British Sports Hall of Fame 1945: Alf Ellaby, Hughie Gallagher, Peggy Scriven and Hedley Verity

As there was very little sport in the World War II years of 1939 to 1945 I am resuming my Hall of Fame lists for Britain and the World from 1945.

Here are my choices for the British Hall of Fame list for 1945.

Alf Ellaby (Rugby League) – one of the best wingers in the history of British rugby league. He was very fast and a great finisher of tries. Most of his club career from 1923 to 1939 was for St.Helens for whom he scored 31 hat-tricks and topped the league try scoring list three times (in 1927,28 and 30). He played for Wigan for two years. He played for Great Britain thirteen times from 1928 to 1933 including two tours of Australia where he scored 41 tries in 28 games. His total of 446 tries in his playing career remained a world record until 1954.

Hughie Gallagher (Football) – the greatest centre-forward of his era and one of Scotland’s best ever. He scored 387 goals in 545 matches in his club career from 1921 to 1939. In internationals he scored 22 goals in 20 matches including five in one game against Northern Ireland. He was a great header of the ball although he was quite short and also had great ball control. He won the Scottish Cup with Airdrie and the English league with Newcastle in 1927. He was also in the Scottish team who beat England 5-1 in 1928 at Wembley,

Peggy Scriven (Tennis) – winner of the French Open tennis championship twice, in 1933 and 1934.  She was the first British woman to win that tournament and is still the last British woman to have retained a grand Slam singles title.  She was also the first left-handed woman to win a Grand Slam title.  In 1935 she won the women’s doubles at the French Open.  She was more successful there than at Wimbledon where she reached the quarter-finals four times.  She was British covered-court singles champion four times.

Hedley Verity (Cricket) – an outstanding left-arm spinner of the 1930s who took 150 wickets in every county season from 1931 to 1939.  His worst bowling average in any season was 17.63 and his career average of 14.90 (1956 wickets) was the best of any major bowler of the 20th century.  In 1932 he took 10 wickets for 10 runs in a match for Yorkshire against Notts and this is the best innings analysis in the history of first class cricket.  In 1934 at Lord’s for England against Australia he took fourteen wickets in one day, the most in the history of Test cricket.  He played forty times for England taking 144 wickets.

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