Hats off to Dean!

Published: 2020
Pages: 12
Author: Tebay, Martin
Publisher: Red Rose Books
Rating: 4 stars

Martin Tebay must be enjoying writing these monographs in his Red Rose Cricket Records series. Hats off to Dean! is the fourth to appear in as many months. So far John Tommy Tyldesley, Reggie Spooner and Archie and Reggie go wild at Aigburth have all been excellent productions well worth the 3.5 star rating they have received. His latest is equally good but, due to the achievement it celebrates taking place in a match against Yorkshire, gets a rating just a tick higher.

Harry Dean must be one of the most underrated bowlers in the history of the game and, certainly in my lifetime, his name has rarely been mentioned, even within the boundaries of the Red Rose itself. Dean was a left arm bowler, sometimes slightly above medium pace or, if like in the match we are concerned with it suited his purpose better, he cut his speed down significantly to what would better be described as slow medium. In a career that begun in 1906 and ended in 1921 Dean took 1,301 wickets at the hugely impressive average of 18.14. He did play for England, but just three times in 1912, eleven wickets at 13.90 making it clear he was also happy on a larger stage.

But, returning to the matter in hand, Dean’s purpose on 10, 11 and 12 July 1913 was to help his side triumph over arch rivals Yorkshire in a special ‘Roses’ encounter at the Aigburth ground in Liverpool. He did so in style returning match figures of 17 for 91 and helping Lancashire to a three wicket victory. The performance earns this monograph as Dean’s match analysis remain the best figures ever returned by a Lancashire bowler in a First Class match.

There are three photographs in the booklet, and another on the flyer that accompanies it. Tebay takes a couple of pages to introduce the match and set the scene before the bulk of the narrative then, largely in the words of those who witnessed events unfold, takes the reader through Dean’s achievement.

A brief biographical sketch follows, as does a happy sight for any Lancastrian, the scorecards for those two dismal Yorkshire innings and a list of the 29 best bowling performances for the county. It is an interesting list which has remained the same for almost half a century. Altogether Dean’s name appears four times, once more than the legendary Brian Statham who, back in 1964, was the last man to disturb the running order.

As with its three predecessors Hats off to Dean! is available in a limited edition of just thirty copies which, again in common with the earlier monographs in the series, will doubtless sell out very quickly.

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Martin Chandler