John Ypres Oakes
March 29, 1916, Horsham, Sussex
July 04, 1997, Hexham, Northumberland, (aged 81y 97d)
Right hand Bat
Right arm Offbreak
The cheerful Jack Oakes was a hard-hitting middle-order batsman and offspin bowler who served Sussex from 1937 to 1951, usually alongside his elder brother Charlie. Born on March 29, 1916, in a cottage by the Horsham ground, where his father was player and groundsman for 47 years, John Ypres Oakes was an extrovert and a popular figure, balding, moustachioed, handy with bat or ball and a superb fieldsman close to the wicket.
His best bowling came at Edgbaston in 1947 (7 for 64) and the higher of his two centuries was 151 against Cambridge University at Hove in 1950. He also smashed 99 in 100 minutes at Tunbridge Wells in 1949, the year he was capped by the county.
But soon it all went wrong. During a period of turbulence in Sussex's committee room in the early 1950s, Oakes resigned in 1951 in indignation after an accusation that he had not given his all in 2nd XI match. His jolly disposition had sometimes misleadingly come across as lack of resolve. In fact, he had had a good season in 1950, with 1157 runs and 53 wickets. If he bore any resentment it was over his omission from the 1st XI when amateurs became available.
He went on to pro in Norfolk and Chester, and from 1954 to 1960 with Northumberland, where he became groundsman at Tynedale, proud to follow in the profession of his father. Jack Oakes died in Hexham on July 4, aged 81.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Batting & Fielding