Peter John Hartley
Peter John Hartley
April 18, 1960, Keighley, Yorkshire
Right-hand bat, Right-arm medium-fast, Umpire
9 September 1987
When Yorkshire agreed to Peter Hartley’s request in 1985 to be given another chance with his native county they could hardly have envisaged what a shrewd decision it would turn out to be. Peter, now firmly established on the First Class umpires’ list, went on to become one of Yorkshire’s most successful pacemen, claiming 579 wickets at an average of 30.11 runs apiece.
Only Fred Trueman, Chris Old and Tony Nicholson of Yorkshire’s fast bowlers since the 1939-45 war had managed a higher number of wickets and Peter is one of only five Yorkshire bowlers to have exceeded 500 wickets in fewer than 200 matches, his final tally of games being 195.
Few of Yorkshire’s high achievers have had to overcome bigger obstacles than Peter before things began to go their way. As a young man with a long run-up and some pace off the pitch, Peter turned out for Yorkshire Seconds for three seasons from 1970, the textile firm to which he was apprenticed allowing him the necessary time off. But then came redundancy and Peter’s request to be given a contract had to be rejected by manager, Ray Illingworth, because there were enough fast bowlers already on the staff.
He moved on to Warwickshire for a season and one of the two first team matches he played in was against Yorkshire, his first two victims in county cricket being Richard Lumb and David Bairstow. Edgbaston did not work out, however, and after a short spell with Somerset Seconds, Peter wrote to Yorkshire coach, Doug Padgett, and asked if he could be considered for some second team matches if his performances with home club, Keighley, in the Bradford League, merited it. ‘Padge’ agreed, Peter soon showed his worth and against Surrey at Sheffield in 1985 he became the first cricketer in Yorkshire’s history to make his debut after playing for another county.
It was still not all plain sailing because a serious back injury threatened to nip his career in the bud but once that problem was out of the way, Peter settled in permanently and was no longer the young tearaway of old. He became the Richard Hadlee of Yorkshire, forsaking sheer pace and compensating with a tighter length and line and greater movement off the seam.
Peter was 35, an age at which most fast bowlers are thinking of hanging up their boots if they have not already done so, when he reached his peak with 81 first class wickets during the 1995 season, sitting on top of the national averages table for most of the summer.
The best spell of his career probably occurred in the opening match of that season at Grace Road when his first innings analysis of 20-12-19-5 helped Yorkshire to beat Leicestershire by nine wickets, but it was in the next game at Chesterfield that he emerged a real hero by snatching nine for 41 in the second innings, including a hat-trick, as Derbyshire were beaten by seven runs.
Peter loved to entertain while at the crease and technically he was a much better batsman than his figures for Yorkshire of 3,844 first class runs at an average of 20.66 would suggest. A Roses century in difficult circumstances and a ton against Gloucestershire proved that he could look after himself but he was at his happiest when his bat had the same effect on a cricket ball as his shrewdly selected iron had on a golf ball – both usually disappearing out of sight.
Not surprisingly, Peter also shone at the one-day game and he was one of an elite band of Yorkshire all-rounders to have achieved the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in Sunday League cricket.
In 1998, he moved on to Hampshire to see out his career and the following year he showed Yorkshire there was still plenty of fight in the old warhorse by capturing eight for 65 against them at Basingstoke and returning match figures of 11 for 117. Yorkshire still had the last laugh over Hampshire – they won by six wickets.
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