Obituary

Maurice Tremlett

TREMLETT, MAURICE FLETCHER, died at Southampton, where he had lived since he retired from first-class cricket, on July 30, 1984, aged 61. Born at Stockport, he was living in Somerset when he joined their staff in 1938. It was not, however, until the opening match of 1947, against Middlesex at Lord's, that he got a place in the county side. His start was sensational: he took three for 47 and five for 39 and, though he batted at No. 10, it was only a sensible little innings of 19 not out at the crisis that enabled his side to beat by one wicket that year's county champions. Naturally he kept his place to the end of the season and if, admittedly in a year of high scoring, his wickets were slightly expensive, he did much good all-round work.

However, it was his bowling that really aroused hopes. Tall and strongly built, with a good action, he could move the ball and looked as if with a bit more pace he might develop into the fast bowler for whom England were desperately looking. At the end of the season he was a member of the partly experimental side which MCC sent to the West Indies, but, though he played in three of the Tests, he was a failure: he was bottom of the batting averages for the tour and his ten wickets cost 70 runs apiece.

None the less, after a good season in 1948, in which he took eight for 31 against Glamorgan at Weston-super-Mare, he went under F. G. Manna to South Africa in the following winter, but there too, apart from innings of 105 and 63 not out against Natal Country Districts, he accomplished little and did not play in the Tests. In 1949 he scored 1,000 runs for the first time and was still bowling well, but in 1950 he suddenly lost all control of the ball - the trouble had begun in South Africa in 1948-49 - and from then on was never more than a change bowler.

Nor, although in 1951 he scored over 2,000 runs, was he ever a sufficiently consistent batsman to be a candidate for England in that capacity alone. A tremendous straight driver, he was always fun to watch and continued for the rest of the decade to be an important member of the Somerset side, especially when in 1956 he became the first professional to be appointed their captain. In those days professional captains were not taken for granted, and he had his difficulties, coming in for some criticism, but he proved himself on the whole a good choice and in 1958 led them to the highest place they had ever occupied in the Championship, third.

He resigned the captaincy after 1959, and after a few matches in 1960 retired to take a job with Guinness. He had a benefit in 1956. In all first-class cricket he scored 16,038 runs with an average of 25.37 and took 351 wickets at 30.63. The highest of his sixteen centuries was 185 at Northampton in 1951. In recent years his son, Tim, has been a member of the Hampshire XI.

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