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Dales town hounours its cricketing hero

[Wednesday 08 March 2006]

The latest in a long line of famous sons will be honoured today in a Yorkshire Dales market town.

A blue plaque marking the birthplace of Yorkshire and England cricketer George Gibson Macaulay will be unveiled at Town End in Thirsk.

It is the latest in a series of the memorial plaques to be placed around Thirsk and Sowerby by the Town Council - eleven of the 19 plaques are now in position.

Macaulay was born in the town in 1897 and went to school in Barnard Castle - a place he would return to often during his cricketing career.

By modern standards Macauley came to the game late, starting his career as a fast bowler with Yorkshire at the age of 23.

Under the influence of George Hirst and Wilfred Rhodes, he reduced his speed to medium pace and as recorded in the Wisden Cricketers' Almanac, he developed spin and controlled his length "with such effect that on June 2, 1921, at Hull, six Derbyshire batsmen fell to him at a cost of only 3 runs".

The success set MacAulay on the road to becoming a cricketing legend and he gave up his job in a bank to become a valued member of the Yorkshire County side.

The plaque will be placed on the side of the building next to that where Macaulay lived; it reads:

'Here was born George Gibson Macaulay (1897 - 1940) A famous Yorkshire and England cricketer who played his first game for the County in 1920 An all rounder - he took 1733 wickets for Yorkshire at an average cost of 17.08 runs and scored 5759 runs. He made eight test appearances'

Roy D Wilkinson, vice president of Yorkshire Cricket Club and Robin Smith, Chairman of the Board of Yorkshire Cricket Club performed the unveiling at 11.30am - the time that first class cricket matches started in Macaulay's day.

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