From The Archive: Roy Kerslake

In conjunction with partners Cooper Associates, Somerset County Cricket Club will be looking to fill the current void of cricket by regularly delving into extensive Club Archives to look back on some of our proudest moments.

Roy Kerslake was a middle order right handed batsman and a right arm off spin bowler who was born in Paignton and went to school at Kingswood in Bath.  He went on to be involved with the Club as a player, Captain, Chairman and President.

In 1961 the 18 year old topped the Kingswood batting and bowling averages and later that season he played a substantial part in helping Somerset Second XI win the Minor Counties Championship for the first time in their history.

That summer the young all rounder scored 230 runs in his nine innings for the Seconds, with a best of 75 and claimed 16 wickets at a cost of just 6.62 runs apiece.

The following summer, Roy played for Cambridge University in three First Class matches and during the holiday he made his Somerset debut, the first of the six matches he played in 1962.

The next summer he was a regular member of the Cambridge University side and won his blue as well as topping the bowling averages with 26 wickets at a cost of 13.30 runs each. Once again in the summer break Roy returned to Somerset to play for the County.

Roy enjoyed a highly successful season for Cambridge in 1964, ending second in both the batting and bowling averages, with 576 runs at 32 plus 36 wickets which included his career best bowling figures of six for 77 against Worcestershire at Halesowen.

He returned in the holidays to play for Somerset and enjoyed his best season with the ball, claiming 39 wickets at 20.84, which included his Somerset best of six for 83 against Hampshire at Bournemouth.

Roy then went into legal practice and didn’t play any First Class cricket for three season’s, but when Colin Atkinson retired as Somerset Captain at the end of 1967, he was appointed as skipper to take charge of the team in 1968.

The new captain’s tenure didn’t get off to a good start when an injury prevented him from playing until early June.  During that season Roy made 525 runs and took six wickets. He also took 34 catches in the 24 games he played.  At the end of the summer Roy returned to law and didn’t play First Class cricket for Somerset again. He did however continue to play Minor County Cricket for Somerset Seconds until the late 1970’s and under his watch a young Viv Richards made his first appearance in a county shirt.

After his playing days were over Roy continued to be involved with Somerset. He served as Club Chairman in 1979 and during the success of the Glory Years was very involved with the management side of things.  Roy was appointed as Somerset President in 2004 and remained in post until he stepped down at the end of 2015.

Between 1962 and 1968 Roy Kerslake played in 52 First Class matches for Somerset in which he scored 946 runs, with a best of 55 against Essex at Bath in 1968 and took 45 wickets at 24.04, which included six for 83 against Hampshire at Bournemouth in 1964.

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