Beverley Lyon

LYON, BEVERLEY HAMILTON, who died on June 22, aged 68, was one of the most astute captains of his era. Of Surrey birth, he was in the Rugby XI in 1917 and 1918, heading the batting averages in the second year, when his highest innings was 98 not out and he represented Lord's Schools against The Rest. Going up to Oxford in 1920, he gained a Blue in 1922 but failed to score in either innings in the University match, which Cambridge won by an innings and 100 runs. On the big occasion the following season, he gained some recompense, for although he scored no more than 14, an immensely powerful Oxford team this time triumphed in two days with an innings and 227 runs to spare.

In 1921, Lyon began his association with Gloucestershire. He became captain in 1929, a position which he filled for four seasons, and under his inspiring influence the county enjoyed greater success than for many years. T. W. Goddard, whose services as a fast bowler had been dispensed with by Gloucestershire, had joined the ground-staff at Lord's and become an off-break exponent. Lyon recalled him to the county and between them Goddard and the left-arm C. W. L. Parker developed into the most effective spin-bowling combination in the Championship.

Lyon also played his part as a hard-hitting batsman. He hit 1,397 runs, including three centuries, in 1929 for an average of over 33 and next season obtained 1,355 runs, average 41.00. In 1930 he hit two of his total of sixteen centuries--115 and 101 not out--in the match with Essex at Bristol, and he enjoyed the distinction of helping his county to a tie with W. M. Woodfull's Australian team.

Lyon, known as an apostle of brighter cricket, was revolutionary in his cricket outlook. He was the originator in 1931 of the scheme by which a declaration by each side with only four byes scored in the first innings enabled maximum points to be available to the winning county after the loss of the opening two days of a Championship match through rain. This caused the Advisory County Cricket Committee to revise the regulations.

In all first-class cricket, Lyon made 10,615 runs for an average of 25.15, four times exceeding 1,000 runs in a season. He was also an excellent fieldsman, either at short-leg or in the slips.

He was the first to suggest first-class county games on Sundays, an idea which it took 36 years for the authorities to adopt. He also advanced the scheme for a knock-out competition, which came into being over 30 years afterwards.

His elder brother, M. D. Lyon, preceded him in the team at Rugby, got his Blue for two years at Cambridge and also assisted Somerset.

There was no funeral for Beverley Lyon, for he bequeathed his body to the Royal College of Surgeons.

© John Wisden & Co