John Henry Childs
August 15, 1951, Lipson, Plymouth, Devon
Left hand Bat
Audley Park Secondary Modern
In 1988 John Childs became England's oldest debutant for 41 years when, aged 36 years and 320 days, he made his debut against West Indies. An orthodox left-arm spinner, Childs came late into first-class cricket, and despite being at Gloucestershire for ten seasons, he never really made an impression and was released at the end of 1984. He wrote to 15 counties asking for work, but it was Essex who took him on in 1985. That summer he took five wickets at 105, but instead of being released - as he expected - he was sent to lord's to work on his action with Fred Titmus and Don Wilson. In 1986, with a quicker approach to the crease and a flatter trajectory, he took 89 wickets at 15 and was a key reason Essex won the Championship, and was also named as one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year. Two Tests were his reward in 1988, but it was the summer in which England used four captains and were demolished by West Indies. Childs was named in the party for that winter's Indian trip, but the tour was cancelled and he was not picked again, although he was named in the England XII at Headingley in 1992. Aged 40, that season he took 64 wickets as Essex again won the Championship. He carried on playing first-class cricket well into his forties and then moved into a coaching role at Chelmsford.
Batting & Fielding