Football: Statham the Gentleman Dies

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THE FORMER Lancashire and England fast bowler, Brian Statham, has died aged 69 after a long illness.

There was a minute's silence at Old Trafford before the National League game between Lancashire and Worcestershire yesterday. A club spokesman said: "Brian passed away peacefully at his home."

Statham first played for Lancashire on his 20th birthday, starting an 18-year county career in which he played 430 matches and took 1,816 wickets at an average of 15.12. He made his Test debut on the winter tour of New Zealand in 1951 and played 70 Tests in all - the last in 1965 - claiming 252 wickets at an average of 24.84.

Yesterday his former England new-ball bowling partner, Fred Trueman, led the tributes to Statham. "I knew him for 50 years and we never had a wrong word," he said.

Trueman's partnership with Statham was one of the most feared in the history of the game. Despite his long Test career, Statham's reputation was often overshadowed by that of his `fiery' colleague.

However, despite their Roses rivalry at country level, the pair forged a friendship that lasted a lifetime. …