William Huddleston

HUDDLESTON, WILLIAM, who died on May 22, aged 87, did capital service to Lancashire as a medium-paced off-break bowler between 1899 and 1914, taking in that time 684 wickets at an average cost of 17.58. For some years a League engagement prevented him playing in as many matches for Lancashire as they would have liked; yet when he did become fully available he was often omitted from the county eleven. As Wisden recorded in 1910: "He has suffered from the notion of the Committee that, although almost unplayable on sticky wickets, he was no good at all on firm turf." Certainly most of Huddleston's best performances were achieved on rain-affected pitches and on one occasion at Tunbridge Wells in 1908 the conditions were such that A. H. Hornby summoned him specially to the ground by telegram after he had been left out of the team.

At the same time he was rarely easy to punish. His best analysis in a single innings was nine wickets for 36 runs against Nottinghamshire at Liverpool in 1906, when his match-figures of thirteen for 41 were also his best. He was a member of the side which in 1904 carried off the Championship without suffering defeat. Lancashire looked like losing at the Oval where Surrey, set 337 to get to win, obtained 206 for two wickets by lunchtime on the last day. Then, with sunshine following a shower, the last eight batsmen were dismissed for 60, Huddleston coming out with figures of seven wickets for 72 runs.

Three times he dismissed twelve batsmen in a match: for 82 runs v Surrey; for 186 v Warwickshire in 1907, and for 89 v Leicestershire in 1913, all at Old Trafford. His most successful season as a bowler was that of 1913, when he took 113 wickets at a cost of 19.68 runs each. No mean batsman, he played his biggest innings, 88, against Yorkshire at Sheffield in 1914, he and James Tyldesley (62 not out) putting on 141 in ninety minutes, which fell only one short of the record for the Lancashire ninth wicket. His benefit that season yielded £896.

© John Wisden & Co