Somerset legends remembered: Les Angell – “a great player and true gentleman”

Les Angell
Les Angell (left) opens the Somerset batting with the great Harold Gimblett

Somerset are mourning the loss of Les Angell, a “true gentleman”, who passed away in Bath last week at the age of 92.

Les, who was Harold Gimblett’s opening partner in the early 1950s, was born just south of Bath at Norton St Philip on June 29 1922. He played his early cricket for the village team before he moved on to play for Lansdown CC where he had a prolific record, scoring 30 over centuries during a long career.

A right-handed top order batsman, Les made his debut appearance for Somerset against Leicestershire in 1947 at the Rec in Bath, the ground where he played the majority of his first 13 games for the county over the next three seasons.

It wasn’t until 1950 that Les became a first team regular, sharing the opening duties with Harold Gimblett. In that first full season he scored 933 runs, including three half-centuries and a top score of 74, as a result of which he was awarded his County Cap. A more restrained, neat batsman, Les proved an ideal partner for the more ebullient Gimblett.

In 1951 he scored 975 runs in the 27 games he played – with four half-centuries and a highest score of 84. The following season of 1952 he appeared in 16 games in which he scored 619 runs, including his then highest score of 90 in the match in mid-June against Derbyshire at Derby.

But three weeks later he was dropped from the side and, as Somerset hit the bottom of the County Championship table for what would prove to be the first of four consecutive last-place finishes, he was not re-engaged at the end of the 1952 season.

In 1954, however, with Gimblett retiring suddenly at the start of the season, Les was recalled to Somerset and proceeded to enjoy his best season in first-class cricket. He scored 1,125 runs at an average of 22.95 and made his highest score (and only first-class century) of 114 in the match against the touring Pakistan Test team at Taunton.

Between 1947 and 1956 Les played in 132 first class matches for Somerset in which he scored 4,596 runs at an average of 19.15 with one century and 16 half-centuries. He took 54 catches.

After his career with Somerset was over following the 1956 season, Les returned to play cricket for Lansdown into his late 40s and two years ago the Club held a special event to celebrate his 90 birthday.

John Harris who made his Somerset debut in 1952 playing alongside Les Angell said: “I got to know Les very well during my first season on the staff when I spent most of my time carrying out the 12th man duties. He was a proper gentleman and was always very good towards me and helped me a great deal.”

Away from cricket, Les was, by profession, an engineering draughtsman for a Bath company.

In a statement on its website, Lansdown Cricket Club said: “Les was an Honorary Life Member, a great player and ambassador for the club and lived the ways of a true gentleman.”

Les’s funeral will be held at St Luke’s Church on Wednesday 22 October at 2.30pm and afterwards the wake will be held at Lansdown Cricket Club, Combe Park, Bath BA1 3NE.

Scorecards

Derbyshire v Somerset – June 1952 – Les made his highest championship score 90: http://www.cricketarchive.co.uk/Archive/Scorecards/20/20227.html

Somerset v Pakistan – July 1954 – Les made his highest first-class score of 114: http://www.cricketarchive.co.uk/Archive/Scorecards/21/21247.html