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SYD STARKIE 1926-2017

Northamptonshire County Cricket Club is sad to announce the death of former player Syd Starkie at the age of 91.

He was at the time of his passing the club’s oldest surviving first-class cricketer – a distinction that now passes to Peter Arnold, who celebrates his 91st birthday next month.

Born in Burnley, Syd came to Wantage Road in 1951 (for a  salary of £350 ‘plus win money and expenses’) after a successful career in league cricket with Walsden and Dukinfield in the Lancashire and Cheshire Leagues respectively.

Specially registered by Northamptonshire in May 1951, he went on to make 95 first-class appearances for the club spread over six seasons.

An off-spin bowler, Syd’s best innings figures were 6-33 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in 1954.  Later in the same season he enjoyed a match haul of 10-123 (4-25 and 6-98) in the fixture with Somerset at Northampton, he and fellow spinner George Tribe sharing 18 of the 20 wickets – with Frank Tyson picking up the other two! 

He earned his County Cap that summer and earned glowing praise from Dennis Brookes in his captain’s report: ‘Starkie proved a most useful member of the side and fully deserved the award of his cap.  He and (Bob) Clarke were often called upon in a crisis…and proved most reliable tail-enders.  Starkie’s composure on such occasions was in keeping with his approach to the game.’

In all, he claimed 166 wickets at 34.24 apiece and scored 857 runs with a modest-looking average of 10.71.  But his name still features in the County’s record book for a ninth-wicket stand of 156 (Syd’s share being a career-best 60) for the ninth wicket with Raman Subba Row against Lancashire in 1955. 

That notable performance notwithstanding, he played relatively little first-team cricket in 1955 and 1956, and at the end of the latter season was released from the professional staff at his own request to pursue a career outside the first-class game.

NCCC offers sincere condolences to Syd’s family and friends.

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