Neil Lenham

Neil Lenham was born in Worthing on 17 December 1965, the son of Les Lenham, who had played for Sussex between 1956 and 1979, scoring over 12,000 runs mainly at the top of the order. Les made an important contribution to the success of Sussex in the first two Gillette cups and on retirement became a coach for the County for a few seasons before becoming the National Cricket Association coach. Neil and Les continued the Sussex father and son tradition which includes such illustrious names as Lillywhite, Tate, Cox, Parks Langridge and Griffiths.

Neil was therefore brought up in a cricket environment in the garden of the family home and such was his ability that he made his first Sussex  appearance for Sussex Second XI at the age of fourteen against Surry Second XI, top scoring with 25 on a turning wicket.

Neil Lenham

Captain of England

Neil was captain of a ‘Young England’ team that toured the WEest Indies in 1985/86 which included DeFreitas, and Tufnell and at the end of the 1984 season at Brighton College was talked of by the ‘’Cricketer’ as ‘one of the brightest school prospects since the war.’ This was a lot to live up to, but his school performances suggested he might make it to the very top of the game. In the 1984 season alone, he scored 42 centuries in all cricket, and a record 1,534 runs at an average of 80.74, and overall, for his school’s 1st XI, he scored 4,084 runs and one of the few schoolboy cricketers to have scored a double hundred.

He had an excellent coach in his father and his technique as an opening batsman was exemplary. He made his debut for Sussex in 1984 against Sri Lanka at Hove but struggled to make a real breakthrough in his early years for Sussex although he did score a maiden century against the 1987 Pakistani team which included Imran Khan and Wasim Akram. During the game Akram broke Neil’s finger bringing the season to a premature conclusion. It was not until 1990 that Neil began to realise his potential as he topped the Championship averages for that year, scoring over 1,600 runs in all matches. That year proved to be his best year although he made more than 1,000 runs in 1991 and 1992, which included an excellent 193 against Leicestershire at Hove in 1991 and a career highest score of 222 not out against Kent at Hove in 1992. His 193 included 26 fours in a score that was the highest for a Sussex batsman for seven years.


Les and Neil Lenham

Injury prone

Already by the end of 1992 Neil had had five finger fractures and a foot injury and competition for places in the Sussex side meant he would have to fight hard to get back his place. After 1992, Neil’s career tailed off and he never made another 1,000 runs in a season, although his 47 in the NatWest match against Glamorgan in 1993 was decisive in helping Sussex win the match. Neil became quite injury prone, and he wasn’t able to put together a run of matches which affected his form. There were glimpses of his former self but at the end of the 1997 season he decided to retire. He continued to work for the club as Marketing Manager and the family’s links with Sussex are maintained by his son, Archie, who currently is in the 1st XI squad.

Sussex Career Figures


Matches Innings NO Runs Highest score Avge
192 332 29 10,135 222* 33.44


Overs Matches Runs W Avge
606 118 1,847 42 43.97