Len Hutton

LEONARD HUTTON, of Yorkshire, was born on June 23, 1916, at Fulneck, one mile from Pudsey. As his father was a good club cricketer and his three elder brothers were also real enthusiasts, cricket was the topic of the home and Leonard, from an early age, studied all the available books on the game. He says that one book by Jack Hobbs fired his imagination so much that he set his mind upon becoming proficient at cricket. When, at the age of twelve, he joined Pudsey St. Lawrence, a club which provided Yorkshire with such stalwarts as John Tunnicliffe, Major Booth and Herbert Sutcliffe, he did not attempt to model his style upon that of any famous cricketer but soon developed and got into the first team. The club President in those days--the late Mr. R. Ingram, a member of the Yorkshire Committee--placed Hutton's name before the county officials and Hutton was watched at the nets by George Hirst. From that day, Yorkshire kept him under observation. He was only sixteen years old when he appeared for the Minor Counties side and immediately those connected with the county realised they had found a batsman of undoubted talents. That season, Hutton scored 699 runs.

The following summer (1934) Hutton, when seventeen, made his début in a first class match and a supremely confident innings of 196 against Worcestershire drew the attention of the cricket world to the rising Yorkshireman. Sutcliffe also caused a stir by predicting that Hutton would play for England. In 1935, because of illness, little was seen of Hutton in the cricket field and although he completed his 1,000 runs in 1936 this was not considered anything remarkable for a player whose praises had been so loudly sung two years before. Last season, however, Hutton attracted widespread notice by his wonderful batting feats. He hit eight hundreds for Yorkshire, another in the Test Trial match and one for England against New Zealand. A partnership with Sutcliffe of 315 for Yorkshire's first wicket and an individual score of 153 against Leicestershire on his twenty-first birthday followed an innings of 271 not out against Derbyshire in the previous match.

Blessed with the right temperament for the big occasion, Hutton, given good health, should for many years serve Yorkshire as nobly as did Brown, Tunnicliffe, Holmes and Sutcliffe.In addition, he should furnish England with one of the opening batsmen so badly needed since the breaking of the Hobbs-Sutcliffe partnership. Eminently sound in defence, he plays the new ball extremely well and prefers to wear down the bowling rather than take risks. It must be said that he often carries caution to an extreme and yet when inclined he brings into play all the strokes. His off-drive is beautifully made. Hutton, besides being a batsman of high merit, is a useful leg-break bowler and his fielding is first-rate.

© John Wisden & Co