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CRAPP, JOHN FREDERICK, who died at his home in Bristol on February 15, 1981, aged 68, had forty-two years' association with first-class cricket, broken only by the Second World War. He played for Gloucestershire from 1936 to 1956, fifteen seasons of cricket, in only one of which did he fail to make his 1,000 runs, and then for 21 years, until ill-health caused his retirement after 1978, he was a first-class umpire, several times officiating in Tests.
A solidly built left-hander, he was a reliable rather than a spectacular bat and in his early years was sometimes criticised for being too unenterprising - not that in a side containing Hammond and Barnett there was much danger of getting behind the clock. But with experience he learned to use with discretion his natural powers of hitting, and in the latter years of his career he was quite capable of forcing the pace when required. He was always a fine field, especially in the slips. In all he scored 23,615 runs with an average of 35.03, including 38 centuries.
Born at St Columb and said to be the only Cornishman ever to have played for England, he qualified for Gloucestershire by residence and at once adapted himself to first-class cricket, passing 1,000 runs in his first season. By 1938 he was already being talked of as a potential England player, but, the war intervening, he had to wait till 1948, when he was 36, for his chance. Then, after making 100 not out for his county against the Australians, he played in the Third Test and followed a valuable first innings of 36 at a crisis with 19 not out in the second. This secured him a place in the two remaining Tests, in which, however, he did little. That winter he was a member of F. G. Mann's MCC side in South Africa where, without achieving anything sensational, he was a distinct success. He played in the last four Tests, his scores being 56, 35, 54, 51, 5, 4 and 26 not out: in the second innings of the fifth Test, some fine strokes at the end just enabled his side to win a match which a few minutes before had looked like a draw. He made centuries against Orange Free State and Eastern Province.
Despite this and although he continued to score consistently for Gloucestershire, he never played for England again. He had a benefit in 1951 and in 1953 became the first professional captain of the county. But he did not enjoy the position. It affected his play (1954 was the only season in which he failed to score 1,000 runs), and after two years he was glad to hand over to his friend, George Emmett.