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March 5, 2013
Neil McCorkell, who kept wicket for Hampshire between 1932 and 1951, has died three weeks before his 101st birthday.
McCorkell never played Test cricket - the Kent pair of Les Ames and Godfrey Evans put paid to such ambitions - but did make an appearance for an England XI captained by Lord Tennyson, his Hampshire captain, on an unofficial tour to India in 1937 and was selected twice for the Players in the Gentlemen v Players fixture. McCorkell claimed 532 catches and 185 stumpings in first-class cricket and averaged 25.60 with the bat, with 17 centuries and a high score of 203 from 396 appearances.
He made his Hampshire debut against Somerset in the summer of 1932, aged 20, and quickly became a regular in the side, scoring more than 1,000 runs in a season on nine separate occasions. At the time of his retirement, he was Hampshire's most successful wicketkeeper in first-class cricket - although Bobby Parks subsequently overtook him - and Hampshire appointed him as captain for his final match, which was ruined by rain.
After a career interrupted by war - McCorkell was a firefighter at Vickers factory in Newbury during World War II - he emigrated to South Africa and worked as cricket coach at Parktown Boys' High School in Johannesburg for 30 years.The McCorkell Oval is named after him.
The oldest surviving Test cricketer is currently Norman Gordon, who played five times for South Africa in the late 1930s, including an appearance in the Timeless Test. He turned 100 in August 2011. Two former Hampshire players have lived to the age of 100: EA English and GO Deane, but neither had as successful a career as McCorkell.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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