26th August 1912, Edinburgh, Scotland
Sir J Cahn's XI v Scotland, Hamilton Crescent, 1936
Bill Laidlaw learnt his cricket skills at Edinburgh Institution, later renamed Melville College. After leaving school he played successfully before the war with Fifeshire (as Dunfermline were known when they played in the Scottish Counties Championship) and his FP side. His leg break bowling was very successful, leading to his elevation to the Scotland side in 1938.
Laidlaw made his first-class debut for Scotland against Yorkshire in 1938. His debut was an overwhelming success, with Laidlaw taking 7 wickets in the Yorkshire first-innings for the cost of 70 runs
In all he played 32 times for his country between 1938 & 1953, a total which would undoubtedly have been higher but for the war years. He captained the side in 11 of these games, including Don Bradman’s last two game in the UK at the end of the Australian’s 1948 tour. Indeed, he took five wickets in the Australian innings during the first of these games, one of six occasions he achieved this feat for Scotland. He took a total of 97 wickets at an average of 23.7, with a best return of 8-117 against Sir Julian Cahn’s XI in 1939.
After the Second World War he moved to Sunderland and is performances for Scotland caught the eye of Durham, then a minor county. He made his debut for Durham in the 1948 Minor Counties Championship against Northumberland, with Laidlaw making a total of 26 appearances for the count between 1948 and 1952. In 1950, he played his final two first-class matches when representing the Minor Counties against the Marylebone Cricket Club and the touring West Indians.