Ken Snellgrove: Cricketer who boosted Lancashire's one-day status

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The Independent Online

Ken Snellgrove played first-class cricket for Lancashire from 1965 until 1974. His value to the county, particularly as a one-day player, was immense. He made a significant contribution to their status as the leaders of this new form of the game.

Born in Somerset in 1941, Snellgrove spent his formative years on Merseyside. He played his club cricket for Bootle, where he came to the attention of the Lancashire coach, Tom Reddick. He was invited for trials at Old Trafford and after scoring well over 1,000 runs for a successful Second XI in 1964 he earned himself a full-time contract.

Snellgrove began his first-class career in one of the most turbulent periods in the red-rose county's history. However, the arrival of the overseas stars Farokh Engineer and Clive Lloyd, together with the astute leadership of a new captain, Jack Bond, helped hasten a revival.

Lancashire were more consistent in the County Championship and won three successive Gillette Cup finals at Lord's (1970-72). In 1969 and 1970 they won the new John Player Sunday League.

A powerful, doughty, right-handed middle-order batsman, elegant and economical of movement and a prodigious worker of the ball, Snellgrove was particularly strong off the back foot. He was also a high-class fielder and a more than useful spin bowler and as such he was perceived, perhaps unfairly, to be best suited to the one-day game, particularly the 40-over Sunday League format.

In 105 first-class appearances, Snellgrove scored 3,906 runs. His best year was 1971, when he scored 991 runs and won his county cap. Although he passed fifty 21 times in his career, he only made two centuries. The best was his 138 against Middlesex at Old Trafford in 1970.

In 1975, he moved back into local cricket, playing for Whalley in the Ribblesdale League. Later he captained Bootle and played for Ormskirk in the Liverpool Competition, before enjoying 10 years in the Northern League where, particularly at Leyland, he enjoyed considerable success.

Away from cricket, Ken became a successful businessman. In recent years, while refining his golf swing, he returned to his roots and took pride in the achievements of his son, David, whose first season as Bootle's captain begins in a few weeks' time.

Kenneth Leslie Snellgrove, cricketer: born Shepton Mallet, Somerset, 12 November 1941; married (one son, one daughter); died Ormskirk, Lancashire 8 March 2009.