming the first team to win a Championship match without losing a wicket (Leicestershire 108 and 122; Lancashire 166 for 0 dec and 66 for 0). Dyson shared unbroken opening stands with Alan Wharton as Lancashire declared their first innings to catch Leicestershire on a drying wicket. The heroes were rewarded with a crate of beer by the committee.
Dyson's brief football career faltered because of injury, but as a cricketer he lasted longer. However, his only century in 150 first-class matches came against Scotland, and he had to cement his place with back-up offbreaks, taking 7 for 83 at Taunton in 1960. Lancashire sacked him for insubordination later that year, but he returned in 1963 for two more seasons. In his days of stardom, Dyson married a beauty queen, but his later life was apparently blighted by poverty and unhappiness. When he died in an Oldham hospital, officials had to appeal for relatives to come forward.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
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