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Ted Dexter started 1965 as Sussex captain but broke his leg in a freakish accident

Who’s in charge?

Throwback Thursday

23-Apr-2015

For the first time this season Sussex have two different captains. While Ed Joyce will continue to lead the team in the County Championship, Luke Wright has been handed responsibility for the T20 team.

It’s a move that makes sense given Wright’s vast experience of playing T20 all over the world and with several players playing in both formats it’s not likely to unsettle the team too much.

The county have had just three captains since 1998. Chris Adams, the most successful in their history, did it for a staggering 11 years and across all the formats as well. Mike Yardy, his successor, was in charge for four years and since 2013 Joyce was been at the helm.

How Sussex would have loved that continuity 50 years ago. The county went into the 1965 season seemingly in good shape. They had won the first Gillette Cup one-day competition in 1963 and retained the trophy the following year.

Instead, the county won just four of their 28 Championship games and finished next to bottom and were knocked out of the Gillette Cup in the third round by Middlesex at Lord’s.

The reasons for their decline are not hard to work out. That season they had no fewer than FIVE captains.

Ted Dexter started in charge but the day after Sussex lost their grip on the Gillette Cup, Dexter was pushing his Jaguar off the Chiswick flyover after breaking down and the car rolled back and broke his leg. He was out for the season.

The job was then shared around by opening batsman Alan Oakman, Jim Parks, who led the team when he wasn’t playing for England, the Nawab of Pataudi, who would succeed Dexter in 1966, and Ian Thomson, who led the team once against Cambridge University in his final season before retiring to take a job in the family’s garage business.

No wonder Sussex had such an abysmal summer. “We didn’t know whether we were coming or going,” remembers Parks. “Losing Ted was a blow and I don’t think the committee at the time knew what to do so it ended up being an audition for who was going to do the job the following year because we knew Ted would be stepping down at the end of the season.

“The Nawab did a good job at the end of the season and proved to be a good skipper in 1966. We had a lot of fun playing under him.”

Tommy Cook – a man for all seasons

Tommy Cook – a man for all seasons

Throwback Thursday

16-Apr-2015

The days of dual sportsman, who played football in the winter before switching to cricket in the summer, have long gone.

These days football continues well into the season when our summer game should be holding sway and it’s not just cricket fans that regret the intrusion.

Sussex’s most famous dual sportsman was almost certainly Cuckfield-born TE ‘Tommy’ Cook, who was good enough to represent England against Wales in 1925 whilst still playing with Third Division Brighton & Hove Albion. He scored 123 goals for the Seagulls in 209 games and also had a prolific spell with Bristol Rovers.

As a powerful right-handed batsman for Sussex, he played throughout the 1930s, scoring more than 20,000 runs. A mainstay of the side that finished runner-up in the County Championship in 1933 and 1934 he made back to back double hundreds against Worcestershire, the county who are the first visitors of the new season to Hove this Sunday.

In 1933 at Eastbourne he scored 214 and a year later at Worcester trumped that with 220. In total, he made 32 centuries in 460 first-class games.

There was certainly a lustre to Cook’s life, despite his quiet modesty. He was a hero in both world wars, first in the Royal Navy, where he was decorated, then in the South African Air Force, where he sustained serious injuries in 1943.

At the end of the war he returned to England and briefly managed the Seagulls, but the end for Cook was extremely sad. Physically and mentally ill, and separated from his wife, he committed suicide a month before his 49th birthday in 1950.

These days he is immortalised on the 623 bus around Brighton and Hove.


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