James Horace Parks
May 12, 1903, Haywards Heath, Sussex
November 21, 1980, Cuckfield, Sussex, (aged 77y 193d)
Right hand Bat
James Horace Parks, who died on November 21, 1980, aged 77, will be remembered for his feat of scoring 3,003 runs and taking 101 wickets in 1937, a record which, unless the whole pattern of country cricket is radically changed, cannot possibly be equalled. First appearing for Sussex in 1924, he created a sensation by taking seven for 17 in his third match, in the second innings against Leicestershire at Horsham. Naturally, great things were hoped of him, but he was slow to develop and it was not until 1927, when he made 1,036 runs with an average of 23.54 and took 44 wickets at 26.93, that he began to justify the confidence which the country had placed in him. From then until the Second World War he was an indispensable member of the side. In 1928 he made the first of his 41 hundreds and in 1929 helped Bowley to put up 368 in three hours, at that time a Sussex record, for the first wicket against Gloucestershire; his share was 110. In 1935 he did the double and appeared for the Players at Lord's; that winter he was a member of E. R. T. Holmes's MCC side to Australia and New Zealand, which did not play official Tests. His one Test appearance was against New Zealand at Lord's in 1937, when he opened the batting with Hutton, also making his Test debut, but, though he scored 22 in the first innings and bowled well, he can never have been a strong candidate for a place against Australia. His first-class career ended in 1939. After the War he went to the Lancashire League and later, for a time in the 1960s, was the country coach at Hove. He was essentially a county player, immensely dependable, but lacking the touch of genius which marks the top class. Indeed, after forty years it is difficult to have any vivid picture of his cricket, except perhaps of his brilliant close fielding. As a batsman he was sound and a particularly good cutter, not very attractive to watch, but capable of scoring fast if wanted. Stockily built, he was for years a formidable opening partner for John Langridge, and had the considerable merit that no fast bowler was likely to intimidate him. He bowled slow-medium in-swingers, which, if there was any bite in the wicket, often moved away after pitching; but again he was normally reliable rather than deadly. He was first of a distinguished cricket family. His younger brother was for years one of the mainstays of the Sussex batting; his son, at one time captain of Sussex, played many times for England both asa batsman and as a wicket-keeper, and his grandson has recently been played for Hampshire.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Batting & Fielding
Umpire & Referee