Many congratulations to Allan Lang who celebrates his 80th birthday today. Allan has been a feature of a Grayshott Cricket Club team for the last 12 years but is also well known throughout the I’Anson Cup competition previously playing at Churt for 14 years. He is probably the oldest player to be playing in I’Anson Cup Cricket, and probably throughout the history of the competition. In doing so he has also probably passed the 1,000 wicket mark.
After Saturday’s I’Anson Division 7 match against Peper Harow where Allan returned figures of 0-27 off 8 overs, players young and old from the joined in with the celebrations at Broxhead Common.
Allan was presented with a club shirt bearing his name and the number 80, together with a birthday cake from Club President Phil Coleshill and of course the champagne flowed. See some photos here from the evening plus a couple of gems from Allan’s earlier days…
Allan recalls :-
In the summer of 1955, a friend’s father came to my parents door to say that Hounslow 4th XI were one short and would I like a game. He accepted and with no proper kit, wearing plimsolls and for some reason bowling right arm around the wicket he took 6-14, so at this early stage of the game he was popular. An early tea was taken, unlike the current Grayshott cricket fayre each week, food was not so available in those days and he had not been informed or realised that it was 2 sandwiches and 1 piece of cake each. Being young and hungry and fueled by my success, he thoroughly exceeded his share, which meant some of the older players went short and was never asked to play for them again!
Allan attended Latymer Upper School and played 1st XI cricket for three years, 1956-58. In the season of 1958 the school side was unbeaten including a win over Eton. I then attended Southampton University, reading Geography. It took a year to get into the 1st XI where I was known as ‘Bronco’, something to do with his equestrian gait I believe. Also there was a cowboy serial on TV featuring Bronco Lane, so only had to fall over in the field to get derisive cheers and ‘Bronc’s been thrown….
My first University 1st XI match was against a Hampshire CC club and ground XI. A mixture of 1st and 2nd XI players with a couple of young development squad lads playing. This was rather daunting, but not so bad after taking a wicket. The University side of 1960 was strong, where they progressed to the UAU knockout final; where upon they faced the strength of Loughborough University. They held a decent first innings lead but in the end they got the better of us, being a 2 day 2 innings match. Allan`s clearest memory of that competition is of the semi final where he was fortunate enough to pick up a 5 for. The match attracted a large crowd that included his professor from the Geography department, who truth be told did not get on so well with me. I was invited to lead the team off and there he was… a “well done Allan”’ the only time in 3 years that he used my christian name!
Post University Allan played for Old Latymerians CC. Old Boys cricket around London was a good level in the early 60’s. 1962 was quite a successful season. The highlight was getting an article mentioning my name in the national press. One weekend in June against Old Lyonians I took 8-20 and then the next day playing against Kew on the Well, took 7-15. These were his best performances before my I’Anson career began.
In 1963 I went to Australia as part of the touring MCC side to contest the Ashes but in reality went to Australia on a £10 Visa to see the other side of the world. Once there shortly after arrival I was recruited within the Australian Administration and posted to Papua New Guinea. Although there was a good level of cricket in Port Moresby, most time was spent on outstations in the bush. On return to the UK I had a break from sport until 1978 when Donald Limon recruited me to join Churt CC. Allan played 14 seasons there until they left the I’Anson competition and during that period took about 900 wickets…..
I’Anson matches in those days involved a second innings provision in the event of low first innings scores.
This obviously helped with the wicket tally. It also caused some unlikely results. Having bowled Kingsley out for 9 runs , taking 7-1, our captain of the time succeeded in losing the match over 2 innings! A few 9 for wicket hauls along the years helped the total tally and highlights included skippering the side that won the 1979 Miller Cup and also skippering the rep XI on a number of occasions.
Matches against Frensham were always hard competitive games, the best of all was in 1982 when they were at their batting best. I took 8-26 on Sat and followed that up a few days later with 6-7 in 3.4 overs in the Stevens Cup against them. I also remember playing against Grayshott, taking 7-7 which included 4 in 4 balls. Some nameless individuals from that Grayshott side are still playing today.
After Churt left the I’Anson competition in 1992 I retired and spent 16 years following Grayshott and his son Andy. In 1988 a chance meeting and conversation with Peter Clapham took Andy to Grayshott.
Grayshott expanded to 3 Saturday XI’s in 2001 and when they were short of a few players I bought a pair of boots at the age of 68 and started playing again. My first game was at Alfold where I received a very warm welcome from my players…I hope I repaid them by taking 5 wickets on my return.
12 years later Allan is still playing with no thoughts of retiring. That remains in the hands of the selectors and the good lord himself. A dream for him would be to one day take the field with his grandson, Anderson Lang (Sonny).
Allan Lang is indeed a true gentleman and a great example for all cricketers to follow.