Full name Frank Henry Vigar
Born July 14, 1917, Bruton, Somerset
Died May 31, 2004 (aged 86 years 322 days)
Major teams Essex
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Legbreak
|First-class span||1938 - 1954|
Frank Vigar, who died aged 86 on May 31, 2004, left his mark on Essex folklore with his part in a record last-wicket stand and an embarrassing encounter with the Don. A tall, ungainly right-hand bat, Vigar made his first-class debut for Essex in 1938 against Glamorgan at Swansea in a match ruined by rain which saw the promising newcomer neither bat nor bowl. He appeared more regularly in 1939 as a very determined middle-order batsman and leg-break bowler and during that season he scored his maiden first-class century playing against Gloucestershire at Westcliff. Sent in as a nightwatchman to protect the wicket of Jack O'Connor, Vigar went on to score 121, saving his side from following on. By 1946, he had established himself in the Essex side and was capped, scoring 753 runs and taking 51 wickets in that season. His progress the following summer was spectacular as he accumulated 1,735 runs, including five centuries, and claimed 64 wickets. Perhaps his greatest moment of the season came against Derbyshire at Chesterfield. Vigar, in partnership with last man Peter Smith, helped compile 218 for the last wicket - a county record that still stands. Smith hit 163, still the highest first-class score made by a No. 11 batsman, while Vigar batted for five hours and finished on 114 not out. The visit of Australia to Southend in 1948 proved a less happy experience for him. Introduced into the attack for the final over before lunch in an attempt to lure Don Bradman into a rash stroke, not a single ball pitched as Bradman went down the track, depositing the first five deliveries to the boundary while the final ball was hit firmly on the bounce to mid-off. Later, Vigar had the added misfortune of collecting a pair as Essex went down by an innings and 451 runs in two days. Vigar was unable to repeat that phenomenal all-round success of 1947 and although he passed 1,000 runs in two subsequent seasons, his bowling was used less as time passed. He scored 8,858 runs in 257 first-class matches at an average of 26.28 and took 241 wickets at 37.90. On leaving Essex, Vigar assisted West of Scotland as coach for three years. He eventually retired to Dorset.
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