Nigel Bennett 1912-2008

Former Surrey captain Bennett dies aged 95

Martin Williamson

August 3, 2008

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Nigel Bennett, who captained Surrey in 1946, has died at the age of 95.

Bennett's one summer in first-class cricket is shrouded in confusion and his appointment for the first post-war season was generally assumed to have been a case of mistaken identity. Legend goes that the intention had been to offer the position to Major Leo Bennett, a well-known amateur, but Nigel Bennett, whose only regular cricket was some club games before the war, accepted before the error came to light. Given that his appointment was announced in February, giving the committee almost three months to realise their mistake, this seems unlikely.

The outcome was sadly inevitable. Wisden reflected that "want of knowledge on the field presented an unconquerable hindrance to the satisfactory accomplishment of the Major's arduous duties... which prejudiced the general work of the side." Surrey slumped to 11th, their worst finish ever, and at the end of the season Bennett departed back the anonymity from where he came.

Bennett had spent two years in the Stowe XI and topped the averages in 1930, but otherwise he was almost unknown when picked.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo

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