CRICKETER OF THE YEAR - 1906

David Denton

DAVID DENTON - Of the many fine players who have during the last ten years or so kept Yorkshire cricket at such an extraordinarily high level David Denton is by no means the least distinguished. Indeed at the present time he is one of the mainstays of the eleven-a very fine bat and an even finer outfield. Born at Thornes, a suburb of Wakefield, on the 4th of July, 1874, he played his early cricket with the club which has for many years been such an invaluable means of recreation and amusement for the employés of Messrs. Hodgson and Simpson. He became a member of the club at the age of 14. His talent for the game was unmistakable, and year by year he showed a steady advance till in 1892 and 1893 he headed the club's averages both in batting and bowling. As his skill improved he, like most young Yorkshiremen, grew anxious to be tried for the county and, even so early as August 1891, he was included in a Colts' team at Sheffield. The following year he played an innings of 53 against the Notts Colts at Trent Bridge but it was not until 1894 that he took part in a county match. This was only a tentative appearance, but in 1895 he batted so well against Cambridge University and Lancashire as to convince the Yorkshire authorities that they had found a batsman good enough for the county eleven. He made his place secure and since then he has gone on from success to success. In 1905 he batted better than ever, dividing honours with George Hirst and in a series of three-figure innings beating his highest previous score for the county. MacLaren's illness led to his playing for England in the Test Match at Leeds, but on that occasion, when a big score would have meant so much to him, he unfortunately failed. In the first innings he was out to a bad stroke, but in the second, when runs had to be made in a hurry, he was caught from a square leg hit which on most grounds would easily have reached the boundary. As a batsman Denton is essentially a brilliant player, possessing rare hitting power and a great variety of strokes. He scores indeed with equal facility all round the wicket. Thanks to his strong flexible wrists he makes the most of every opening on the off-side when the ground is hard and on slow wickets he can pull and play the hook stroke with the utmost effect. With him there is no waste of time, his big scores being nearly always made at a quick rate. For a man of his somewhat small stature he plays in particularly good style and when he is really set there are not many batsmen better worth looking at. He has been described sometimes as the luckiest of cricketers, and it must be admitted that in the matter of dropped catches he has more than a fair share of good fortune. The fieldsmen who miss him have good cause to remember their blunders as after a chance or two he generally shows his finest cricket. As an outfield Denton stands almost alone among English cricketers at the present time. The way he crosses the ball at third man is something to see, and his judgment of a high catch in the deep field is almost unfailing. No one has a cleaner pick-up or a quicker return. The belief of his fellow Yorkshiremen in his fielding is profound, and when one day at Lord's he, by some strange fatality, missed two catches a famous member of the team was almost to tears by his unaccountable fall from grace.

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