Drake Alonzo Image 1 Sheffield United 1905

Drake Alonzo Image 1 Sheffield United 1905


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Rotherham born inside forward Alonzo Drake played junior football for Parkgate in 1900 before joining Second Division Doncaster Rovers in 1901, making his Football League debut at Stockport County in February 1902, scoring in a 2-1 victory. After two  seasons at Doncaster, where he scored 7 goals in 37 appearances, he joined Sheffield United in August 1903 and from 1904 was a regular in their starting line up. Despite this he was viewed by some supporters as lazy with claims that he conceded possession too easily which led to regular barracking during games.

He joined Birmingham for £700 in December 1907, having scored 20 goals in 98 appearances for The Blades. He scored 3 goals in 13 appearances during the rest of the 1907-08 season for Birmingham, but left the club when they suffered relegation at the end of the season, joining Southern League Queen’s Park Rangers the following summer. He scored 5 goals in 19 appearances for Rangers during 1908-09 and then played for Huddersfield Town in 1909 in the year before they joined The Football League before finishing his career.

Drake also had a successful career as a professional cricketer, being left-handed both as batsman and bowler and made his debut in the Yorkshire first eleven  in 1909. Tried in five matches, he showed distinct promise, but in the following season he fell below expectation, and it was not until 1911 that he firmly established himself in the side. In that season he had a batting average of 35 in county matches, and took 61 wickets. Until the outbreak of the First World War, which put a stop to first class cricket, he was a regular for Yorkshire. He took a hat-trick against Essex at Fartown Ground, Huddersfield in 1912, in a spell in which he took 5 wickets and conceded no runs.

In 1913 he came right to the fore as a bowler, taking 102 wickets and heading the Yorkshire averages ahead of M.W. Booth. He claimed remarkable 4-4 and 3-3 returns, for match figures of 7-7, against Somerset at The Recreation Ground, Bath that season. In 1914, he took 135 wickets and was again at the top of the county’s bowling averages. Eclipsing everything he had previously done, in August 1914 he took all ten Somerset wickets in one innings at Weston-super-Mare for 35 runs, his analysis for the full match being fifteen wickets for 51 runs. Only Drake, Hedley Verity (twice), and Frank Smailes, have taken all ten wickets in an innings for Yorkshire.

Besides the clean sweep, he had 29 other 5 wicket innings. Like Schofield Haigh, he was devastating on poor or rain affected wickets but, unlike Haigh, could bowl long spells and had a fine economy rate on flatter batting tracks. As a batsman he scored 4,816 runs with a top score of 146 not out, making 3 centuries and 20 half centuries in 157 matches.

Drake was a heavy smoker and was twice rejected by the army when he tried to enlist after the outbreak of The First World War. He subsequently fell into ill health, and died in February 1919 aged 34, at Honley, Yorkshire.

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