Arthur Wood (cricketer)

Arthur Wood (August 25, 1898, Bradford, Yorkshire - April 1, 1973, Ilkley, Yorkshire) was an English cricketer who played in 4 Tests from 1938 to 1939.

Wood appeared in 420 first-class matches from 1927 to 1949. A right-hander, he scored 8842 runs, averaging 21.20, with one century and 43 fifties, and made 886 dismissals, including 255 stumpings. He was awarded his Yorkshire cap in 1929 and made the wicket-keeping position at Yorkshire his own through the 1930s including making 225 consecutive appearances. His most successful season with the bat was in 1935 when he scored his only century (123 not out against Worcestershire); in this season he passed 1000 runs for the only time, the first Yorkshire wicketkeeper to do so.

In 1938 Wood made his Test debut against Australia just days before his 40th birthday. A late selection, he travelled from Leeds to London by taxi, and contributed 53 in 92 minutes off 95 balls to England's then world record total of 903-7 declared. Joining Joe Hardstaff with The Oval scoreboard reading 770-6 when Len Hutton was dismissed for 364, he famously quipped "I was always the man for a crisis" before sharing a stand of 106 for the seventh wicket.

In 1939 Wood was selected as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year; also in this year came his other three Test matches, which were against the West Indies, and were the last Tests before the Second World War. He played just a handful of first-class games after the war.

Fron an obituary in "the Cricketer": "Arthur's invariable good humour and wit commended him to everybody, and it is well expressed in the series of little stories when he was chosen, just before his 40th birthday, to play in his first Test match, at The Oval against Australia in 1938. Chosen as a last-minute replacement, Arthur had to make the journey from Nottingham to London by taxi to be certain of getting to the ground on time. When the taxi driver asked him for his fare, £7 15s, Arthur told him he was only paying for the ride, not buying the taxi. The taxi-man described him as 'a very amusing gentleman'. He was. Arthur went to the crease when more than 500 runs had been put on the board and he made another 53. When congratulated on his first Test half-century, he replied, 'I was always good in a crisis.' Returning to the pavilion, he looked out the groundsman, 'Bosser' Martin, and with a serious face said, `Bosser, there's some holes in your pitch.' `Holes?' queried Bosser. `Aye. Six - where t'stumps go in,' said Arthur. In the next year he was the first choice for England in the series with West Indies.

He could do most things far above average, played to a single-figure handicap at golf, got his 50s at billiards and snooker, and at the card table could play anything from bridge to snap.

At rhyming slang, so popular in the 'thirties, he was an expert. He never asked a groundsman if there had been any rain. `Had any France and Spain?' he asked. He raised his `titfa' (tit-for-tat) to acknowledge the applause of the crowd. Sometimes he called it `talk and chat'.

There was never a dull moment when he was about. To see him dive to the leg side and do a couple of somersaults before surfacing with the ball and a terrific 'Howzat!' lifted the flagging spirits of bowlers whether the batsman was out or not. But, as so often happens, in later years his fun hid tragedy. He kept house for himself. For 20 years he visited his wife in hospital, never missed a visiting day, and did not once grumble. In life as in cricket he had a heart as big as a mountain."

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