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Charles Appleton played 3 matches of first class cricket for Yorkshire County Cricket Club in 1885 which happened to comprise three of Yorkshire's heaviest ever defeats. In his six first class innings he scored 56 runs, with a best of 18, at 11.20. He did not bowl or take a catch. He played against Surrey, an 'All England XI' and [Kent], all the matches being held at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. He is notable for making his first class debut at the advanced age of 41.

Yorkshire lost to Surrey in mid June by the humiliating margin of ten wickets, with Appleton scoring 5 and 16 at number 5. Yorkshire opened with 188, thanks to Greenwood's 83, but Surrey's reply put the game out of reach as four batsman passed 50 in a score of 327. Yorkshire forced Surrey to bat a second time, just, with 143 but a target of 6 hardly tested the brown caps' openers.

Appleton's second match was an even greater debacle as Yorkshire were slaughtered by an 'All England Eleven' by an innings and 255 runs in mid July. After the England XI had compiled a mammoth 524 in no less than 320 overs, Appleton, batting down at number 10, knocked up an unbeaten 14 in Yorkshire's paltry reply of 125. Promoted to open the innings as Yorkshire followed on, Appleton continued his defiance to post a game 18 but Yorkshire were soon destroyed by Wooton who took all 10 wickets for 54 runs in 31.3 overs. Appleton's score, though the third biggest of the innings, was dwarfed by Darnton's heroic unbeaten 81.

Charles Appleton's final match in a short and disaster packed career saw yet another massive defeat for his team, this time by an innings and 70 runs against Kent. Having restricted the visitors to a manageable 159, Yorkshire were skittled for a hundred runs less with Appleton contributing just 2 from number 3 in the order. Things went from bad to worse as Yorkshire were then rolled for just 30 as they followed on with no batsman making double figures. In his last ever innings Appleton fell for a single. Willsher, for Kent, completed the amazing match figures of 12 for 28, his first innings 6 for 19 being followed by 6 more for 9 second time around.

Perhaps disillusioned by his calamitous experiences in the first class game Charles Appleton was seen no more in the colours of the White Rose. He had plenty of time to recover from the torrid nature of his cricketing career, born on 15 May 1844 in Kirk Ella, East Riding of Yorkshire, he died on 26 February 1925 at Bradley Hall in Standish, Wigan, Lancashire.

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