Over the years almost every famous cricketer that has ever lived has played in the Scarborough Festival either as an invited member of an MCC side, a Gentlemen’s side, a Players side or as part of visiting national touring side.
The two who stand out are W.G.Grace and Don Bradman.
Grace first played at Scarborough in 1870 at Castle Hill in a United South XI.
He has scored two centuries at the Festival, the first of them being remarkable in that he scored 174 out of a team total of 263 for the Gentleman’s XI of 1885. The Gentlemen went on to win this match which was the first Gentlemen v Players fixture at Scarborough and was played annually until 1962 when the distinction between Gentlemen and Players was removed from Cricket. In the Final match Ken Barrington scored a hundred and the Players won.
Don Bradman played in three Festivals, the first in 1930 on what was his first tour of England.
In a letter he wrote recalling that Festival he described the great honour he felt to have witnessed the last match that Wilfred Rhodes played before he retired from first class cricket.
The year he is best remembered for is 1934 when he scored 304 at Leeds in just one day. Later that season he was at Scarborough playing for the Australians against Levison- Gower’s XI. He came to the wicket about twenty minutes into the morning at 14 for 1 and was out stumped off Verity for 132 before lunch. 14,000 people were in the Ground to watch him.
He didn’t play in the 1938 Festival through injury and then the War intervened. He was next in Scarborough during his last tour in 1948 and as captain of Australia.
He scored 153 as his farewell innings and had the honour of being made a Life member of Yorkshire CCC.