CRICKETER OF THE YEAR - 1938

Eddie Paynter

EDWARD PAYNTER, the Lancashire left-hand batsman, was born at Oswaldtwistle on November 5, 1901, but he was twenty-five years old before he received his first chance in the Lancashire XI. In his school days at Clayton-le-Moors, Paynter, because of the lack of facilities, never enjoyed an opportunity of playing cricket, but his father was captain of Enfield Second XI and when young Edward was sixteen he was taken into that team. Paynter says that his elder brother, Arundel, was a very fine left-arm fast bowler and revealed more promise than he did, but was killed in the War. Paynter during his boyhood was naturally keen about the game. He read all the cricket books he could find and followed the doings of Lancashire from the newspapers. His ambition was to be a hitter--how he has fulfilled that objective!--but he never imagined he would play for his county.

After he left school, an unfortunate accident befell him, for he lost the tops of the first and second fingers of the right hand, and because of this, it is amazing he has developed into such a grand cover point and fielder in the deep. It was in 1920 that Tom Lancaster, the former professional to Enfield C.C., became convinced of Paynter's abilities and introduced him to the county authorities. Paynter came under the expert coaching of J. T. Tyldesley, to whom he says he owes practically everything for his advance in the game, but Lancashire in those days possessed so much talent that he had to wait more than ten years before he commanded a regular place in the county eleven. He hit his first century in 1931--against Warwickshire at Old Trafford--and the same year appeared for England against New Zealand at Manchester, but the real turning point of his career occurred the following summer when he scored 152 against Yorkshire at Bradford. That innings probably placed him in the forefront of Lancashire cricket.

Accompanying D. R. Jardine's side of 1932-33 to Australia Paynter earned undying fame. In the fourth Test Match at Brisbane he developed tonsilitis but got up from a bed of sickness and scored a noble 83; he also enjoyed the distinction of making the winning hit, which gave England the Ashes. A lot of people considered he should have gone with G. O. Allen's team to Australia, but the majority of the players had been picked for the tour when in August, 1936, he registered hundreds in three consecutive innings. Last season, Paynter surpassed all previous efforts. He set up a personal record by hitting 266 against Essex at Manchester and at Hove went better, scoring in five hours, 322--the highest innings ever made by a Lancashire professional. Although small in stature, Paynter invests his strokes with remarkable power and when in punishing form he drives, cuts and pulls with delightful facility, as those who watched the magnificent display at Hove last July will testify.

© John Wisden & Co