Book tells the story of fast bowler who notched up the wick­ets

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

David Sayer, who died last year, will rightly be re­mem­bered as one of the lead­ing sports­men to be as­so­ci­ated with the County Town.

Con­sid­ered to be one of the fastest bowlers in the coun­try, he quickly earned the nick­name “Slayer”. He played for Ox­ford Univer­sity and Kent. He went on two Maryle­bone Cricket Club (MCC) over­seas tours and twice rep­re­sented the Gen­tle­men against the Play­ers at Lord’s.

David Sayer was born in Rom­ford, Es­sex, in 1936, into a crick­et­ing fam­ily, but soon moved to San­dling Lane, Pe­nen­den Heath. Not only was the heath use­ful for youth­ful prac­tice, but the young David reg­u­larly won the “throw­ing the cricket ball” com­pe­ti­tions at the lo­cal fair.

He was ed­u­cated at Maid­stone Gram­mar School where he ex­celled at sport, rep­re­sent­ing Kent in both cricket and rugby.

In 1955 he first played for Kent as a school­boy against Sus­sex at Tun­bridge Wells, and in the process achieved a se­ries of firsts: a wicket, a beamer and a six.

Hav­ing made his way to the ground by pub­lic trans­port from Maid­stone, he was ini­tially re­fused en­try as the gate­man did not ac­cept that the young, stu­dious look­ing and be­spec­ta­cled Sayer was in the Kent XI.

In that year, he also played for Eng­land Schools, The Young Am­a­teurs of Kent and for Maid­stone in an U-19 county com­pe­ti­tion.

Upon leav­ing school, David did his two years’ na­tional ser­vice in Ger­many be­fore tak­ing the place he had gained at Ox­ford Univer­sity.

It was un­for­tu­nate he was not posted in Eng­land, and so missed out on the chance to play for the RAF and Com­bined Services, which for many of his crick­et­ing con­tem­po­raries was the route to full Eng­land caps.

At Ox­ford in 1958, David made an im­me­di­ate im­pact in the Univer­sity XI and went on to ob­tain three con­sec­u­tive “Blues” against Cam­bridge at Lord’s - awarded to those ap­pear­ing in the first-class four-day game.

In that sea­son he also played for Kent and was to fin­ish fifth in the na­tional av­er­ages, be­ing the only non-test player in the top 10 bowlers. He was also to take a hat trick against Kent with match fig­ures of 11-91, a feat he was to re­peat for Kent in 1964 against Glam­or­gan at his home ground, The Mote.

Dur­ing his time at the univer­sity he was to play for the MCC on tours to Ar­gentina and Brazil, and later New Zealand, where he played in three un­of­fi­cial tests, and also twice rep­re­sented the Gen­tle­men against the Play­ers at Lord’s, tak­ing six for 69 in 1959.

Af­ter univer­sity he played full time for Kent with some suc­cess, but in­juries and com­pe­ti­tion for places with fel­low fast bowlers Alan Brown, John Dye and Nor­man Gra­ham of­ten re­stricted his ap­pear­ances. He left the Kent staff in 1969 but was re­called - aged 40 - for two games in 1976 to cover for in­juries.

Mov­ing to Roseacre Lane, Bearsted, he be­came an in­surance bro­ker. His firm, DM Sayer & Co, had its of­fice in Len­ham. He played club cricket for the Mote, where he was cap­tain for four years and in his first year led the club to the fi­nal of the Na­tional Club Cricket Cham­pi­onship at Lord’s, which they lost with two balls re­main­ing.

Dur­ing his crick­et­ing ca­reer, he played 204 first-class matches, tak­ing a to­tal of 613 wick­ets.

He died at home on Jan­uary 24, 2017, aged 80, leav­ing his wife Carol, daugh­ters Alexan­dria and Vivi­enne, and five grand­chil­dren. His funeral was at Holy Cross Church in Bearsted.

A bench in his mem­ory was in­stalled on the edge of the bound­ary on Bearsted Vil­l­lage Green.

His bi­og­ra­phy, Slayer - the Story Of A Fast Bowler, is writ­ten by Bearsted author Ian Lambert, who was a per­sonal friend of David Sayer for 60 years. It has just gone on sale, for £10, plus a £2 postage and pack­ag­ing fee, from lam­bert­son­tour@gmail.com.

Pro­ceeds from the book will go to­wards a fit­ting crick­et­ing trib­ute to Mr Sayer.

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