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Another side of Brian Close

Another side of Brian Close


Cricket writer, David Warner, who formerly reported on the Bradford Cricket League and then Yorkshire CCC for the Telegraph and Argus, has written a fascinating book about a side of Brian Close that has never previously been revealed.

Just A Few Lines...The Unseen Letters and Memorabilia of Brian Close will be published soon after the start of the new season by Great Northern Books and costs £20.

Born in Rawdon, for whom he first played as an 11-year-old, the former Yorkshire and England captain lived in Baildon all his married life, and was well known throughout the Bradford League.

 Everyone interested in cricket is aware of the brilliant but at times controversial career of Close who was actively involved in Yorkshire winning the County Championship seven times between 1959-68, captaining them on the last four occasions and also leading them to two Gillette Cup triumphs.

In addition, he remains England's youngest ever Test player at 18 years and 149 days and he went on to have the best win ratio of any England captain.

A multi-talented sportsman, Close was also on the books of Leeds United, Arsenal and Bradford City where he suffered the knee injury that was to end his soccer career.

His bravery and defiance on the field of play have rarely been equalled and almost as well known are his car-driving exploits which made his passengers tremble - from Sir Ian Botham and Sir Vivien Richards down.

Yet Brian had a much less publicised side to his character which was that of a prolific letter writer, particularly to his best friend, John Anderson, who lived at Horsforth and went to Aireborough Grammar School with Brian who was an excellent scholar and may indeed have gone on to become a doctor if sport had not intervened at a young age.

The MCC Christmas card and its envelope which Brian Close sent to John Anderson while on board ship to Australia for the 1950-51 series.

From his early days with the Yorkshire Cricket Federation right through to the part he played on MCC's controversial tour of Pakistan in 1955-56 -which was almost abandoned after umpire Idris Begh was soaked in cold water at the Tourists' hotel - Close wrote regularly and at length to John, outlining events on an off the field.

All the letters from Australia and Pakistan and from hotels and grounds around England have been saved, along with a host of autograph books and other memorabilia, and they now form part of the Brian Close Collection which is owned by the Archives section of the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation.

Letters and memorabilia from Brian's soccer career are also included in the book as well as detailed accounts of his adventures in the Army while doing National Service at Catterick.

Anyone wishing to order the book before February 1 will receive a signed copy post free and with the name of their choice printed in the list of subscribers at the back of the book. The Yorkshire Cricket Federation will receive £1 per book from all pre-publication orders and two books can  be purchased for £35.

 To place an order go to www.gnbooks.co.uk or call 01274 735056.