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Murphy Walwyn was a great entertainer

Murphy Walwyn was a great entertainer

Few players have made such a thrilling impact on the Bradford League than Murphy Walwyn. Reg Nelson takes a look at his long and memorable career.

If a young Murphy Walwyn came on the scene today, there would be counties queuing at his door to sign him up to white ball cricket. In his peak years he was a lightening quick bowler who could hit the ball for miles in middle order. He was also a remarkable slip fielder.

Murphy always played with a glint in his eye that belied the fact that he had a steely determination to win the battle.

He arrived on the scene at the beginning of East Bierley’s chapter of trophy winning, and from 1981 he was something of a catalyst for such glories. His career spanned these trophy winning years before he moved to Woodlands who were at the inception of great things themselves.

His all round skills were a key component of East Bierley's historic hat-trick of Priestley Cup triumphs between 1998 and 2000.

 The fact that he shared a full set of trophies with Woodlands when being at the veteran stage of his career speaks volumes about his appetite for the game. Although he ended up playing for a host of clubs, he will always regard himself as a Bierley man having always lived in the village.

He could also be described as one of the greatest entertainers in local cricket- bars would empty when he strode to the crease, and he would rarely disappoint as his record of scoring the season’s fastest fifty amply demonstrates-

Fastest Fifty Trophy
1975     (22 mins)
1980     (14 mins)
1987     (28 mins)
1991     (26 mins)
1992     (19 mins)
2000     (27 balls)
2001     (17 balls)

Murphy soon discovered he could clear all league grounds in six-hitting and could change the balance of the match in a matter of overs. In an era of `woody’ linseed treated bats, as opposed to the heavy scientific wedges of today, he hit the ball astonishing distances.

 East Bierley 1976: Back Peter Hennessey, Graham Aspinall, Terry Foy, Brian Sunter, Murphy Walwyn.
 Front: Freddie Jones, Barry Hodgkinson, Phil Taylor, Brian Nurse, Graham Robinson

  East Bierley 1986: Back Steve Foster, Steve Whitaker, Kevin Rich, Steve Oldham, Murphy Walwyn, C    Bolton,
  David Jay. Front Tony Pickersgill, Brian Lymbery, Steve Rimmington (capt), Steve Leatherdale.


  East Bierley 1987: Back C Spence (scorer), Bren Terry, Murphy Walwyn, Steve Oldham, Bradley     
  Parker, Neil Nicholson, Andy Storr. Front Mark Paynter, Steve Leatherdale, Steve Rimmington,
  Tony Pickersgill, David Jay.

As a fast bowlerMurphy had few peers in league cricket for extreme pace as illustrated by his two all-ten feats. He had a long run-up that would psych the lesser batter out before he even reached the crease.

All-10 Feats
1986     v Farsley          10-47
1987     v Yeadon          10-45

Later in his career he no longer relied on extreme pace and became a very clever medium fast bowler who did more with the ball.

The only real surprise was that he only won the coveted Sir Learie Constantine All-Rounder’s Award on one occasion.

This could well be put down to the fact that often he would bat lower in the order with the skipper’s knowledge that he would not need many overs towards the end of the innings to give his side a real impetus to the scoring.

He also had to compete with some top all-rounders in the league, including Chris Gott and Richard McCarthy.

Murphy’s Sir Learie Constantine All-Rounder’s win was in 1985 when he scored 736 runs, with a top score of 133 not out, and an average of 43.29. This would take him to an extremely healthy fourth in the league batting averages. His bowling was less spectacular, but he did take 33 wickets at a cheap price of 16.48 each.

Murphy arrived in the village of East Bierley in 1970 at the age of 14, after being born and brought up in the West Indian Island of St Kitts and Nevis.

Batting legend and former team-mate Brian Lymbery, writing in the Bradford League Centenary Book of 2003, remembered his arrival well: “He turned up at our practice night at East Bierley with one of his friends. He was just 14 and told us he fielded and bowled a bit.

“Towards the end of the session we asked him if he would like to have a bat against the first team players. It was not long before he started to slog sweep the ball out of the ground into the farmyard that used to be behind the pavilion.

“Our off-spinner John Davies came to me and said that if Murphy continued playing that shot the club would have no practice balls left. I went to Murphy and suggested he tried to put his foot alongside the ball and hit it straighter. It made little difference because Murphy continued to hit us out of sight with his favourite shot. We could see then what we knew later that Murphy was a natural sweeper of the ball.

“It is important to acknowledge the fact that he was a hard-hitting stroke player and not a slogger. He has turned many games during his career through his good and positive batting. He made a massive contribution to the emergence of East Bierley.”

Lymberry concludes: “At his peak he was an extremely lively fast bowler who twice took all ten wickets in an innings. He was, I suppose, a little unorthodox, but he was highly effective. On top of that, he has always been a magnificent fielder who has taken many fine catches.”

