Mark Robinson (cricketer)
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|Full name||Mark Andrew Robinson|
23 November 1966 |
Hull, Yorkshire, England
|Bowling style||Right-arm fast-medium|
|Domestic team information|
|Source: Cricinfo, 24 September 2009|
After a number of appearances in Northamptonshire's second XI, Robinson made his first-class debut in 1987 against Lancashire, taking four wickets in the match including those of Mike Watkinson and Neil Fairbrother. By the end of the season he was playing a significant part in the first team, and the following year he took 46 first-class wickets at 22.93. However, with the bat he scored only 37 runs in 17 innings, more than half of them when he made 19* and 2* against Essex in his final game of the summer.
He spent the winter in New Zealand playing for Canterbury, though his bowling was not particularly effective and he averaged over 40. Returning to Northants for 1989, Robinson claimed 37 wickets, but a derisory total of 17 runs from 23 innings brought him an average of 1.30 despite 10 not-outs. This included a sequence of seven successive scoreless innings between April and June, although he was dismissed in only five of these.
A world record, then to Yorkshire
1990 saw Robinson surpass even this level of ineptitude with the bat, when he set a world record of 12 first-class noughts in a row (seven of them not out). In all cricket, including second-eleven games, he failed to score in 17 innings from 15 May until 18 August, finishing the season with a total of three runs in 16 first-class innings, with a highest score of 1*; only his ten not-outs helping his season's batting average to the dizzy heights of 0.50. This feat rather overshadowed his bowling for the summer: he took 40 wickets, but at a rather unimpressive average (even considering that year's batting-friendly conditions) of 47.22; his List A figures (24 wickets at 37.91) were somewhat better.
For the 1991 season he moved to Yorkshire, he scored a boundary from the first ball (in an innings of 12), he faced on his debut versus Middlesex at Lord's. Although he had a mediocre year and averaged nearly 50 with the ball, Yorkshire's faith in him was rewarded the following summer. In 1992 he claimed 50 first-class victims at 22.68, taking five wickets in an innings three times, though he had a poor year in the limited-overs game. He also reached double figures with the bat for the first time in three and a half years when he made 12 against Hampshire in May. In between, he had played sixty one innings without reaching double figures, which is the fourth longest such sequence after Jem Shaw between 1865 and the last match of 1870 (71 innings), Eric Hollies between 1948 and 1950 (71 innings) and his Northamptonshire predecessor Nobby Clark between 1925 and 1927 with 65 consecutive single-figure innings.
Robinson remained at Yorkshire for three more summers, taking between 45 and 49 wickets in each of them. In 1993 he achieved a career-best innings return of 9–37 against his old county of Northamptonshire, and also took his career-best List A figures of 4–23 (which he was to equal in 2000). However, after the end of the 1995 season he spent an entire year out of the game before Sussex signed him for the 1997 season.
Sussex and retirement
His first year with his new county proved to be Robinson's best ever with the bat as he passed a hundred runs for the season for the first (and only) time, thanks in part to a game against Lancashire in which he made 27 (the best of his career) and 17, albeit in a losing cause as Sussex were thrashed by an innings. In his main role he was again effective, taking 48 first-class wickets at 29.70, as well as picking up 19 in one-day cricket. In 1998 and 1999 Robinson also passed 40 wickets, but in 2000 his only double-figure List A score (15* against Lancashire) could not compensate for his being in and out of the County Championship side and managing only 16 first-class wickets.
Robinson's final full season was 2001, and it proved to be his most productive: he took 56 wickets at an excellent average of 19.33, topping the Division 2 Championship averages among those bowlers taking 20 or more wickets, while 29 scalps in List A games was also a personal best. Despite this, however, he was to play only one more first-class game, in June 2002 against Yorkshire. He did play a few one-day matches that season, and after a few second-team appearances the following year he retired from playing.