Somerset Mourn the Death of Former Captain Brian Close
Somerset County Cricket Club is mourning the sad loss of Brian Close who has passed away at the age of 84.
Brian was at the end of a long and successful career with Yorkshire when he agreed to head west to join Somerset in 1971 after being persuaded by Bill Andrews to join the Club.
The all rounder was an immediate success and in his first season he scored five centuries, one of which was against his former county at Headingley.
In 1971 he hit 1388 first class runs the first of five times that he passed that landmark figure.
In 1972 he took over the captaincy from Brian Langford and inherited a squad with a mix of senior professionals like Tom Cartwight, Jim Parks, Merv Kitchen, Derek Taylor and Peter Robinson, as well as a number of talented local youngsters including Brian Rose, Graham Burgess and Peter Denning.
Brian Close always led by example, from his customary short leg fielding spot and never expected his players to do anything that he couldn’t do himself.
Under his watch, Brian assembled an exciting young side that included local players Vic Marks, Phil Slocombe, Keith Jennings, Bob Clapp , Colin Dredge and Sir Ian Botham, as well as the likes of Dennis Breakwell and Hallam Moseley and of course Sir Viv Richards and Joel Garner.
He moulded the youngsters in his charge into a formidable side and in the season that he handed over the reins to Brian Rose in 1978, they reached the final of Gillette Cup only to miss out to Sussex.
In 1979 Brian Close’s young side went on to achieve their potential by winning the Gillette Cup and John Player Trophies on consecutive days, the first of five one day triumphs in as many seasons.
Between 1971 and 1977 Brian Close played in 142 first class matches for Somerset in which he scored 7567 runs at an average of 39.41, including 13 centuries the best of which was 153 against Middlesex at Lord’s. He also took 74 wickets at an average of 34.95 with a best of five for 70 against Lancashire at Taunton in 1974.
Brian Close also appeared in 22 Test Matches for England between 1949 and 1976, and three LOI in 1972.
Somerset CEO Guy Lavender said: “Brian Close made a hugely significant contribution as a cricketer and Captain to England, Yorkshire and Somerset.
“The General Committee and all Members of Somerset County Cricket Club would like to offer our sincere condolences to Vivien, Lance and Lyn.
“Brian’s contribution to Somerset was immense. A fearless and highly respected leader he galvanized the side that went on to win five one day trophies in as many seasons. He was instrumental in nurturing the talents of many young players like Sir Ian Botham, Sir Viv Richard, Brian Rose and Peter Denning and there is no doubting the contribution that he made to harnessing their talents for Somerset, but also preparing them for the successful careers that were to follow.
“Brian will be remembered with great affection by all those who were privileged to know him at Somerset. He will be greatly missed and we will never forget the part he has played in Somerset’s history.”