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1967 Lord's final 'keeper Geoff Clayton dies


FORMER Somerset CCC wicket-keeper Geoff Clayton, who played for the county in the Gillette Cup Final at Lord’s in 1967, has dies at the age of 80 at Delph near Oldham in Lancashire.

Clayton, who in addition to his ‘keeping was a useful right handed batsman was born in Mossley, Lancashire on February 2nd1938. His cricketing talents were spotted early on and he joined the groundstaff at Old Trafford straight from school and first appeared for Lancashire Second XI in 1956.

A year later when he was on National Service he made his first class debut for Combined Services against Worcestershire and it wasn’t until 1959 that he made his senior debut for the Red Rose county, after which he became the regular first team ‘keeper.

He was awarded his Lancashire cap in 1960 and during his time at Old Trafford he kept wicket to England bowlers Brian Statham, Ken Higgs, Peter Lever and Tommy Greenhough
Clayton wasn’t retained at the end of the1964 season and was joined Somerset with whom he was also awarded a county cap in 1965.

In his fourth match for Somerset the ‘keeper hit his maiden first class century as night watchman against Middlesex. His 106 remained a career best.

In 1966 Clayton was the leading wicket-keeper in England claiming 84 victims.

He was Somerset’s wicket-keeper in 1967, when they made their first appearance in a one day final at Lord’s, losing out to Kent in the end by 32 runs.

Soon after that match he departed from Somerset and never played first class cricket again.

During his three seasons with Somerset the wicket-keeper lodged at the Princess Royal in Cannon Street, just across the road from the County Ground.

In his three seasons for Somerset, Clayton played in 89 first class matches in which he scored 1744 runs at an average of 14.77, which included his 106 against Middlesex at Taunton in 1965. He also
claimed 242 victims, 209 catches and 33 stumpings.

Recalling his former team mate Ken Palmer said: “He was a very good ‘keeper and one of the best around at that time. He never let us down and he could also bat.

“He was great to have in your team but a very difficult opponent to play against. When we played against Lancashire he used to tell me where to bowl!”

Ken’s brother Roy Palmer who played alongside Geoff has got fond memories of the ‘keeper.

“He was brilliant with me and the two Man of the Match medals I won were as a result of what he did for me. I hadn’t played in the championship match but was due to play in the Gillette Cup the next day, so when the three day game ended as a draw Geoff said he wanted me out in the middle with him to prepare for tomorrow’s game.

“Of course Geoff had been in the field all day, but despite this he went back out into the middle with me and I bowled two or three overs from either end. He helped in that way twice and in the matches that followed I got a Man of the Match Award.

Roy Palmer added: “Geoff was a really good man for me and he helped me so much. Nobody else helped me like he did. He was a brilliant keeper but did have his own little ways that not everybody appreciated. When he wanted to bat he certainly could bat. He was such a good cricketer and should have played for England.”

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