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Full name Frank William Shipston
Born July 29, 1906, Bulwell, Nottinghamshire
Died July 6, 2005 (aged 98 years 342 days)
Major teams Nottinghamshire
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm offbreak
SHIPSTON, FRANK WILLIAM, died on July 6, 2005, three weeks before his 99th birthday, when he was believed to be the world's oldest first-class cricketer. Shipston joined the Nottinghamshire staff in 1925, and played 49 matches for them before leaving in 1933 to join the police. Overall, Shipston averaged less than 19, but did score two centuries, both in 1932. He had a stint as a first-class umpire in 1956 before returning to Trent Bridge, where he coached for the next decade.
The Wisden Cricketers' Almanack obituary
The former Nottinghamshire batsman Frank Shipston died on July 6 2005, days before his 99th birthday. On July 1, Frank had phoned me. One of his questions centred on Stephen Fleming, the captain Notts had signed from New Zealand for the 2005 season. There was none of the usual retired cricketer's claptrap on how much better the players were in his own day.
The initial reaction to the news of Frank's death concerned the fact that for several years he had been the oldest surviving county professional in England. Perhaps more significant, however, was that Frank was the last survivor of the celebrated 1929 Notts Championship-winning side. No less than 11 of the 16 pros who turned out that summer were products of the local coal industry, including Frank. Six of those miners gained England caps.
Frank joined the Notts playing staff from Langwith Colliery in 1925. A middle-order batsman, he was faced with the awesome task of trying to take the place of one of five immortals in the side at that time - Gunn, Whysall, Walker, Carr and Payton. He played 49 matches for Notts, scoring 1,183 runs at 18.48. In 1932 - his best season - he joined the Nottinghamshire police after their chief constable, Captain Popkess, started recruiting former professional players to strengthen the police cricket team. The Popkess Cup is still played today.
After 25 years in the police force, Frank returned to Trent Bridge as chief coach in 1957, a post he held for eight years. Few others could recall, as he could, being hit in the nets by Harold Larwood: "You're right," Shipston told the Notts coach, "he is quick." Fewer still had his sense of gratitude about cricket. "You left at the end of August," he said in an interview last year, "and spent the winter looking forward to April."
The Wisden Cricketer
As West Indies play their 500th Test, here's an interactive journey through their Test history