Obituary

William Booth

BOOTH, WILLIAM, 2ND LIEUT. MAJOR, (West Yorkshire Regiment), born at Pudsey on December 10, 1886, fell in action in July. His earliest cricket was played at Fulneck School, and later he was associated with Pudsey St. Lawrence and the Wath Athletic Club, which played in the Mexborough League, and of which he was captain. He appeared regularly for Yorkshire 2nd XI in 1907 and two following seasons, and in 1908 received his first trial for the County. He did not, however, secure a regular place in the team until two years later, but in 1911 he scored 1,125 runs for his county and took seventy-four wickets, with a highest innings of 210 against Worcestershire on the Worcester ground.

He increased his reputation as a bowler in the following summer, and in 1913 made over a thousand runs and took 158 wickets at Yorkshire, his aggregate of 181 wickets in first-class matches being the highest of any bowler that season. In 1914 he was not so successful in batting, but he obtained 141 wickets for Yorkshire at a cost of 18 runs apiece. Although a fine punishing batsman, Booth's claim to fame will rest chiefly upon what he accomplished as a bowler. Possessed of a free, natural action, he made the ball come quickly off the pitch. On occasion his off-break was quite formidable, but his strong points were swerve and pace off the ground.

In two consecutive matches in August, 1914, he and Drake bowled unchanged throughout, Gloucestershire being dismissed for 94 and 84 at Bristol and Somerset for 44 and 90 at Weston-super-Mare. In the second innings of the latter match Booth had the very rare experience of bowling throughout without obtaining a wicket, Drake taking all 10 for 35 runs.

In 1913 Booth was chosen for the Players at Lord's, and during 1913-14 toured South Africa with the M.C.C.'s team under Douglas' captaincy. His doings abroad were somewhat disappointing, and so strong was the side that he was left out of three of the Test matches. In the 144 games in which he appeared for Yorkshire he scored 4,213 runs with an average of 22.65 and obtained 556 wickets for 18.89 runs each. Tall of stature, good-looking, and of engaging address, Booth was a very popular figure both on and off the cricket field.

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