John Ronald Burnet
John Ronald Burnet
October 11, 1918, Saltaire, Shipley, Yorkshire. Died: March 7, 1999 (Aged 80)
30 April 1958. YCCC Cap No. 100.
BATTING AND FIELDING AVERAGES
The career statistics of Ronnie Burnet may suggest that he was something of a failure during his two years in the Yorkshire side, yet nothing could be further from the truth.
The cricket world was startled when Yorkshire announced that Ronnie had been appointed first team captain in 1958 at the age of 39 and without any first class experience. His previous cricket had been with Baildon in the Bradford League and as captain of Yorkshire Seconds and he was promoted in an attempt to bring some order and discipline to a senior side which was going through a period of change.
Things did not quite go according to plan in that first year, because Ronnie suffered a serious calf injury in the game against Cambridge University at Fenner’s and he had to sit out the first seven Championship matches. Yorkshire ended the season outside the top ten in the Championship table for only the second time in their history but Ronnie had already started to mould his team into a much stronger unit and it was a differed story in 1959. By then, Johnny Wardle had been sensationally sacked and other senior players had retired, making it easier for Ronnie to run the team in the way that he wanted.
Incredibly, Burnet’s “young lions” took the Championship by storm and they finished the season as county champions, so ending seven consecutive title wins by Surrey who had been invincible throughout much of the 50s. In 26 innings during that campaign, Ronnie managed only 399 runs at an average of 16.62 with a top score of 54 but Yorkshire’s last amateur captain had restored Yorkshire’s pride and his place in the club’s history was assured.
He would happily have remained in charge for another season but Brian Sellers, whose word within the club was law, thought he should bow out and he did so magnanimously, putting team before self.
As well as shaping the careers of so many talented youngsters during his years as Second XI captain from 1952, Ronnie also showed his leadership qualities with Baildon, the Jenny Lane club being Bradford League champions for three years at the start of the 50s and also winning the Priestley Cup.
Ronnie found himself in the Yorkshire hot seat once again quarter-of-a-century later but this time it was in an off-the-field role and he was involved in a battle which he could not win. He was cricket chairman at the time of the Geoff Boycott controversy and resigned when the general committee received a vote of no confidence at a special general meeting but it was his relatively short reign as captain for which he will be chiefly remembered.
Quotes about Ronnie Burnet:
Brian Close: "Ronnie put his heart and soul into Yorkshire cricket which was his life. He did an excellent job and was always a great encouragement to the younger lads who played under his captaincy. He was always great company to be in and I always enjoyed meeting up with him. I shall miss him very much."
Doug Padgett: "Ronnie turned the side round when he became captain. Everyone respected him and he had the ability to get the best out of his players who would go through hell and high water for him. He took over in troubled times but he stood no nonsense and he sorted things out. He did not pretend to being a first class player himself but he turned us into a side which won seven championships and two Gillette Cup finals over a ten-year period."
Bob Platt: "Like so many others of my generation, I started off under Ronnie in the second team and I greatly admired and respected him. He was an outstanding man for Yorkshire CCC and he was always ready to give advice right up to the end. He was a strong leader and the man responsible for moulding most of the players who went on to win the championship so often."
Yorkshire Bank 40
19 May 2013
Yorkshire Bank 40
27 May 2013
Radlett Cricket Club, Radlett
LV=CC Division One
28 - 31 May 2013
County Ground, Taunton