Chris Gott was one of Murphy’s all-rounder contemporaries, and he wrote this in the Bradford League Centenary Book of 2003.

“I played a lot of games with him for the Bradford League Representative side, and he was one of those players who thrived on pressure. The bigger the occasion, the better he performed.”

“Murphy has produced some wonderful performances down the years, particularly for East Bierley, where he was a regular match winner.”

“He has never been an 800 runs a season man, but the runs he got always carried a high premium. He might score 600 say but would have produced many telling contributions which won a number of matches. That is the worth of Murphy Everton Walwyn.”

The late Brian Redfearn, an ebullient cricketer in the league during his peak years in the 50s, and a professional footballer with Bradford Park Avenue, had this to say about Murphy in 2003.

“My favourite player in recent years is Murphy Walwyn. He has been a simply outstanding all-rounder. On many occasions I have seen him come in to bat in demanding situations.

“He has never been fazed by it and has turned many games on their head with his aggressive batting. At his peak he was also an exceptionally fine opening bowler and outstanding slip fielder.”

   East Bierley 1992:  Back -  Phillip Robinson, Andy Cutts, Stephen Inwood, Murphy Walwyn,
   Matthew Barnes, Stuart Greenwood. Front Graham Sivyer, Simon Curry, David Jay (capt), Steve
   Rimmington, Steve Leatherdale.

 East Bierley celebrate their hat-trick of Priestley Cup wins in 2000. Back: Anthony McGrath, 
 Matthew Barnes, Rob Burton, Jaffer Nazir, Richard Gould, Paul Hemming, Andrew Stothart. Front:
 Andrew Bairstow, Murphy Walwyn, Dermot McGrath, Paul Carroll, Kez Ahmed.

When Murphy was inducted into the Wisden Club Cricket Hall of Fame, journalist Scott Oliver wrote:  Murphy was ineligible for Yorkshire due to their home-grown qualification rule. He had trials with Leicestershire but “nothing came of it” so he focused on competitive club cricket, often spending Sundays playing in Bristol, Nottingham, Birmingham and beyond on the long-disappeared Caribbean friendly circuit.

In 1981 he had a season at Lascelles Hall in the Huddersfield League, where, he says, he was shoved in the middle order after being typecast as a hitter. This may have had something to do with the fact that Walwyn would win the BCL’s fastest fifty award a staggering seven times (the quickest taking just 14 minutes), one year smashing ex-England spinner Don Wilson for 27 in an over on consecutive weekends.

He had six years back at East Bierley, then two summers as a pro at Royton in the now-defunct Central Lancashire League, mixing it with the likes of Carl Hooper, Gus Logie and Eldine Baptiste, before returning home for another 11 years.

 Murphy Walwyn helped Woodlands to the league title, Priestley Cup and Black Sheep Yorkshire 
 Champions Trophy trble in 2006.

He switched to Woodlands in 2001, having “promised them I’d go if they ever got in the Bradford League”, where he spent eight of the next nine years (the other was at Gomersal), winning three straight BCL titles to add to a trio won at East Bierley.

In 2010 and still as keen as ever for first XI cricket, Murphy went on a last grand tour, spending a season each at BCL’s Bankfoot, Carlton in the Central Yorkshire League, Lascelles Hall and Kirkheaton in HCL, before returning home, via a year at Woodlands, for his 28th and 29th seasons at East Bierley.

His productivity inevitably waned, but Walwyn has managed to bank 14,869 BCL runs and 587 wickets, while also playing in a record 13 Priestley Cup finals, the BCL’s prestigious and fiercely contested knockout.

Beyond the numbers and records, Walwyn is steeped in Bradford League cricket, almost synonymous with it, and unfurls stories of duels with VVS Laxman, Mohammad Yousuf and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, “one of the quickest bowlers I faced.” He also made friendships with ex-Kiwi internationals Simon Doull and Mark Greatbatch, both former Pudsey St Lawrence pros. “When they’re in the country they call me, and we all go to Pudsey and have a drink together.”

In 2016 he called time on Saturday cricket to remain fit and fresh for Yorkshire over 60s, to whom he graduated after a decade in the over 50s that saw the Tykes defeat Sussex at Horsham to lift the 2006 national title. He was also selected for England over 60s in 2016, going on a successful Ashes tour Down Under on which he averaged 44 with the bat.

But the greatest highlight of all was a trip across the Pennines to Bacup CC a few years ago to meet the man who gave him his middle name, Everton Weekes. “I handed him a photograph to sign and said, ‘Hello, I’m the fourth W!’” .

It is the measure of the man, Murphy Everton Walwyn, that he intends putting something back into cricket at his favourite cricket club East Bierley.

