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January 7, 2004
Geoff Edrich, one of the famous Norfolk brotherhood whose most famous member was the Middlesex and England allrounder Bill, died on January 2 after a long battle with cancer. He was 85.
Edrich, whose brothers Brian and Eric also played first-class cricket, played for Lancashire in 322 matches between 1946 and 1958, scoring 15,600 runs in all at the respectable average of 34.82. That included 26 centuries, the highest an unbeaten 167 against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 1954. He passed 1000 runs in a season eight times, and once went past 2000, with 2067 runs in 1952. He also took 331 catches, many at slip or leg slip, and claimed five wickets with his occasional medium-pacers.
That Edrich was able to play at all was a minor miracle - he was captured by the Japanese and incarcerated on the infamous "Railroad of Death" in Thailand during the Second World War. He emerged alive, but weighed only six stone.
Unlike his brother Bill, Geoff Edrich never quite managed to win an England cap, but he did play in three unofficial Tests in India in 1953-54 as part of a strong Commonwealth XI. He captained Lancashire occasionally, usually when Cyril Washbrook was away on England duty (playing or selecting). He never lost a match while in charge, and was captain in the amazing game against Leicestershire at Old Trafford in 1956, which Lancashire managed to win without losing a wicket, the first time that had happened in first-class cricket.
After a spell as Lancashire's 2nd XI captain and coach, Edrich moved to Cheltenham in 1962, where he became the groundsman at the College ground which stages a county festival week every year. He stayed there until his retirement. He also played Minor Counties cricket for Cumberland (1960-62) after starting with his native Norfolk (1937-39). Edrich was a past president of the Lancashire Players Association, and was appointed a vice-president of the county in 2000.
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