31st March 2020
Foxes Flashback - Peter Marner
Today marks the birthday of former-Leicestershire allrounder, and the scorer of the first limited overs century, Peter Marner (26/03/1936).
Peter Marner was a belligerent batsman, famous for some feats of fast scoring, a fine slip fielder and a more than useful seam bowler.
Born in Oldham, he first played for Lancashire in 1952 at the age of 16 (the youngest player to do so). He did not score a thousand runs in a season until 1958, due in part to the obligatory 2 years of National Service when he played little First class cricket. In fact the 1,685 runs he scored made 1958 his most successful season, perhaps curious that it was also a very wet summer.
He topped the Lancashire six hitting chart with 31 in 1961, a season where he was sent home from Lancashire’s southern tour for refusing to wear a blazer in the match against Kent. According to David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd, Marner also hit one of the longest sixes at Old Trafford, hitting Leicestershire’s John Savage over the ‘H’ stand.
He also scored the first century in the new one day knock out competition, played for the first time in 1963. His innings of 121 in the Preliminary round against Leicestershire winning the first ‘man of the match award’, though perhaps surprisingly, this was his only limited over format century.
He was often at loggerheads at Old Trafford with either his captain or the committee during an unhappy period in that county’s history. So when Lancashire cleared out some ‘disruptive’ players in 1964, it was no surprise when Peter Marner was on the ‘not retained’ list.
He spent six trouble free seasons at Grace Road under Maurice Hallam, Tony Lock and Ray Illingworth, and during the final two, 1969 and 1970, he frequently stepped in as captain himself when Illingworth was absent captaining England.
In a Lancashire team that included Brian Statham and Ken Higgs, it was hardly surprising that his bowling was not extensively utilised when playing at Old Trafford. Though he did take 50 wickets in 1962, when the balance of the team demanded he took on the role of third seamer.
For Leicestershire though, he became a regular member of the bowling attack, taking 63 wickets in 1965 and 77 in 1966, which included his career best bowling of 7 for 29 in a two day victory over Glamorgan at Coalville.
It is as a hard hitting batsman that he will be best remembered. Against Essex at Grace Road in 1968, he despatched the last six John Lever deliveries before tea to the boundary for four.
The advent of the John Player League the following year gave weekly opportunities for his hitting.
Against Sussex at Grace Road he shared in an opening partnership of 128 in 53 minutes with Maurice Hallam, his 99 including 8 sixes and 7 fours.
The following year against Somerset at Frome, he scored a rapid 75, with 6 sixes and 5 fours. He also scored the fastest ‘competitive’ century in 1970, with a hundred against Yorkshire off 69 balls in 83 minutes, with 4 sixes and 14 fours.
After such a successful season, and aged only 34, he retired from first class cricket, to be a Professional with Todmorden in the Lancashire League, where he spent four seasons, and Publican, running the Old Original Public House in Oldham.
He was also a fine rugby union player, playing centre with Oldham and Broughton Park, securing a trial for the full Lancashire team. A bad knee injury stopped all this, and meant he did not play any first class cricket in 1957.