Somerset County Cricket Club are mourning the loss of former Captain Brian Langford who sadly passed away earlier this week at the age of 77.
Although he was born in Birmingham, Brian grew up in Bridgwater, where he attended Dr Morgan’s School and announced his arrival on the Somerset scene in some style at the Bath Festival in 1953.
The first Championship game that he appeared in was against Lancashire; Bertie Buse’s benefit game, when the visitors triumphed inside a day, in which he took 1 for 18. In the second game of the festival against Kent he claimed 14 wickets for 156 runs to help Somerset to victory, while in the third game at The Rec, against Leicestershire he took 11 for 134, bringing his record for the three Bath Festival games to 26 for 308 runs.
That was just the start of a long and successful Somerset career which continued until 1974 during which he played in 504 first class matches, scored 7513 runs at 13.56 and took 1390 wickets at an average of 24.89. Brian claimed 100 Championship wickets in a season on five occasions with his best being in 1958 when his off spin captured him 116 victims, which included his career best of 9 for 26 against Lancashire at Weston super Mare.
Brian captained Somerset between 1969 and 1971, and in his first season in charge Brian Rose and Peter Denning both made their debuts. He holds the record for the most first class appearances for Somerset, while only Jack White and Arthur Wellard have taken more wickets for the county. Brian also holds the record for the most economic bowling figures in the 40 over competition when he sent down eight consecutive overs against Essex at Yeovil in 1969, the first season of the competition, without conceding a single run, a record that is unlikely ever to be beaten.
After Brian retired from playing he remained involved with Somerset CCC and was the Chairman of the Cricket Committee in 1986. Former Somerset team mate Peter Robinson, who regularly travelled to away matches with Brian and bowled at the other end while he set his 40 over record said: “Langy was a very fine off spin bowler and for a number of seasons was the almost the county’s lone bowler. At the time that he was in his prime there were a number of good off spinners on the county scene, but if he had played in another era he could well have played for England.” Somerset Chief Executive, Guy Lavender said: ‘Brian’s contribution to Somerset County Cricket Club was enormous.
He was a remarkable player, an outstanding leader and a charming individual. He will be sorely missed by all of Somerset’s members and supporters and we would like to extend our sincere condolences to Brian’s wife Maureen and all of his family at this immensely sad time.”