Jack Robinson - Middlesex CCC - The unsung hero.

Jack Robinson - Middlesex CCC - The unsung hero.

Some cricketers however talented are destined to live in the shadows of others – Middlesex’s post-war batter Jack Robertson was one such case.

In the era of Middlesex ‘Twins’ Denis Compton and Bill Edrich, Robertson became cricket’s equivalent of the Hollywood Oscar nominee too often left applauding others on the big day.

He’s Morgan Freeman (Hoke Colburn in Driving Miss Daisy) losing out to Daniel Day-Lewis (My left Foot) in 1989 before being trumped at the last again in 1994 when his portrayal of Red in the Shawshank Redemption gave best to Tom Hanks’ Forest Gump – you get the picture.

Yet, for all that, Robertson was a pivotal part of Middlesex’s post-war County Championship triumphs of 1947 and 1949 – the latter shared with Yorkshire – successes recounted in Middlesex CCC - The Championship Years – JMD Media Ltd by Jon Batham and Ben Kosky.

The Chiswick-born right-hander plundered almost 3000 runs in the summer of 1947, only for Messrs Compton and Edrich to top that number.

And while he was named one of Wisden’s ‘Five Cricketers of the Year’ in 1948 as result, there remains a lingering feeling he received the coveted award because his two more esteemed teammates had won it before, and it wasn’t the publication’s usual practice to nominate somebody twice.

As if to underscore this idea of the understudy, Robertson was selected for the second Test match of 1949 against New Zealand because of an injury to Cyril Washbrook – in all probability a response to his century against Hutton’s Yorkshire at Lord’s just days earlier.

He grasped the nettle and made 121, sharing a stand of 143 with Len Hutton, yet with Washbrook fit again he was discarded back into the shadows for the following Test. His response to such shabby treatment? A record-breaking 331 against Worcestershire at New Road, still the highest ever individual score by a Middlesex player and the highest ever made at Worcestershire’s County ground.

It seems, Robertson was a man content with simpler rewards, his cricket playing father having promised in his formative years to give him half a crown for every half-century he made. This was raised to half a crown for every century once he became a first-class cricketer. There would be 67 in all and the 12 received in the Championship year of 1947 were said to be among his most treasured possessions.

Seventy-five years on from sharing the 1949 Championship pennant, The Seaxes and the White Rose County renew rivalries at Lord’s tomorrow. Who, if anyone will prove to be Middlesex’s Robertson of the 1949 instalment?

You can read more about Robertson and Middlesex’s County Championship triumphs by ordering your copy of the book today.
Middlesex CCC - The Championship Years – JMD Media Ltd
Middlesex CCC - The Championship Years: Amazon.co.uk: Batham, Mr Jon, Kosky, Mr Ben: 9781780916484: Books

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