Alan Townsend 1921-2014
Warwickshire CCC is sorry to hear of the death this week of their former player and member of the 1951 Championship winning side, Alan Townsend, at the age of 92.
Durham born, Alan, a true gentleman, joined Warwickshire at the age of 26 in 1948 and made an immediate impact on the club and those around him, with his stylish batting style and gentle medium pace bowling.
His major talent however, was his superb ability as a slip fielder, taking 409 catches in all in a career that saw him play in 340 matches for Warwickshire between 1948 and 1960.
It was “as if he were picking cherries from a low branch” wrote historian Robert Brooke about Townsend, calling him a “natural” slip fielder with “near genius rating.”
With the bat he averaged 24.92, making 11,965 runs while his bowling statistics showed him taking 323 wickets at an average of 28.60 per wicket.
He made six first-class centuries with his best score being 154 against Worcestershire at Dudley in 1957 in a stay of five hours at the crease.
His best bowling return was 7-84 against Essex at Brentwood in 1949 while in 1952 his 74 wickets represented his best return in a season.
After retirement from the First Class game, Alan played for Mitchells and Butlers in the Birmingham League, with great effect as a batsman.
He later became a coach, helping youngsters to understand and develop their game.