YOU COULDN'T mistake Colin Scott in the season or two before the last war. He was tall, strikingly fair-haired, and with the kind of natural pace to remind Gloucestershire what they had been missing for too long. Here was this unassuming fledgling from WG's Downend at one end - and George Lambert at the other. They made a formidable new-ball attack.
In addition, Colin was double-jointed. It allowed variations in movement from the outswinger that he most naturally bowled. In only his second season, 1939, he took 121 wickets at 22. The prediction were mounting by the match. One found it hard to believe he'd come straight from club cricket in Bristol. He epitomised that apposite kind of innocence and uninhibited pleasure: reflected in the boyish vigour of his strokes from down the order, or in the power and accuracy of his throwing from the outfield.
As in the case of so many, Scott's burgeoning career was in effect ruined by the war. He returned to the county ground, but without the zing. The easy action, `with a final flick rather in the way of a Bill Copon', was less impressive. So were the bowling figures. The old partnership had been restored, though now - with rare exceptions - it lacked the distinctive frision. These two talented fast bowlers, friends off the field just as they were allies on it, sensed that it was never going to be the same again. Lambert alone was still being mentioned as a possible Test player.
Scott worked hard at the nets. `Why not what Tom Goddard did?' someone suggested. And in 1950 and'51, `Scotty' sayed offspinners. It wasn't a success; he went back to medium-paced seam and actually took 100 wickets one more time. But maybe it was an illusion. He was to return before long to his beloved Downend (currently celebrating their centenary), to bowl quickish offcutters and collect one century.
Colin John Scott, born in the village of Syston, not far from Downend, played 235 times for Gloucestershire between 1938-54. He took 531 wickets (31.57), with a best return of 8 for 90 against Surrey at The Oval in 1953. His highest score of 90 also came at the Oval, six years previously. Over the years he held some dazzling catches at slip as well as in the deep, and was unfailingly a popular member of the county side, even when he was patently struggling for form. Over more recent years his home was in Kettering and, following a blood clot and a stroke, he died in hospital there on Nov 22 aged 73. He leaves a son, Robert.
JOHN LAMB, one of Northamptonshire's five captains in the unhappy summer of 1936, died in Kettering on Feb 5 at the age of 80. A forceful batsman who could also keep wicket, Henry John Hey Lamb was not in the XI at Winchester and failed to win a Blue at Cambridge, but he received an SOS call to make his county debut against Warwickshire at Kettering in 1934, and did well enough to earn further invitations in that season and the following one. However, he still had only 15 first-class appearances to his credit when the captaincy of a side struggling to compete in the Championship was thrust upon him in bizarre circumstances, indicative of the club's chaotic state at that time.
The officially-appointed skipper for 1936, Gerry Cuthbertson, informed the county committee that he would be forced to miss the first half of the summer while he visited the United States. Tony Allen led the team in the opening two matches; then Lamb, who was working as an articled clerk in his father's solicitors' firm, took over until Cuthbertson's return in early July. Subsequently, Vallance Jupp and W. C. `Beau' Brown were each in charge for one match.
Interviewed in 1989 for the club's official history, Lamb warmly recalled the goodwill shown by opposing captains towards such an inexperienced leader. `All these people were so frightfully kind. They made no attempt to take advantage.' Perhaps, even at that early stage in the county's four-year sequence without a win, Northants attracted some sympathy.
Lamb's personal contribution to the 1936 campaign included a career-best 91 not out against Essex at Northampton -`a grand innings', according to Wisden- and he returned to lead the side again on half-a-dozen occasions in 1937. In 38 first-class matches between 1934 and 1938 he scored 1085 runs at an average of 16.95.
In later life, he served as president of both Kettering Town CC - for 27 years - and the Notaries' Society of England. He was also, at the time of his death, a vice-president of the Northamptonshire County League, in which he scored Kettering's first-ever century, in 1951.