Lancashire’s Golden Era (1920-1925)
County cricket emerged from the dark horror of the war years into the resplendent sunlight of a beautiful summer but the County championship was chaotic and unbalanced.
Lancashire were captained by Miles Kenyon who took over a powerful batting side with Ernest Tyldesley chosen as one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year. His brother John must have surprised himself at the age of 46 scoring 272 against Derbyshire.
Lancashire were runners-up to Middlesex in 1920 in a championship decided on percentages with Middlesex playing eight fewer matches than Lancashire. Attendances were good during the year with Harry Dean and Lol Cook taking 274 wickets between them. The revival of Lancashire cricket was clearly discernible.
The summer of 1921 was a golden one with the sun shining and the visit of a magnificent Australian team led by Warwick Armstrong. Interest in cricket was at an all-time high with over 250,000 coming to Old Trafford and membership passing 4,500. On the field Lancashire’s batting was led by Charlie Hallows with 1,736 runs and Ernest Tyldesley played some wonderful innings including 78 not out for England against Australia at Old Trafford.
The bowling in 1922 was so strong and effective and the batting so successful, that seven out of the fifteen matches were won by an innings, yet seven matches were lost and Lancashire could only equal their previous year’s position of 5th. Cec Parkin took 172 wickets splendidly supported by Lol Cook with 136. Ernest Tyldesley scored over 2,000 runs and Makepeace and Hallows scored heavily.
Myles Kenyon resigned the captaincy and handed over to Jack Sharp for 1923 and with a strong side Lancashire finished third – and could have been higher but for a lot of drawn matches in a very wet season.
Lancashire’s Diamond jubilee season in 1924 was a very wet one with every fixture at Old Trafford meeting interference from the weather. 17 matches were drawn but they still managed to finish fourth. In the Roses match Yorkshire were humiliated when requiring only 57 to win, they were bowled out for 33 by Cec Parkin and Dick Tyldesley. It was said that the whole of Yorkshire were struck silent by the result! Lancashire managed to secure the services of the great Australian fast bowler Ted McDonald who had been playing for Nelson.
In 1925, a dry summer saw Lancashire gain third place and all that was predicted of the bowling came true with McDonald taking 182 wickets, Parkin 121 and Tyldesley 116. Charles Hallows had a wonderful season scoring 2,354 runs and well supported by Frank Watson with 1,638 runs. At the end of the season Jack Sharp decided to retire at the age of 47 after 518 matches for the county.