Bob Berry 1926-2006

Bob Berry dies aged 80

Martin Williamson

December 8, 2006

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Bob Berry: nine wickets on debut for England © Cricinfo
Bob Berry, who played twice for England in 1950 and was the first man to be capped by three counties, has died at the age of 80.

Berry honed his craft in the Lancashire Leagues before making his debut for his native county in 1948, and although the county was packed with spinners, he forged his way into the side with his slow left-armers. Although he was not biggest turner of the ball, his variation in flight was exceptional, and in 1950 he earned himself a Test trial in which he took five wickets. As a result, he made his Test debut in the first Test against West Indies in 1950, taking 5 for 63 and 4 for 54 as England won their only match of the summer. Retained for Lord's, he went wicketless as West Indies claimed their famous victory, but he bowled economically and was unfortunate to be dropped. He was included in the Ashes touring side that winter, but did not break into the Test side.

In 1953 he took all ten Worcestershire wickets in an innings (his figures were 10 for 102) but places at Lancashire were increasingly hard to come by and in 1955 he joined Worcestershire and enjoyed three of his most successful seasons. Nevertheless, in 1958 he moved to Derbyshire, where he ended his first-class career.

In retirement he became a publican and enjoyed local fame as a pigeon breeder, as well as maintaining strong links with the game. He was president of Farnsfield CC, where he lived, and also the Lancashire Players' Association.

Berry had always been close friends with Lancashire's Malcolm Hilton, and when his wife and Hilton died, he married Vera Hilton.

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Martin Williamson Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.
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