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JAMES LANGRIDGE, one of the group of young cricketers brought along for the county at the Sussex Nursery on the Hove ground, was born at Newick on July 10, 1906. A left-handed batsman and bowler, Langridge, during the past two seasons, achieved the ambition of every all-round player of scoring a thousand runs and taking a hundred wickets in first-class cricket.
In 1930 he was the first man to perform the double feat and last summer only he and V.W.C. Jupp, the Northamptonshire captain, gained the distinction. These consecutive accomplishments naturally establish him as a cricketer of parts but all the same it is impossible to resist the conclusion that he has not quite reached the position he most clearly at one time gave the impression he would occupy.
As a matter of fact, his powers have been somewhat slow in ripening. This may well be attributed, however, to the fact that soon after he had gained a regular position in the Sussex eleven he did not enjoy very robust health. Sent to New Zealand with Bowley, who had a coaching engagement there, he spent a winter under more congenial conditions than those which usually prevail in this country.
As he is a young man and still so full of cricket there is not the slightest reason why he should not in the near future develop into one of our best all-rounders. As a batsman he watches the ball well, and like most left-handers can drive beautifully but too often he gets himself out by a rather unworthy stroke just when he seems well set.
When bowling his slows, he spins the ball quite a lot and flights it judiciously. On a wicket which suits him he can be most effective but he has yet to obtain that nip off the pitch which will make him, if not so dangerous as on a soft pitch, at any rate a difficult man to play when the ground is hard.
Thanks to the lessons inculcated while Arthur Gilligan was captain, Langridge, like most of the younger members of the Sussex team, is a very good fielder.
For some reason or other he does not appear to have found favour with the Selectors to be included in any of the Trial Matches of recent years so that practically all his cricket has been with Sussex. It is a little difficult to understand why a youngster with such all-round abilities should have so persistently been passed over but perhaps his time is to come.
His early cricket took place at the local school at Newick when he received a little coaching by his schoolmaster and his father. Subsequently he played for the Newick club and showed such promise that in 1923, thanks to the good offices of Mr. Baden-Powell, he was sent to the Nursery on the County ground.
There he came under the direct influence of A. Millward, who was then the coach, and it was soon realised that he was a left-handed batsman of more than usual ability. Up to then he had not worried much about bowling; that development came later when he had secured his place in the county team.
He played in three matches for Sussex in 1924, but not until three years later did he find a regular position. Then he finished with an aggregate of 992 runs, 96 as his highest score, and an average of 27.
Still progressing steadily, he was third in batting and fourth in bowling in 1928 when he scored 1,396 runs with an average of 32 and played two innings of over a hundred. He took thirty-five wickets but was rather expensive. In the succeeding year his aggregate amounted to 1,444 and his average 33, while he made a big advance in bowling by taking eighty-one wickets for rather less than 21 runs apiece.
Neither in 1930 nor 1931 did he score as many runs, his aggregate for Sussex falling to 790 last summer. Also he did not take as many wickets but he was again third in the bowling figures and secured the best average so far of his career.