John Langridge

One of the best cricketers of the c20th not to have played a Test match

John Langridge was one of the best cricketers of the 20th century not to have played in a Test match. John was the younger brother of Jim, and the pair grew up in the Sussex Weald, playing cricket for their local school and club, before they joined Sussex.

‘Idiosyncratic and stoical’

John was born in Chailey on 10 February, 1910 and after a youth of playing cricket with his father and brother, joined Sussex in 1928 for whom he played as a batsman until 1955. He came into contention for an England place just as war broke out and the India tour, for which he had been selected, was cancelled.

John was a technically correct batsman with an open stance that made him strong on the leg side. He was not particularly graceful but was a sound accumulator of runs and was one of the game’s fidgeters, adjusting every part of his equipment before each ball. He was rarely seen without his Sussex cap which he would take off to acknowledge applause, only to reveal a head short of hair. The Times referred to his batting as  ‘idiosyncratic as it was stoical’. He scored 76 centuries for Sussex, only Alan Jones of Glamorgan of those who have not played a Test match has scored more.  John was a good player of fast bowling which made him the ideal opening batsman.

Excellent opening partnerships

John made a slow start to his Sussex career, but by 1932 was enjoying some excellent opening partnerships with Ted Bowley, the rock of the Sussex batting in the 20s and 30s. In 1933 they had an opening partnerships of 490 against Middlesex at Hove with Ted eventually making 283 and John 195. John passed 1,000 runs in a season 17 times, scoring 2,000 runs in 11 of them and never getting a ‘pair’. As the 1930s went on he was noticed more and more. When Duleepsinhji began to lose his slip fielding ability John replaced him in the slips, becoming an excellent slip fielder, taking over 50 catches a season on four occasions, and taking 65 in 1955 when he was 43. 133 of these catches were taken off the bowling of his brother, Jim. Had he gone to India in 1939 it would have been with his county captain, Jack Holmes and two colleague, Hugh Bartlett and Billy Griffith.

John bottom row, second from left seated next to his brother, James who was captain of this 1951 Sussex side

After the war

After the war John resumed his career with Sussex, opening the batting with Harry Parks, and then with Don Smith and David Sheppard. Apart from the partnership with Bowley mentioned above, John was involved in 16 partnerships of over 200 and in one of 307 for the second wicket in 1939 with Harry Parks against Kent at Tonbridge. He was also part of 145 partnerships of over 100 runs, 66 of then for the first wicket. John completed a full set of hundreds against every county except Warwickshire. In 1949 John totalled 2,914 runs at an average of 60.7 and scored 12 hundreds.

After he retired in 1955 John became a first-class umpire for 25 seasons and stood in seven Tests. He was awarded an MBE for services to cricket in 1978 and the TCCB marked his fifty years of service to the sport with presentation of a cheque and a silver coffee pot.

Sussex record 1928 -1955

Batting

Matches: 567, Innings: 972, Runs: 34,152, HS: 250*, NO: 66 Ave: 37.69, Hundreds 76

Bowling:

Wickets: 44, runs: 1848 Ave: 42 B/B 3/15

Caught: 776