On the morning of 15 June 1929, fast bowling all-rounder George Oswald “Gubby” Allen was due to play at Lord’s for Middlesex against reigning champions Lancashire.
He was late. After leaving university, Allen had taken a job in the City of London and played cricket on a strictly amateur basis, when business allowed. This was only the fourth first-class match he had played that year, and the year before he had played only two. On this morning he had been detained in the office, and made his way hurriedly to Lord’s perhaps hoping that his skipper Nigel Haig would have won the toss and batted. No such luck. Allen arrived to find Middlesex in the field and Haig sharing the new ball with Jack Durston.
It was almost midday by the time Allen had changed and taken the field. Haig tossed him the ball at once. By lunch he had already claimed the scalp of Charlie Hallows, clean bowled. After lunch he wrought havoc. At first Frank Watson and Ernest Tyldesley progressed calmly against the spinners, but then Allen was back to bowl Watson for 48. Jack Iddon followed for a duck – bowled Allen - before Len Hopwood joined Tyldesley in a century stand. Allen got them both, one caught behind, one clean bowled and ran through the rest of the batting order claiming all ten for just 40 runs. Eight were clean bowled, one caught behind and one – the great Australian fast bowler Ted McDonald - stumped.
Allen went on to make his Test debut at Lord’s the following year, and got to see Don Bradman’s great innings of 254 from the sharp end. In all, he played 25 Tests for England, taking 81 wickets, before going on to become one of cricket’s longest serving administrators. MCC renamed ‘Q’ stand after him, shortly before his death in 1989.