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Somerset off-spinner made most first class appearances for county

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 15, 2013

  • In a long and successful Somerset career Brian Langford played in 504 first class matches and scored 7,513 runs

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Somerset cricket fans are mourning the loss of former captain Brian Langford, who died on Tuesday at the age of 77.

Although he was born in Birmingham, the off-spinner grew up in Bridgwater, where he attended Dr Morgan's School and announced his arrival on the Somerset scene in some style at the Bath Festival in 1953.

The first County Championship game that he appeared in was against Lancashire, Bertie Buse's benefit game, when the visitors triumphed inside a day, in which he took one for 18.

In the second game of the festival against Kent he claimed 14 wickets for 156 runs to help Somerset to victory, while in the third game at The Rec, against Leicestershire he took 11 for 134, bringing his record for the three Bath Festival games to 26 for 308 runs.

That was just the start of a long and successful Somerset career which continued until 1974 during which he played in 504 first class matches, scored 7,513 runs at an average of 13.56 and took 1,390 wickets at an average of 24.89.

Langford claimed 100 Championship wickets in a season on five occasions with his best being in 1958 when his off-spin captured him 116 victims, which included his career best of 9 for 26 against Lancashire at Weston-super-Mare.

He captained Somerset between 1969 and 1971, and in his first season in charge both Brian Rose and Peter Denning both made their debuts.

Langford holds the record for the most first-class appearances for Somerset, while only Jack White and Arthur Wellard have taken more wickets for the county.

He also holds the record for the most economic bowling figures in the 40-over competition when he sent down eight consecutive overs against Essex at Yeovil in 1969, the first season of the competition, without conceding a single run, a record that will never be beaten.

After Langford retired from playing he remained involved with Somerset CCC and was the chairman of the cricket committee at the time of the Shepton Mallet meeting in 1986.

Former Somerset team-mate Peter Robinson, who regularly travelled to away matches with Langford and bowled at the other end while he set his 40-over record said: "Langy was a very fine off-spin bowler and for a number of seasons was almost the county's lone bowler."

He added: "At the time that he was in his prime there were a number of good off-spinners on the scene, but if had played in another era he could well have played for England."

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