Sunday, March 13

Richard Pollard (1912-1985) Test Cap No:314

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Full name Richard Pollard
Born June 19, 1912, Westhoughton, Lancashire
Died December 16, 1985, Westhoughton, Lancashire (aged 73 years 180 days)
Major teams England, Lancashire
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm fast-medium

Profile
Richard "Dick" Pollard was an English cricketer born in Westhoughton, Lancashire, who played in four Tests between 1946 and 1948. A fast-medium right-arm bowler and a lower-order right-handed batsman who made useful runs on occasion, he played for Lancashire between 1933 and 1950, taking 1,122 wickets in 298 first-class matches; he is 10th highest wicket-taker for Lancashire.A big and heavy man, he was known as a hard worker and, according to his obituary in Wisden in 1986, "his reputation as a great trier commended him to the Lancashire public".Season after season, Wisden referred to Pollard's accuracy and reliability, and his ability to bowl long spells without apparently tiring.

Thomas Francis Smailes (1910-1970) Test Cap No:313

Full name Thomas Francis Smailes
Born March 27, 1910, Ripley, Yorkshire
Died December 1, 1970, Starbeck, Harrogate, Yorkshire (aged 60 years 249 days)
Major teams England, Yorkshire
Batting style Left-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm medium

Profile
Thomas Francis Smailes, who died in a Harrogate hospital on December 1, aged 60, did admirable work for Yorkshire as a professional right-arm medium pace bowler and an enterprising left-handed batsman from 1932 to 1948. He had been in poor health for several years. Yorkshire won the County Championship seven times during Frank Smailes's first-class career, in which he took 802 wickets for them for 20.72 runs each and hit 5,683 runs, average 19.19. In each of four seasons he took over 100 wickets, achieving the cricketers' double in 1938, when he hit the highest of his three centuries--116 against Surrey at Sheffield. That summer, too,

John Thomas Ikin (1918-1984) Test Cap No:312

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Full name John Thomas Ikin
Born March 7, 1918, Bignall End, Staffordshire
Died September 15, 1984, Bignall End, Staffordshire (aged 66 years 192 days)
Major teams England, Lancashire
Batting style Left-hand bat
Bowling style Legbreak googly
Other Coach

Profile
Jack Ikin played in eighteen Test for England between 1946 and 1955, scoring 606 runs with an average of 20.89 and taking three wickets at 118 runs each. These figures naturally suggest the question, why was he picked so often and so long?The answer is that, though at the time England had such bats as Hutton, Washbrook, Compton and Edrich and, at the end of the period, May and Cowdrey, there was not the depth of batting there had been before the war: two or three reliable players ere wanted to support the stars and crises were frequent. One gets the impression that the selectors, at a loss to fill the gap, constantly fell back on Ikin.

Alec Victor Bedser (1918-2010) Test Cap No:311

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Full name Alec Victor Bedser
Born July 4, 1918, Reading, Berkshire
Died April 4, 2010, London (aged 91 years 274 days)
Major teams England, Surrey
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm medium-fast

profile
Bedser is knighted at Buckingham Palace.
© PA Photos
Bedser, Sir Alec Victor, CBE, died on April 4, 2010, aged 91. In his playing days, Alec Bedser was the epitome of the English seam bowler, the role that represents the nation's often underestimated cricketing virtues more than anything else. In the half-century of retirement that followed - almost all of it devoted to the game he loved - he became something more: the epitome of the spirit of English cricket itself, its values, its history and its perpetual sense of decay.

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Hitler's war meant that Bedser did not make his Test debut until he was nearly 28. But he made up for lost time, taking 11 wickets in each of England's first two Tests after the war. For the next decade, he was the engine-room of the team: unflagging in the defeats that came all too often in the 1940s, before emerging triumphant at Melbourne in 1950-51 when England beat Australia for the first time in 15 post-war Tests. And he remained a crucial figure in the Surrey team throughout their triumphant sequence of seven Championships in the 1950s. Later, he spent an unprecedented 24 seasons as an England selector, 13 of them as chairman.His celebrity went far beyond cricket, because he was not just Alec but one of a pair. His identical twin Eric, not quite an England player himself, was a Surrey stalwart and, by default, a national figure too. In the 1950s, just about everyone in Britain could identify "Alec and Eric" without benefit of their surnames; everyone in cricket had a story about the mystical connections and coincidences that seemed to attend them. Both were bachelors, though the word does their situation no justice: they were virtually inseparable until Eric died in 2006, a relationship that would be hard for even the most devoted spouse to imagine. Modern doctors now urge mothers to let monozygotic twins (the preferred term) develop their own separate personalities. Alec and Eric - peas in a pod from birth to old age - knew no other way and wanted nothing else: they had each other. (For more on this aspect of Alec's life, see Eric's obituary in Wisden 2007, page 1541). They also had cricket.

