A unique achievement
Jim Parks senior will always be remembered for what may forever be a unique achievement, scoring over 3,000 runs and taking over 100 wickets in one season. In 1937 Parks scored 3,003 runs at an average of 50.89 and took 101 wickets at 25.83 each. His son, ‘Young’ Jim remarked that this achievement may have been a reaction to a family bereavement, for his wife had died the previous season and Parks may just have thrown himself into his cricket as a way of giving himself something else to focus on.
In his record breaking season, the 34 year -old Parks was called up to the England side for the first – and only – time in the First Test at Lord’s that summer against New Zealand. He opened the batting with Len Hutton, who was also making his debut, and scored 27 and 7. He also took three wickets for 36. The 21 year-old Hutton scored 0 and 1 at the start of a great England career, moving on a year later to make the then record Test score of 364: Parks was dropped after his only Test.
Jim was born in 1903 and brought up in his home town of Haywards Heath. Following a good performance in his teens against Sussex’s Club and Ground side in a game in his home town, he attracted the interest of Sussex and made his debut for the County side in 1924. In only his third match, against Leicestershire, he took 7 for 17 off 24 overs. He made slow but steady progress over the next few years and it was not until 1927 that he scored over 1,000 runs in a season, and took over 40 wickets with his slow medium off cutters. He then became a regular and indispensable member of the side. Parks often opened the batting and in 1929 he made 110 in a partnership of 368 with Ted Bowley against Gloucestershire at Hove. He went on to form a regular partnership with John Langridge and also developed as an excellent close fielder.
He toured Australia and New Zealand
In 1935 Parks did the double and in 1935/36 was in the MCC tour party to Australia and New Zealand, which did not play official Tests. Parks’ career with Sussex ended with the outbreak of war in 1939. He was posted to Accrington during the war and after being demobbed decided to remain in Lancashire, playing League cricket there before becoming Nottinghamshire’s coach.
Following an absence of 24 years, Parks returned to Sussex in 1963 as coach, by which time his son Jim was playing for Sussex.
In his 15 year career at Sussex, Parks played in 434 matches, scoring 19,720 runs at an average of 30.7 and taking 795 wickets at an average of 26.7.