Yorkhull CC

In 1983 DEREK GEOFFREY MATHER was lying prostrate on the floor of his kitchen vainly reaching for the telephone. Years of  back breaking effort as a wicket-keeper of class had finally taken its toll. A muscle spasm (the doctors confirmed it was a muscle) left him in bed doubled-up in agony as the cricketing world mourned. From such a setback it is remarkable that he managed to make a comeback and was able to don those tatty clubs and perform with fortitude and not a little skill until he decided he had had enough. The prerogative of a royal!
Born on 21 November 1955 in Leeds Derek subsequent cricketing prowess did not seem likely as a boy of rather ungainly frame. But as a youngster he developed into an exciting wicket keeping prospect and, in is on words, a stroke playing right hand bat.
He benefitted from playign Club Cricket early on managing to get into the Leeds Yorkshire league side alongside other potential county cricketers. He was noted to by Yorkshire playing representative cricket for Yorkshire schools at u11, under 19's and the under 25. He also played for Yorkshire bank at this time.
 His commitment to Club Cricket restricted his university career while studying politics at Hull. He can recite every monarch since Ethelred the Great, a useful right-hand medium swing bowler. He was however persuaded to play in 1977 by the charismatic university skipper of the day. Within this year too he was to  achieve what must rank as the highpoint of his career when he was selected for Yorkshire seconds. He appears in the 115 edition of Wisden, the only Yorkhull player to achieve this distinction. On Page 831 it reads D Mather 1:6:35:0 a truly average record. He was quiet and unassuming about mixing with future stars even if some regarded it is rather pretentious to get his mate Jim Love to bring a team over to play the university. That day he recorded his most memorable performance out boring Mike Bore in conversation in the bar.
 Work was to take him away from Yorkshire, a great relief to Bairstow and the cricket  loving public of Yorkshire generally. On his first Yorkhull tour you can see him sucking up to Derek Frost at Midsummer Norton trying to wangle his way into the club. This he achieved and began to fill the keeping slot with increasing assurance even asserting that he could read the googly of McDonald. In 1981 he kept for the full Western League team when they won the National Interleague KO Cup. This was the height of his powers. However soon the back injury forced him out of the Norton side and a move even further south now saw him playing occasional cricket for Portsmouth and Southsea when he is not coining in the money marking A-level scripts.
 His career for Yorkhull spanned all the tours only missing one through injury in 1983. In those early years his wicket-keeping was simply outstanding. An undemonstrative and safe custodian, with at then quickish Woodford to get the ball down the legside at Bridgwater in 1981. Two successive stumping gained victory and Woodford his best bowling analysis ever. His ability to stand up to the pace of Woodford, Bright, Senior and Davis showed great technique and athleticism. Hisonly extravagant movements when keeping was when he tried to stop a single throwing off his glove and holding up the restart for over five minutes.
This glove throwing reach new heights in one game in the Lake District. Half way through the innings he simply began to walk towards the pavilion throwing his gloves off and declaring that was it he would not keep again. In to the rescue came the skipper.
 Batting for Yorkhull declined over the years from earlier higher standards. He still shares one of the highest opening partnerships ever for the first wicket. His comforting defensive prod, so low to the ground, is no longer possible where once it looked unbeatable as the basis for some usually stolid performances. Occasionally he would let rip in legendary assault such as the Bridgewater bowlers in 1981 which saw the fielders retreat to the edge of the square. In his autobiography 'The Royal in Me' he writes 'my most memorable six was aginst Steve Perryman (who played first-class cricket for Warwickshire for many seasons good swing and swinging the ball both ways with no discernible change in action) hitting him into a tree outside the ground.  Some people have cruelly retorted it was actually Steve Perryman the Tottenham footballer.
 Though the batting declined a new vitality in his bowling emerged with googlies and leg spin adding to the variety of the team. He first emerged in devastating style when he finished at that great cricketing institutional, Westlands, with an analysis of 1.1-1- 0-2. He was to reconfirm that talent some years later at Chippenham when despite the protestations of Knowles the opposition skipper he weaved his way to 4 for 40. His strike rate is even better than Yorkhull's most economic bowler, Paul Senior. However it could not be maintained. An inherently unstable action depicted in the illustration is almost as contorted as his snooker stance. At ability to get his joints into  such convoluted alignment on the green bears amazes all who see it.
 At Cricket Derek is a man of simple taste(Or is it a simple monarchist my inclination. Early on he established himself as the practical Joker trying to create havoc for the skipper but rarely succeeding. Is most exciting contribution for Yorkhull is undoubtedly been hss acquisition of the Heaves Hotel. But to see him keep  again with those tatty gloves, a joy to behold the stumps, he was a true master. All in all Derek can rightly be regarded as a good egg, a royalist egg but the good egg nevertheless.