Book tells the story of fast bowler who notched up the wickets
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 email@example.com.
Proceeds from the book will go towards a fitting cricketing tribute to Mr Sayer.