Foxes Flashback - Barry Dudleston
Barry Dudleston (born 16th July, 1945)
Barry was another of the retiring Leicestershire players, who decided to remain ‘in the game’ by umpiring. The number of ex Leicestershire (and indeed Somerset) to wear the white coat to fulfil this vital task is quite incredible. In fact, as he umpired two test matches and four one day Internationals, he reached the top in that field something that had eluded him as a player.
He came from the North West, and played a game for Lancashire 2nds, alongside the likes of Ken Higgs, Jack Bond and Jim Cumbes. He had an extended trial for Leicestershire in 1964 and also played for Stockport in the Central Lancashire, before starting as a staff member in 1965. His first game for the full Leicestershire side was not until the end of season match against the touring West Indians the next year, and I remember well his well made first innings of 24 which produced plenty of optimistic nods of approval.
His first century came against Somerset in that happy summer of 1967, and rather more nods of approval. The wet summer of 1968 was something of a disaster, he did not pass 20 until the end of July, and a season’s average of under 10 was disappointing for a specialist batsman.
However he scored a thousand runs, and was an ever present in the team for the next decade or so. On occasions he kept wicket and he also had his own way of bowling slow left arm, even attempting chinamen when the need arose.
The highlights? His innings of 152 in a John Player League match at Old Trafford (we still managed to lose), and his two monumental opening partnerships with John Steele. The first in 1975 of 335 (he scored 172) and then the county record of 390 in 1979, where he scored his only first class double hundred, 202.
He spent four winters coaching in Rhodesia in the late 1970s, which included playing in their First class Currie Cup team. He was based in the border district of Manicaland which with Rhodesia having a civil war at the time would not have been a very safe place to be.
After three years with Gloucestershire he started umpiring on the first class circuit. By the time of his compulsory retirement at 65 in 2010, he had stood in the formidable number of 426 first class matches (including test matches in 1991 and 1992) and 451 one day matches. He umpired Test matches in 1991 and 1992 (the second of these was Ian Botham’s last test) and shortly afterwards one neutral umpire had to stand in each test, which reduced his opportunities at this level.
Richard Holdridge - Club Historian