October 21, 1940, Fitzwilliam, Yorkshire
Right-hand bat, Right-arm medium
2 October 1963. YCCC Cap No. 108.
Scoring his one hundredth first-class century at Headingley in August 1977
BATTING AND FIELDING AVERAGES
Geoffrey was a limpet – sound defence, a big stride and with eyes over the ball in textbook fashion he exceedingly tough to dislodge from the crease. His appetite for runs, his controversial periods and his outspoken views are legendary in world cricket.
In 108 Test Matches he scored a record (at the time) 8,114 runs at an average of 47.72. For Yorkshire he was captain for 8 difficult seasons, but his 32,570 first-class runs at 57.85 with 103 centuries speaks for itself.
Geoffrey joined Ackworth Cricket Club in 1950 and in the 1st Team at 13-years-old. Aged 15 he started playing for Barnsley in the Yorkshire League and at 20 he moved to Leeds. He debuted for the Yorkshire 1st Team in 1962 without setting the world on fire. The following winter he gave up his job at the Ministry of Pensions in Barnsley to devote his time to practice. His maiden century followed when he partnered Bryan Stott in a 4th wicket stand of 249 as Yorkshire recovered against Lancashire at Bramall Lane, finishing with 145. By the end of the season he had scored 1,628 runs at 45.22 and was awarded his county cap.
He began 1964 with three centuries and a 77 in the opening six matches. England came calling and his place at the top of the national averages became the norm. When the mood took him he could attack. His 146 in the 1965 Gillette Cup Final included 3 sixes and 15 fours.
He was dropped by England for slow scoring against India at Headingley in 1967 when he made 246 not out
When Brian Close relinquished the Yorkshire captaincy after the 1970 season Geoffrey became Yorkshire’s 22nd captain in 107 years. Boycott never stopped scoring runs – 2,503 of them in 1970 at an average of 102, but Yorkshire finished in their lowest position (13th) only the fourth time they had ever finished outside the top ten. The Yorkshire public were firmly behind Sir Geoffrey.
A divided dressing room led to Yorkshire finishing 10th, 14th and 11th in the next three seasons. Players left, including Bill Athey in 1983, and in 1974 the players intended to write a letter expressing their discontent to the Committee. Boycott had stood down from Test cricket and the players thought he would retire from the game so the letter was never sent. When Boycott’s intention to play on became apparent the rebel players went into exile, but an influx on young talent saw Yorkshire finish 2nd in the Championship in 1975.
8th place in 1976 followed and 12th in 1977 as Boycott returned to Test cricket. Illingworth returned as team manager in 1979 and Hampshire replaced Geoffrey as captain. Boycott had massive support amongst the Yorkshire faithful, particularly in Wakefield and South Yorkshire.
He returned triumphantly in 1977, scoring a century in his comeback Test and another - his 100th in first-class cricket - in front of his adoring home crowd at Headingley.
His articulate, intelligent and forthright views on the game led him into an increasingly influential media career.
His value to England is displayed by the fact that only 20 of his 108 Tests ended in defeat, mainly when he failed. His most productive strokes, off the back foot through the covers (his speciality) and the on-drive, were majestic in their power and placement.
His Yorkshire career has had many twists and turns, the latest being a place on the Yorkshire Board.
JMB October 2010
150th Year Celebration
2 Sep 2013
Abbeydale Sports Club, Sheffield