Shot selection

When Trueman looked lost at Harrods

Yorkshire's finest feature prominently in 17 years worth of archival photographs that turned up out of the blue

Philip Brown
Philip Brown
Andrew Gale and Dickie Bird hold the trophy after Yorkshire won the County Championship, Middlesex v Yorkshire, County Championship, Division One, Lord's, September 12, 2015

Snapper's delight: Dickie Bird can't hide his joy as he poses with Andrew Gale after Yorkshire won the County Championship in 2015  •  Philip Brown

I've recently been reunited with thousands of photographs that I took during the last century. That makes me sound unquestionably old, doesn't it? I'm not. I worked for the Daily Telegraph between 1989 and 2006 for whom I supplied thousands of sports images during this period. All of them were taken on film and then converted into either a large print or a digital file. Anyway, happily, most of these digital files survived in the Telegraph library and recently a very helpful man named Brian sent me my photographs on a couple of CDs.
I received over 8600 images, including probably 3000 cricket-related ones. There are photographs of Fred Trueman, Matthew Brimson, Sachin Tendulkar, Dickie Bird and Andrew Gale. I had completely forgotten about most of the images. They are not all brilliant by any means but they record a period of British sport before T20 cricket came about and a time before everybody had the internet in their pocket.
The Telegraph had a most impressive Monday sports section that was 12 pages, six of which had colour photographs. David Welch and Keith Perry were the men behind the supplement and at the time it was groundbreaking.
Anyway, I remember shooting a special cricket game at Chelmsford on a Sunday that included Derek Pringle and John Stephenson. It was special because the teams were wearing coloured clothing for the first time. Essex were in some particularly awful bright yellow outfits, and after a few hours of taking shots I hared it down various roads to get the photos back to the paper before deadline. I was amazed to learn that my picture was allocated to a black and white page.
I found photos of Fred Trueman from a job I had one evening in about 1996. Fred was promoting a new book or audio cassette and I found him in Harrods waiting to do a signing session. He was in the wrong section of the huge and famous department store and unsurprisingly, no one turned up to get anything signed mainly because of this. Fred got the hump and left for a nearby club, the RAF club if I remember, and that's where I got my picture of him.
I found a couple of photos of current Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale from when he was playing in an Under-15 schools cricket tournament in Exmouth. He scored a century that day. I don't really remember this fact but a photograph clearly shows him with arms aloft celebrating the achievement, so I know it is true.
There's a photograph of Zimbabwe's Henry Olonga and Andy Flower chatting at Lord's before they combined at the 2003 World Cup to bring attention to the appalling situation in their country by wearing black armbands.
There are also quite a few shots of popular and eccentric umpire Harold "Dickie" Bird umpiring, and many from his final Test match, at Lord's in 1996. Dickie is a real character and is still about at Headingley and occasionally at other grounds around the country.
I've seen Dickie around and about for many years since I photographed my first Test matches in England in 1989. Legendary cricket photographer Patrick Eagar was due to shoot him at 1pm during a major match at Lord's years ago and Dickie turned up for his appointment about 100 minutes early. He sat with the photographers on the boundary and he had a problem when he squeezed far too much sunscreen from a container. He then asked all the snappers near him if they needed any sunscreen, proffering his open hand with an absolutely huge dollop therein. You probably had to be there but it was amusing.
Dickie is famous for getting to grounds early. He famously turned up at The Oval at about six in the morning for a match. You would see him wandering around the outfield well before the toss at games, looking for someone to chat to.
So there was Yorkshire captain Gale and Yorkshire president Dickie Bird together at Lord's when their team picked up the County Championship trophy for the second time in two years just the other day. Believe me, Bird doesn't need two invitations to pose for a photograph. I hope to see both these proud Yorkshireman through my viewfinder for many many years to come.
Nikon D4 14mm Nikkor lens 250th sec f5.6 Off camera flash

An Australian freelance cricket photographer based in England, Philip Brown has photographed over 150 Test matches around the world