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Into The Archives: Brian Bolus's farewell cup win

Into The Archives:  Brian Bolus's  farewell cup win

This was the proudest moment of Brian Bolus's Bradford League career as he held the Priestley Cup aloft after Farsley's thrilling win over Yorkshire Bank in his final seaason.

The former England Test opener ,who died last week aged 86, guided a youthful Farsley side containing such talented players as Ashley Metcalfe, Tim Boon, Chris Gott and David Ripley to victory with two balls to spare.

Metcalfe followed up his match-winning 134 not out against Keighley in the semi-final with another fine innings of 122 as Farsley overhauled Yorkshire Bank’s score of 223-5 to win by five wickets.

Bolus proved to be a calming influence on the young side and ensured they held their nerve in the successful run chase.

The Whitkirk-born player gave service to four different Bradford League clubs either side of a first class career which saw capped by Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire as well as playing seven test for England.

He started out with Bradford in 1956 and 1957 before returning after finishing his first class career in 1975,  with Brighouse for a three-year stint from 1978-80 during which he scored 1,989 before moving on to Cleckheaton where he contributed 1,565 runs in two enjoyable years at Moorend before joining Farsley.

Bolus remained closely connected to the first class game and in 1994 he joined his old pal Raymond Illingworth on the England selection panel.

League president Keith Moss, who was Yorkshire chairman at the time, has many fond memories of meetings with Bolus at Lord's.

He said: "Brian was a gentleman who had a real love for the game. He was a top player who gave great value at first class and league level and knew how the game should be played.

"He would often come and give speeches at a luncheon club I ran down in London and I can remember in the 1990s him coming back to speak at the Bradford League dinner.

"I feel he was unlucky to be let go by Yorkshire in 1962, and he could easily have played more Tests for England.

"His death is a sad loss for cricket and I am sure everybody who knew him from his Bradford League days will have fond memories of him."

An aggressive batsman, Bolus made his Yorkshire debut against MCC at Lord’s in 1954. He went on to play in 107 matches for his native county, scoring 4,712 runs with seven centuries and a top score of 146 not out against Hampshire at Portsmouth in 1960.

He helped them win the Championship three times and twice completed 1,000 runs in a season, his most prolific summer being in 1961 with 1,970 runs, but a year later he was not retained as Yorkshire turned to a young Geoff Boycott.

Brian Bolus was a team-mate of the great West Indian all-rounder Gary Sobers at Nottingham

Bolus  went on to join Nottinghamshire in 1963, making the first of his seven England Test appearances in the same season against the West Indies

Bolus was at Trent Bridge from 1963-72, playing in 269 matches and completing 1,000 runs in each season he played. He captained them in 1972 before moving on to Derbyshire captain from 1973 up to his retirement at the end of the 1975 season.

He became the third player to represent three first-class counties and the first to captain different counties in consecutive seasons. While at Derbyshire he hit the headlines at Chesterfield by sending off team-mate and England fast bowler, Alan Ward, who had declined to resume bowling.

Year Club Div Inns No Hs Runs Ave
1956 Bradford 1 12 1 108 398 36.18
1957 Bradford 1 15 0 68 283 18.87
1978 Brighouse 2 22 11 82* 581 52.81
1979 Brighouse 2 23 5 106* 824 45.78
1980 Brighouse 2 21 3 74 584 32.44
1981 Cleckheaton 1 23 3 99* 706 35.30
1982 Cleckheaton 2 23 3 115* 859 42.95
1983 Farsley 1 19 1 107 640 35.56
  Career totals 158 27 115* 4875 37.21
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