After being named Warwickshire's Greatest Overseas Player in a vote by Bears Members and supporters, Brian Halford spoke with legendary fast bowler Allan Donald about his monumental impact on the double-winning season of 1995; particularly against Yorkshire. The interview will start a weekly review of what is known to many as the 'second' Greatest Season.
Allan Donald was a world-class fast bowler of legendary intensity. The Bears’ South African ace hunted wickets voraciously, whoever the opposition.
But he admits that Yorkshire, in particular, “were just one of those sides that you wanted to crunch.”
And during four heady days during the remarkable 1995 season, the White Rose was well and truly crunched.
The pitch was on the side of the ground where there were relaid wickets and it was an uneven, two-paced deck. Nick Knight told me he just thanked the Lord that we didn’t have to bat last on it.Allan Donald
Yorkshire visited Edgbaston in mid-June that year for championship and Sunday League games together – and they headed back north hammered in both games.
Donald’s combined figures in the two: 38.5-8-91-12. After harvesting match-figures of 32.1-7-76-6 in a three-day championship win, he hit overdrive the following day, Sunday, with 6.4-1-15-6.
Yorkshire didn’t know what had hit them. Or rather they did know. White Lightning.
“There was something about Yorkshire that really made me enjoy playing against them,” recalls Donald. “I don’t know why, but every time I played against them I just felt that something was going to happen. And more times than not it did happen!
“They were just one of those sides that you wanted to crunch. For whatever reason, I can’t tell you why, but whatever it was, whenever I played them I just wanted to walk all over them.”
A.D walked over them quite a lot. In ten first-class matches against Yorkshire he took 56 wickets at 15.78 apiece.
Never was his impact greater than in 1995, in a mid-June victory which was to trigger a run of ten wins in 11 championship games that took Warwickshire to the title with the highest win percentage ever – 14 from 17 games.
Yorkshire captain Martyn Moxon won the toss and chose to bat. He might have slightly regretted his decision when he soon edged Donald to Dominic Ostler in the slips. He was totally regretting it 35 minutes after lunch when the White Rose were all out for 96.
Donald finished with five for 21, Dougie Brown added four for 35 and, by the close, the Bears were in complete command at 209 for four (Nick Knight 91, Ostler 57).
Next day, nightwatchman Keith Piper advanced to 90 and Trevor Penney made 50 as the Bears reached 449. Yorkshire then started their second innings strongly and closed the second day on 115 without loss (Michael Vaughan on 56, Moxon 36) – but on the third morning they fell in the most spectacular heap.
Donald took just one second-innings wicket but, it transpired, had already meted out the decisive blow. Overnight, Moxon retired hurt.
“I hit Martyn on the thumb and just knew he wasn’t comfortable,” recalls Donald. “He didn’t take any further part in the game.
“The pitch was on the side of the ground where there were relaid wickets and it was an uneven, two-paced deck. Nick Knight told me he just thanked the Lord that we didn’t have to bat last on it.”
The Bears were spared that challenge after Yorkshire’s collapse on the third morning. Moxon retired hurt overnight and Vaughan was soon bowled by Tim Munton. Still, at 179 for two the visitors were making a good first of it, but then the last seven wickets fell for six runs in five overs.
Brown’s four for 24 completed match-figures of eight for 59 while Munton took four for 63 and was on a hat-trick when Brown ended the innings by bowling Mark Robinson. Yorkshire were 185 all out and beaten by an innings and 168 runs.
A.D hadn’t finished. In the Sunday League, the following day, the Bears made modest 175 for six (Roger Twose 69 not out) and Yorkshire’s reply began well as Vaughan and David Byas took them to 36 without loss.
Then Donald, brought on first change, trapped Vaughan lbw – and Yorkshire folded all out for 56. All their wickets fell for 20 runs, including seven in 50 balls.
Munton nipped out Byas and Brad Parker, Paul Smith bowled Richard Stemp in a nifty spell of 1-1-0-1 and Donald ripped out the rest. Six for 15. Crunch!