Willie Watson (English cricketer)

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Willie Watson
Willie Watson 1951.jpg
Willie Watson in 1951
Personal information
Full nameWillie Watson[1][2]
Born(1920-03-07)7 March 1920
Bolton upon Dearne, Yorkshire, England
Died24 April 2004(2004-04-24) (aged 84)
Johannesburg, South Africa
BattingLeft-hand bat
International information
National side
Test debut7 June 1951 v South Africa
Last Test14 March 1959 v New Zealand
Career statistics
Competition Tests First-class
Matches 23 468
Runs scored 879 25,670
Batting average 25.85 39.86
100s/50s 2/3 55/132
Top score 116 257
Balls bowled 194
Bowling average
5 wickets in innings
10 wickets in match
Best bowling
Catches/stumpings 8/– 295/–
Source: [1]

Willie Watson,[1][2] (7 March 1920 – 24 April 2004)[3] was an English cricketer, who played for Yorkshire, Leicestershire and England. He was a double international, as Watson was also a footballer who played for England's national team.[4]

Cricket career[edit]

Born in Bolton on Dearne, Yorkshire, England,[4] Watson, a left-handed batsman, made his debut for Yorkshire in 1939, and was a regular in the side for a dozen years after World War II. He made his Test match debut against the South Africans in 1951, and did well. But at a time when England was rich in batting talent, Watson rarely commanded a regular place and his twenty three Test matches were spread across eight years. His most famous innings was one of 109, in almost six hours, which with Trevor Bailey contributing to a partnership of 163, enabled England to save the second Test at Lord's in 1953 against the Australians, when the game appeared to be lost.[4]

Despite being a stylish left-hander, his Test career was a series of stops and starts. He even found himself dropped after his efforts at Lord's for the final Ashes series clinching victory.[4] Nevertheless, he was one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1954.

Watson toured in the West Indies in 1953–54, and scored his second Test century in Jamaica. His final Test appearance was in New Zealand in March 1959. Watson's highest first-class score was 257, for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) against British Guiana at Georgetown.[3]

Watson's cricket career received a late boost when, in 1958, he left Yorkshire and joined Leicestershire as assistant secretary and captain.[4] A popular if quiet skipper, he temporarily regained his England place, and was also instrumental in a limited revival of the Leicestershire's fortunes.[4] He played his last first-class match for Leicestershire in 1964.[5]

He wrote his memoirs, Double International, in 1956.

Watson emigrated to South Africa in 1968, to coach the Wanderers.[3] He died in Johannesburg in April 2004, at the age of 84.[4]

Football career[edit]

Willie Watson
Personal information
Full name Willie Watson[1][2]
Date of birth (1920-03-07)7 March 1920
Place of birth Bolton on Dearne, Yorkshire, England
Date of death 24 April 2004(2004-04-24) (aged 84)
Place of death Johannesburg, South Africa
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1938–1939 Huddersfield Town 11 (0)
1946–1954 Sunderland[6] 211 (16)
1954–1956 Halifax Town 33 (1)
National team
1949–1950 England 4 (0)
Teams managed
1954–1956 Halifax Town
1964–1966 Halifax Town
1966–1968 Bradford City
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

As a footballer, Watson was a cultured wing-half for Huddersfield Town, Sunderland[4] and Halifax Town. He made 211 league appearances for Sunderland, in his seven seasons at the club. He played for England four times,[4] gaining his first cap in England's 9–2 victory over Northern Ireland in November 1949. He was a member of the squad for the 1950 FIFA World Cup, though he did not appear in any of the games in the tournament in Brazil.[3] He had two spells in charge of Halifax, from 1954 to 1956 and later from 1964 to 1966, and also managed Bradford City from 1966 to 1968, where he laid the foundations of a promotion-winning team, but his biggest successes were in cricket.


  1. ^ a b c "Willie Watson". Cricinfo.com. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "The Home of CricketArchive". Cricketarchive.com. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Wisden. "Willie Watson". Espncricinfo.com. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bateman, Colin (1993). If The Cap Fits. Tony Williams Publications. p. 185. ISBN 1-869833-21-X.
  5. ^ "The Home of CricketArchive". Cricketarchive.com. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Sunderland AFC - Statistics, History and Records - from TheStatCat". Thestatcat.co.uk. Retrieved 5 July 2018.

External links[edit]