Former Lymington player Ken Savill has sadly passed away at the age of 86.
In 1953, Ken etched his name in Lymington sporting history when he took all ten wickets for just four runs against Pylewell Park. Although Ken wasn’t the first Lymington bowler to achieve the feat (he was actually the third), what made the feat so special was the fact that a few years earlier he had scored ten goals in a football match for Lymington Rovers at the Sports Ground. This would surely make Ken the only sportsman to ever take ten wickets AND score ten goals in a match for their local sporting clubs.
Two years ago Ken was interviewed for Lymington's Bicentenary publication and recalled that historic day at Pylewell Park. “Pylewell only had ten men at the start, so they talked a spectator into playing. In the end he was the last man I got out. So if he hadn’t been persuaded to play, I would never have got the ten wickets.”
Before the match, the thought of getting ten wickets never really occurred to me, but when you get on a run, and you realise that things are going your way, you start to think that it might happen.”
By the time the left-arm medium pacer had taken his eighth or ninth wicket there was a danger that a bowler at the other end might accidentally spoil Ken’s chances of completing the full set. This had actually happened before on two separate occasions, as Ken remembered: “I’d taken nine at Boldre when Dick Marshall came on to bowl and took the last wicket; Dick also took the other wicket to fall when I got nine against SRDE, so I’d been in that position before.”
Fortunately, realising what might be about to happen, captain Peter Elgar generously removed Ken’s fellow opening bowler Gordon Priddle from the attack and brought himself on to bowl instead to ensure that a wicket didn’t fall. Ken duly snapped up his final victim courtesy of a catch at forward short leg by Michael Pardy.
Ken’s achievement only really sank in when he returned to Lymington Sports Ground later that day. “The First XI were playing at home and they all stood out on the steps in front of the pavilion and applauded me as I came in. I wondered what was going on. It was certainly a good welcome home, and looking back, it was a big thrill getting clapped like that.”
Although Ken had always been interested in cricket as a youngster, he only took up the game when he joined the army. Towards the end of the Second World War Ken spent three months in Australia waiting to be sent to Borneo. While he was camped in Sydney he joined in a game with some Aussie soldiers and took a couple of wickets. Impressed by Ken’s bowling, they invited him to play for their unit against a Royal Navy team. With no turf pitches available, the matches were played on hard sand rather than grass.
Back in England, it was Joe Walsh who encouraged to Ken to bowl around the wicket, rather than over the wicket as favoured by most left arm seamers. “I bowled a natural inswinger, so it was very difficult for right handers to play me. I could also get the ball to move off the wicket like a fast leg break. I was quite accurate too. I suppose if you can bowl straight you’re always more likely to take wickets”.
As for scoring ten goals in the football match for Lymington Rovers, Ken recalled, “It was during the War. I was stationed in Portsmouth and I came home to play in the match against an Army XI. We won 12-nil and Mushy Drodge got the first two goals and I scored the rest. We had four or five very good footballers in that team and they just laid the goals on for me to score.”
Ken's funeral will take place on Friday 24th April at Bournemouth Crematorium at 11.15am. All club members are invited to attend.