Known affectionately as ‘Dodge’ William Whysall was one of Nottinghamshire CCC’s most dependable batsman as the county developed into a strong side after the First World War.
Born in the village of Woodborough, Nottinghamshire, on 31 October 1887, William Wilfrid Whysall lived in the town of Mansfield and first played for the county in 1909 for the second eleven team. He managed to hit a century the following year against a Staffordshire side that contained the great England pace bowler S.F. Barnes. Whysall made his first-class debut that season, 1910, and proceeded to hit a fifty.
It was only after the war that Whysall established himself as a strong and patient opener, forming a partnership with another Notts legend George Gunn that produced 40 century stands for the first wicket during their playing time together. Having scored over a 1000 runs in the three preceding seasons, despite hitting only four centuries, Whysall came good big time in 1924 by becoming the first batsman to pass the landmark during the season and accumulating a total of 1852 runs at an average of 46.30 with six hundreds and six fifties. This included his highest score of 151.
He was invited to tour with England to Australia that winter and made an impression with two steady scores of 75 and 76 in his second and third test innings. Whysall went from strength to strength passing 2000 runs in a season in three consecutive years from 1926 to 1928. In 1928 he had his best season so far, recording 2573 runs in 51 innings, with nine hundreds and 11 fifties, at a personal best average of 52.51. His tally of centuries remains a county record for a season.
Nottinghamshire, who had finished second and third in the previous two seasons, finally won their second County Championship title in 1929, with Whysall one of the main contributors to the success. He surpassed his efforts of past seasons with a runs aggregate of 2716, including a county-best 2620 runs in a single season. There were an amazing 16 fifties hit, and seven hundreds, scored at an average of over 50.
His innings of 244 against Gloucestershire was the highest score of his career and was made out of a total of 396 before being last man out having opened the innings. He also had a career-best catching aggregate of 48.The county won the title by a margin of ten points, and it was their first championship in 22 years.
The following season Whysall recorded four hundreds in successive innings, and twice carried his bat through an innings. He had already hit centuries in four consecutive matches in 1924. For the fifth consecutive season he accrued over 2000 runs during the year, and yet again excelled in the half-century and hundreds department with eight and nine respectively. He again beat his highest individual innings mark with a score of 248 against Northamptonshire made in just over six hours, and containing 25 fours and four sixes. However, the 1930 season saw his fourth and final test match appearance.
Just a few weeks after the end of the season Whysall slipped after dancing and injured his elbow, and due to the resulting blood infection tragically passed away. He was aged just 43.
Whysall made over 21,000 runs in his career at over 38 runs per innings, with 51 centuries. His unusual stance saw him face square to the bowler, but he was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1925. His aggregate number of runs for the five seasons between 1926 and 1930 was the highest seen for the county in history. He was well remembered with a large funeral taking place in his hometown of Mansfield.
*Article provided by Hitesh Darji (Cricket Correspondent)
*Main image @TrentBridge William Whysall known as ‘dodge’ at Trent Bridge.