Committee member Ross Monaghan explains. “Murphy has now officially joined the club’s committee to help with the ground work now he’s retired. He will also be a vital voice to drive the cricket section over the forthcoming years.”

MURPHY WALWYN'S CAREER RECORD
BATTING
YEAR CLUB Div Inns No Hs Runs Ave
1971 East Bierley 1 6 1 14 33 6.60
1972 East Bierley 2 2 0 7 8 4.00
1973 East Bierley 2 18 1 20 158 9.29
1974 East Bierley 2 21 4 78* 388 22.82
1975 East Bierley 2 19 4 91* 528 35.20
1976 East Bierley 2 22 5 93 557 32.76
1977 East Bierley 1 19 1 32 236 13.11
1978 East Bierley 1 19 3 70 427 26.68
1979 East Bierley 1 14 0 47 315 22.50
1980 East Bierley 1 20 2 50 326 18.11
1982 East Bierley 1 21 2 93 631 33.21
1983 East Bierley 1 21 4 102* 644 37.88
1984 East Bierley 1 23 6 145* 630 37.06
1985 East Bierley 1 22 5 133* 736 43.29
1986 East Bierley 1 22 6 100* 711 44.44
1987 East Bierley 1 20 6 78* 596 42.57
1990 East Bierley 1 17 5 87 393 32.75
1991 East Bierley 1 19 7 62 378 31.50
1992 East Bierley 1 19 4 73 490 32.67
1993 East Bierley 1 22 4 102 436 24.22
1994 East Bierley 1 20 7 80* 587 45.15
1995 East Bierley 1 20 5 107 670 44.67
1996 East Bierley 1 24 9 101 672 44.80
1997 East Bierley 1 19 5 56 368 26.29
1998 East Bierley 1 16 3 69 327 25.15
1999 East Bierley 1 21 6 159* 676 45.07
2000 East Bierley 1 14 3 82* 318 28.91
2001 Woodlands 2 18 7 76* 492 44.73
2002 Woodlands 1 19 2 66 337 19.82
2003 Woodlands 1 17 6 40* 315 28.64
2004 Woodlands 1 21 4 71 436 25.65
2005 Gomersal 2 19 5 62 457 32.64
2006 Woodlands 1 12 3 58 184 20.44
2007 Woodlands 1 14 6 31 171 21.38
2008 Woodlands 1 14 2 20 102 8.50
2009 Woodlands 1 11 3 22 70 8.75
2010 Bankfoot 1 9 1 14 39 4.88
2014 Woodlands 1 2 2 2* 3 3.00
2015 East Bierley 1 4 1 12 23 7.67
2016 East Bierley P 1 0 1 1 1.00
   Career Totals 661 150 133* 14869 29.1
BOWLING
YEAR CLUB Div Ovs M Runs Wkts Ave
1973 East Bierley 2 71 9 278 14 19.86
1974 East Bierley 2 186 49 548 24 22.83
1975 East Bierley 2 202 31 745 35 21.29
1976 East Bierley 2 95 16 294 16 18.38
1977 East Bierley 1 93 12 332 19 17.47
1978 East Bierley 1 161 27 552 27 20.44
1979 East Bierley 1 52 5 226 4 56.50
1980 East Bierley 1 43 9 165 11 15.00
1982 East Bierley 1 55 5 233 6 38.83
1983 East Bierley 1 44 10 188 6 31.33
1984 East Bierley 1 199 44 596 31 19.23
1985 East Bierley 1 169 35 544 33 16.48
1986 East Bierley 1 253 59 775 48 16.15
1987 East Bierley 1 223 31 855 43 19.88
1990 East Bierley 1 231 34 851 47 18.11
1991 East Bierley 1 185 32 706 25 28.24
1992 East Bierley 1 206 30 779 28 27.82
1993 East Bierley 1 168 24 587 30 19.57
1994 East Bierley 1 97 17 395 16 24.69
1995 East Bierley 1 110 11 489 23 21.26
1996 East Bierley 1 32 2 121 8 15.13
1997 East Bierley 1 93 18 374 18 20.78
1998 East Bierley 1 47 6 213 8 26.63
1999 East Bierley 1 55 8 164 6 27.33
2000 East Bierley 1 18 2 81 6 13.50
2001 Woodlands 2 21 3 75 11 6.82
2002 Woodlands 1 68.2 6 336 19 17.68
2003 Woodlands 1 28.4 3 120 5 24.00
2004 Woodlands 1 18 3 95 3 31.67
2005 Gomersal 2 27.1 3 111 6 18.50
2007 Woodlands 1 6 0 30 1 30.00
2009 Woodlands 1 22 2 127 5 25.40
2010 Bankfoot 1 31 5 131 5 26.20
   Career Totals 3309.7 551 12116 587 20.64

 

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