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Full name Donald Lawson Bates
Born May 10, 1933, Hove, Sussex
Died May 29, 2005 (aged 72 years 19 days)
Major teams Sussex
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm fast-medium
|List A span||1963-1970|
Don Bates who, with Ian Thomson, Tony Buss and John Snow, formed Sussex's pace attack in the early 1960s, died three weeks after his 72nd birthday.
Bates made his Sussex debut as a 17-year-old in 1950 and played his last Championship match 21 years later. In addition Bates also made 21 first-team appearances for Brighton & Hove Albion FC and was a member of the 1957-58 team that gained promotion to the old Second Division for the first time.
Bates was on Brighton's books from 1950 to 1962 but cricket was his first love. The Langridge brothers, James (his first captain) and John, spotted Bates - then a pupil at Hove County Grammar School - in the winter indoor nets. On their recommendation Bates joined the Sussex staff.
Bates' early career was disrupted by national service. He did manage to play some cricket in Germany, where he badly bruised his heels on the concrete base of a matting wicket. For a brief period this put paid to his seamers when he returned to Sussex. The awayswinger in his repertoire proved hard to recapture and somewhat unsuccessfully he tried bowling legbreaks.
Bates took 100 wickets in a season three times, between 1960 and 1962. The following season, Bates was a member of the Sussex team that won the Gillette Cup and retained it the following year. Four years later he bowled Sussex to the final by taking 6 for 30 in the semi-final against Gloucestershire at Hove.
Bates took 880 first-class wickets and had career-best figures of 8 for 51 against Essex at Hove in 1966. But it was bowling the Nottinghamshire captain, Garry Sobers, twice in the same match at Trent Bridge in 1968 which figured as one of Bates' proudest memories.
Bates' benefit in 1968 raised £8,000, which enabled him to buy a launderette. After retiring from cricket he taught PE in various middle schools in Brighton. The large attendance at Bates's funeral, which included many of his former cricket and football team-mates, was a tribute to an easy-going man who was always ready to praise others.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
BATES, DONALD LAWSON, died on May 29, 2005, aged 72. Don Bates was a constant presence on the Sussex staff for two decades from 1950, finishing in 1971 with 880 wickets at 25.87. He was a deceptively gentle medium-paced bowler, who could extract unexpected movement off the pitch, especially at Hove. Alan Oakman, a long-time colleague, noted: "He could do things with the ball on a difficult wicket that nobody else could." Bates's most productive seasons came between 1960 and 1962 - the first three years of Ted Dexter's captaincy - with more than 100 wickets in each. He was part of the side that won the first two Gillette Cups in 1963 and 1964, and the Brighton and Hove Albion team (at righthalf) that became the last winners of the old Third Division South in 1957-58. When he walked back to bowl, Bates constantly had his shoelaces undone and kept being reminded to tie them up.
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