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Ben Duckett has become the 24th player to represent England in Test cricket whilst with Northamptonshire - so who are the other 23?  Andrew Radd asks - and answers - the question in an article reproduced by permission of the Northamptonshire Telegraph.

Every now and again a quiz question crops up that just cries out for the late John Scopes and a pint of Greene King IPA.

Other fine ales are available, of course.

Northamptonshire’s former cricket chairman – and one half of the local game’s best-known double act – liked nothing more than being set, and then trying out on others, a tricky poser with plenty of answers to tease and tantalise.

After all, what are beer mats for if not to scribble lists on?

And he would have relished not only Ben Duckett’s Test debut in Bangladesh but also the question it prompted – who are the other 23 cricketers to have played in Tests for England whilst with NCCC?

As with so many other County-related achievements, George Thompson was the first to do it.

The selectors picked him for the opening match of the 1909 Ashes series at Edgbaston, and although his was only a walk-on part there – run out for six in his only innings and four wicketless overs – he then appeared in all five Tests in South Africa the following winter.

A series best-remembered, perhaps, for the fact that the star of England’s attack was the Worcestershire amateur George Simpson-Hayward, who bowled underarm.

Another great all-rounder, Vallance Jupp, is number two – and there’s a pleasing link here.

Jupp, who had first worn England colours back in 1921, went to South Africa with MCC in 1922-23, and who should be umpiring the Second and Third Tests in Cape Town and Durban?

Correct.  George Thompson.

It’s a moot point whether Jupp should count as a Northamptonshire player in this particular series.

He had been appointed Secretary at Wantage Road at the end of 1921 but was obliged to serve a two-year residential qualification before he could represent his new club, and in 1922 turned out occasionally for Sussex.

It was 1923 before Jupp made his (non-Championship) debut for Northamptonshire – although he later played in two Tests against the West Indies in 1928, so he’s second on our list in any case.

The Pride of Elton, ‘Nobby’ Clark, and St John’s Tiffield boy Fred Bakewell became England cricketers in 1929 and 1931 respectively, but there was a long wait – with the Second World War in between – before Dennis Brookes gained his one-and-only cap against West Indies in January 1948.

That made five.  And from then on Northamptonshire selections became a bit more frequent, thanks in no small measure to the influence of number six.

Freddie Brown’s return to the Test arena (after a 12-year gap) came in 1949, his first season at the County Ground, and within a decade Frank Tyson, Keith Andrew and Raman Subba Row had followed him into the England team – with David Larter, Colin Milburn and Roger Prideaux all getting the nod in the 1960s.

Like Jupp and Brown before him, fast bowler Bob Cottam was already a Test player when he joined Northamptonshire – and added two more appearances to his tally on Tony Lewis’s tour to the subcontinent in 1972-73.

Which brings us to the most instantly-recognisable of the lot.

For those of us around at the time, the elevation of David Stanley Steele from county-circuit journeyman to national icon in 1975 remains a treasured memory – or, rather, a series of them.

Lord’s, Headingley, The Oval, BBC Sports Personality of the Year…

And his non-selection for the Indian trip at the end of 1976 still rankles.  The moment it stops rankling I shall start worrying about my own marbles.

Peter Willey joined ‘Stainless’ in England’s ranks during the summer of ’76, and in swift order County supporters were also able to celebrate call-ups for Wayne Larkins, Geoff Cook, Allan Lamb, David Capel, Nick Cook (another to make his Test debut before coming to Wantage Road) and Rob Bailey.

Indeed, the selectors’ predilection for all things Northamptonshire reached its pinnacle in 1990 when Lamb, Larkins, Capel and Bailey all made Graham Gooch’s tour party to the Caribbean.

Since then it’s been a less glorious tale.

Paul Taylor earned a couple of appearances – one in Calcutta, the other against New Zealand at Lord’s – while the young lad he’d suggested ought to try spin rather than seam at a schoolboy coaching session, Monty Panesar, became our 23rd representative at Nagpur in 2006.

Now the boy Duckett has made it a nice round two-dozen for the club, and the burning question is who will be number 25 on Scopesy’s celestial beer mat?


You can read Andrew Radd's column every Thursday in the Northamptonshire Telegraph.

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