Norman Oldfield (1911-1996) Test Cap No:310

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Full name Norman Oldfield
Born May 5, 1911, Dukinfield, Cheshire
Died April 19, 1996, Cleveleys, Blackpool, Lancashire (aged 84 years 350 days)
Major teams England, Lancashire, Northamptonshire
Batting style Right-hand bat
Other Umpire, Coach

Profile
Called up for his Test debut in August 1939, Norman Oldfield scored an attractive 80 against West Indies at The Oval, and 19 in the second innings. He never represented his country again. The Second World War started a few days later, and when it ended Oldfield, then 35, could not agree terms with his county, Lancashire, and went off to play league cricket. Eighty men have played one Test, and one only, for England. None scored as many runs as did Oldfield.

William Henry Copson (1908-1971) Test Cap No:309

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Full name William Henry Copson
Born April 27, 1908, Stonebroom, Derbyshire
Died September 13, 1971, Clay Cross, Derbyshire (aged 63 years 139 days)
Major teams England, Derbyshire
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm fast-medium
Other Umpire

Profile
Red-headed seamer Bill Copson was a coal-miner before he turned his hand to cricket. As a boy he showed no interest in the game, but during the General Strike of 1926 he was persuaded to play for his local side to fill in time while the pits were shut. He was an immediate success, with his nagging line and length, and in 1931 he was given a trial with Derbyshire, and by 1932 he was a virtual regular in the side. With the first ball he bowled in first-class cricket, he dismissed Andrew Sandham, and from then on he made steady progress, thanks to his pace and late swing.

Reginald Thomas David Perks (1911-1977) Test Cap No:308

© The Cricketer International
Full name Reginald Thomas David Perks
Born October 4, 1911, Hereford
Died November 22, 1977, Worcester (aged 66 years 49 days)
Major teams England, Worcestershire
Batting style Left-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm fast-medium

Profile
© Getty image
Reginald Thomas David Perks, who died on November 22, aged 66, was by many good judges considered an under-estimated bowler. In 1939 he had played twice for England, in the notorious timeless Test at Durban and against the West Indies at The Oval, and had performed respectably without meeting with spectacular success. He was then twenty-eight. When cricket was resumed he was thirty-five and had missed the years when a bowler of his type would naturally be in his prime. Now he was perhaps just past it and had moreover Bedser to compete with.

A tall man who made full use of his height, he bowled fast-medium right-hand, swinging the ball both ways, and was very steady, a great trier, endlessly cheerful and quite tireless. A left-handed bat, he started as a poor player but made himself into a useful tail-end hitter. Born at Hereford, he first appeared for Worcestershire in 1930 and his first victim was Jack Hobbs. By 1931 he had made a sufficient reputation to be picked for the Players at Lord's. He continued to play for the county until 1955 and, when he retired, had taken more wickets for them than any other bowler, 2,143 at an average of 23.73. In all first-class cricket his tally was 2,233 and in sixteen consecutive seasons he had taken over 100 wickets.

The respect in which he was held was shown when in his last season he was appointed the first professional captain of Worcestershire. Later he was a valuable and outspoken member of the Committee. He had no warmer admirer than his old county captain, Lord Cobham, who only a couple of months before his own unexpected death, hearing of Perks's illness, drove at once twenty-five miles through the snow to visit him.

Perks twice performed the hat-trick--against Kent at Stourbridge in 1931, and against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in 1933 and twice he took nine wickets in an innings--against Glamorgan at Stourbridge, 1939 and against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham, 1946.

Test debutSouth Africa v England at Durban, Mar 3-14, 1939
Last Test England v West Indies at The Oval, Aug 19-22, 1939
First-class span 1930-1955