For the first few seasons following The Great War, Len Richmond and Kent's 'Tich' Freeman jostled for the position as the best leg-break and googly bowler in England. They were also of similar, if limited, height each being under 5ft 7in, which earned the Kent bowler his nickname. There was little to choose between them - Freeman commanded a more precise length, while Richmond tended to spin the ball more.

However, whilst Freeman’s abilities improved and his victims grew rapidly in number in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Richmond’s bowling ceased to be an effective force after 1926. The reason for his failure came mainly from his increasing weight which, combined with his lack of inches, made him appear very rotund.

Immediately his bowling lost its sting, he was dropped from the Nottinghamshire XI, because both as fieldsman and as batsman he was a passenger in the side. In addition to this, a young cricketer, Voce, was a very efficient substitute for him.

Born in Radcliffe-on-Trent on 23 June 1890, Richmond played club cricket chiefly for Notts Casuals and made his First-Class debut for Nottinghamshire v Middlesex at Trent Bridge in August 1912. He gained a regular first-team place in 1912 and in 1920 captured 100 wickets for Nottinghamshire in a season for the first time, a feat he repeated six times during his career.

In 1922 he took 169 wickets – a new record for Nottinghamshire which stood until broken by Bruce Dooland in 1954. Richmond took a hat-trick against Lancashire at Trent Bridge in 1926 and three wickets in four balls twice, against Leicestershire at Trent Bridge in 1920 and v Yorkshire at Bramall Lane in 1922.

In 1920 and 1923 he played for North v South and in 1921 he represented England v Australia at Trent Bridge, scoring 4 and 2 and bowling 19-3-86-2. He is unique as being the only contemporary Notts player to make his Test debut on the ground, remarkably so, given that more than 50 Notts players have made their Test debuts.

On leaving Nottinghamshire he became the leading bowler for Sir Julien Cahn’s XI and in 1929 and 1930 he took over 100 wickets in a season for that team. He played three First-Class matches during the 1929/30 tour of Australia with Sir Julien Cahn’s XI.

He died on 29 December 1957 at Saxondale Hospital near Radcliffe-on-Trent.


August 2020

Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 310

See Len Richmond's career stats here