BOWLER OF THE YEAR - 1924

George MacAulay

GEORGE GIBSON MACAULAY was born at Thirsk on December 7, 1897. He comes of cricketing stock, his father and uncles having been prominent Players in the Thirsk district in the days of the never-to-be-forgotten George Freeman. Unlike many of his colleagues in the Yorkshire team MacAulay did not graduate for county honours by playing for the second eleven. After the war Yorkshire's bowling sadly needed strengthening, especially in the matter of pace, and it was on the suggestion of the late Harry Hayley--a well-known club cricketer--that MacAulay was given a trial at the beginning of the season in 1920. He was then a bank clerk, and his experience of cricket had been confined to club matches. He found the call of cricket imperative, and, taking his chance, decided to become a professional. He played his first county match against Derbyshire at Sheffield, and did not have to wait long for success as a bowler. Against Gloucestershire at the end of May he took five wickets for 50 runs, and immediately after at Worcester six for 47. In these early days of his career he was inclined to bowl at a pace that was a little beyond his physical means. He was told, by George Hirst among others, to concentrate on spin and length, paying less regard to mere speed, and he was wise enough to take the good advice. He practised assiduously during the winter of 1920-21, with the happy result that in the season of 1921 he went right to the front, taking ninety-four wickets in Yorkshire's county matches at a cost of little over 16 runs apiece. At the same time he revealed unexpected ability as a batsman--hitting up a score of 125 not out against Notts at Trent Bridge--and proved himself a capital field either in the slips or at short leg. His success gave him an assured position, and since 1921 he has gone on from strength to strength. In 1922, when he took 120 wickets in county matches, his bowling against Middlesex at Lord's made such an impression that he was picked for the Gentlemen and Players' match, and afterwards given a place in the M. C. C.'s team for South Africa. Some doubt was felt as to his physical fitness for the tour but he returned home in first rate health, and all last season was at the top of his form. MacAulay can bowl under all conditions, his spin making him more difficult on sticky wickets than most men of his pace. His fault is that he is apt to become depressed and upset when things go wrong. His friends wish that he had a little more of Roy Kilner's cheerful philosophy.

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