Annesley & Kirkby Cricket

Harold Larwood

Harold Larwood was born on November 14th 1904, in Nuncargate, near Kirkby in Ashfield
in Nottinghamshire. Larwood worked in the local coal mines when he was 14, however four
years later he left to join the ground staff at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground in Nottingham. He
would go on to make his debut for Nottinghamshire in 1925 and was then selected to
represent England against Australia in 1926.
Larwood earned a reputation for being a fearsome bowler, with tremendous speed and
accuracy. He further enhanced his career in Tests against Australia (1926, 1928, and
1930), the West Indies 1928), South Africa 1929, and New Zealand 1931. It was however the
1932-33 tour to Australia, that would see Larwood make his most important stamp on the
history of Test cricket. The then England captain, Douglas Jardine, ordered Larwood and
Nottinghamshire team mate Bill Voce to use bodyline, or fast-leg theory against their
opponents. This meant bowling and aiming their deliveries directly at the Australian batsmen
in an effort to unsettle and intimidate their opponents. The tactic certainly worked; England
took the series 4-1, with Larwood taking 33 wickets at an average of just 19 runs apiece.
Larwood, sadly splintered a bone in his foot during the final Test. Although the tactic was a
huge success the bodyline strategy was widely denounced not being within the spirit of the
game. Larwood, who refused to apologise for his actions, never played for England again. He
would continue to play for Nottinghamshire until 1938, when he retired with a 14-year career
total of 1,427 first-class wickets at an average 17.51, including 78 wickets (average 28.53) in
21 Tests. Larwood was also a useful middle-order batsman, with 7,290 first-class runs and a
respectable three centuries to his name. Ironically he immigrated to Australia, the scene of his
most controversial triumph in 1950. He went on to be honoured by his country and received
an MBE in 1993. Larwood was truly one of Ashfield's finest.
Larwood died July 22, 1995, in Sydney, Australia.
In 2009, Larwood was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame.