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Full name Joseph Frederick Blackledge
Born April 15, 1928, Chorley, Lancashire
Died March 19, 2008, Southport (aged 79 years 339 days)
Major teams Lancashire
Batting style Right-hand bat
Joe Blackledge's entire first-class career lasted one season, 1962, in which he captained Lancashire as an amateur in the last season before the amateur-professional distinction was abolished. "It is sometime since a county appointed a captain so little known," noted The Times in October 1961. That was slightly unfair as he had led the county second XI in 1950 and 1951 after completing his national service. But at the AGM a few weeks later, the move was also attacked by members who felt that seeking an "untried club player" simply because he was an amateur was outdated.
A hard-hitting batsman for Chorley in the Northern League, Blackledge had finished the 1961 as the highest run-scorer in the league behind Rohan Kanhai. But he inherited a side in a mess with major dressing-room disquiet and was unable to reverse their fortunes - the county lost 16 matches and finished second bottom in the Championship. "Playing standards fell to an unbelievable low level," the county report for the season noted, adding that Blackledge's "luck completely deserted him". His own form was not good - in 41 innings he passed fifty only twice - and he stood down at the end of the summer.
A partner in a cotton manufacturing business, he later served on Lancashire's committee - despite a public attack on the club in 1967 when he accused the committee of being isolated from the players - and was president in 2001-02 and was subsequently elected vice-president.
Graeme Smith was the last of South Africa's old guard. The roots of the new one need to grow deeper