He bowled more balls and took more wickets for Hampshire than anyone else before or since. His best bowling of 9/30 was achieved against Warwickshire in 1960, and he took 9 wickets in an innings three more times. In 1955 he took 8 Somerset wickets for just 4 runs, his full figures being 11.1-7-4-8 (he took 6/25 in the second innings for his best match figures of 14/29. Against Leicestershire in 1950 he produced the astonishing sequence w.w.ww..w - five wickets in 9 balls (not including a hat-trick, one of the few bowling feats to elude him in his career).
Born in Tormoden on the Lancashire/Yorkshire border, he came to the notice of Hampshire when playing Services cricket after the war. Recruited as a batsman who bowled occasional leg-spin, he was asked to try his hand at pace bowling as Hampshire desperately sought opening bowlers. He took 21 wickets in his first season, nearly did the double in his second (taking 100 wickets), and thereafter his bowling went from strength to strength as his batting declined. His method was text-book - a 12 step run led to a side-one effortless delivery with the arm high. He rarely strove for pace - although he was faster than he looked - and bowled straight, and to a good length. Scoring runs against him involved risk, as if the ball was missed, it was more than likely to hit the stumps. He originally bowled mostly in-swing, but soon developed an out-swinger; both deliveries swung late, and moved just enough to catch the edge. Added to movement in the air was the ability to make the ball deviate off the seam, a leg cutter, a clever yorker, and a slower ball that was spun like an off-break. A tireless worker, he was devastating in conditions that suited him, but would bowl all day without giving away a thing on batsmen's wickets.
A quiet man, much liked by his team-mates and opponents, he was a cricketer's cricketer, who commanded the utmost respect from those who played against him. After retirement from active cricket he went first to Canford School in Dorset as coach and groundsman, where he retired in 1990. He had a brief spell as a first-class umpire in 1979.
(Article: Copyright © 2003 Dave Liverman)