How divine intervention helped Lord Hawke make huge impact
Eleven for the Scarboro’ Carnival”, as Carter put it, hence Hawke’s selection for his firstclass debut in September 1881.
As Hawke recalled in his 1924 autobiography: “I have always regarded the Rev ES Carter as my father in Yorkshire cricket.
“He watched me score at York and it was he who brought me into the county side when he arranged the teams for the Scarborough Festival.
“My debut was against MCC… It cannot be said that I was inordinately successful for I only contributed 4 and 0, each time bowled by Barnes.”
Hawke fared a tad better in the subsequent match against I Zingari, top-scoring with 32 in the Yorkshire second innings.
“Each innings I was at the wicket with Parson Carter. He had been a double Blue (at Oxford) – and a genuine one. The good old double Blue meant you had played for the Eleven (at cricket) and rowed in the Eight.
“Canon Carter never forgot he had introduced me into the Yorkshire Eleven and was very proud of the fact.
“Even in my day he still retained his brilliant cutting, and was a most active field.”
The word “active”, indeed, seems to sum up Carter perfectly.
While serving the church in York from 1875, he was involved in an astonishing number of local organisations and CRICKETING ROYALTY: community projects, which must have made him one of the most recognisable figures in Yorkshire at that time.
In addition to his talent for batting (he was also a skilled fast bowler and wicketkeeper), Carter was an accomplished musician.
He played the piano, wrote hymn tunes and was a solo bass vocalist in the York Amateur Choral Society, his energy matched only by his innate good cheer.
While at Oxford, Carter suffered an attack of pleurisy (inflammation of the tissue between the lungs and ribcage) after being soaked during a thunderstorm while rowing, and, as part of his convalescence, he travelled to Australia, where he played one first-class match for Victoria in 1869.
On his death in 1923, aged 78, one anonymous letter appeared in The Australasian newspaper which provided a rare personal recollection.
“Carter was an uncommonly good looking man; tall, very upright, rather slim, but when I knew him powerful, and with a well trimmed curly beard, fair moustache, and curling auburn hair.
“Everyone liked him and he was utterly ‘imparsonish’. You would never have suspected from his voice that he was a clergyman.
“He was a pretty batsman, and a forceful (one), with excellent style and making full use of his reach.
“He had one particularly charming stroke, pushing, very powerfully and gracefully a good length ball on his leg stump for three or four.”
Hawke, who among myriad credits is famous for devising the Yorkshire players’ white rose badge, remembered that Carter occasionally had to make dexterous arrangements when his church duties clashed with those of his cricket.
“When we were engaged in Yorkshire Gentlemen matches at York, he and the Rev EB Firth (who also played for Yorkshire) were often on the side.
“At that time, they were both Minor Canons in the Cathedral, and perhaps in the middle of their innings one would retire to conduct afternoon service, and then come back to resume his place at the wicket.”
Carter, who always denied that he was the cricketing cleric who supposedly announced, one Sunday morning from the pulpit, “Here endeth the first innings”, moved to the rural parish of Thwing, Driffield, in later life.
At his funeral, the Bishop of Hull, the Right Reverend Francis Gurdon, spoke warmly of a man whose place in Yorkshire’s cricketing history is assured by his “gift”, in Lord Hawke, of its greatest representative.
“Teddy Carter lived a life of self-abasement, sinking his own ambitions in order that he might get the very best out of others.
“Whether Teddy Carter was at cricket or in the pulpit he lived the same life – a life of helpfulness, and in this he was an example to those people who are always considering themselves.”
Yorkshire players with Lord Hawke at Wighill Park, Hawke’s family home, published in The Tatler in 1901. Hawke, standing, is fourth from the right and Carter, seated, is directly in front of him. Inset, Teddy Carter.