‘He epitomised the spirit of cricket’ - Tributes paid to Suffolk star Layne

Former Suffolk cricketer Randolph Layne (second from left), who has died aged 81, with fellow former

Former Suffolk cricketer Randolph Layne (second from left), who has died aged 81, with fellow former Suffolk star Hercules Grant, his wife Faith, and ex-EADT sports editor Tony Garnett. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

Carlyle Randolph Layne, a Suffolk county cricketer who made 45 appearances in the Minor Counties Championship between 1966 and 1971, has died at the age of 81.

Randolph Layne (right) with Hercules Grant, a fast bowler from Antigua, who played for Suffolk in 19

Randolph Layne (right) with Hercules Grant, a fast bowler from Antigua, who played for Suffolk in 1978. Photograph: TONY GARNETT - Credit: Archant

He was an opening bowler who shared the new ball many times with John Hargreaves and often with John Stoggell and Colin Rutterford.

He had a round-arm slingy action.

His first and final appearances for Suffolk saw victory over old rivals Norfolk.

On August 5 and 6 1966 he made his debut at Lakenham, the magnificent cricket ground with jousting tents down one boundary. Suffolk’s captain was Ian Prior and the team included Cyril Perkins, Bob Flack, Cliff and Bob Cunnell, Dick English, Tony Warrington and professional Alan Watkins, formerly England and Glamorgan, who was coach at Framlingham College.

Suffolk won by five wickets and Layne took two wickets in each innings.

It was at Denes Oval at Lowestoft where Layne played his final Suffolk match which ended in a Suffolk victory by an overwhelming innings and 85 runs.

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English scored a century for Suffolk. Layne took two for 34 in the first innings but bowled only nine overs in the second innings when Bob Cunnell spun out Norfolk with figures of eight for 14.

Layne was awarded his county cap in 1968 when he produced his best bowling figures of five for 51 against Buckinghamshire at Ipswich School.

His Minor Counties career bowling average was 25.26. He took 119 wickets including several notable scalps.

Former Suffolk players who attended Randolph Layne’s 80th birthday celebrations at Rushmere Golf Clu

Former Suffolk players who attended Randolph Laynes 80th birthday celebrations at Rushmere Golf Club. From left: Bob Cunnell, Richard English, John Stuck, Bobby Flack, Layne in county blazer, John Hall, John Hargreaves, Roger Howlett and Steve Marks. Photograph: TONY GARNETT - Credit: Archant

Twice in 1967 and 1970 he bowled former Middlesex and England all-rounder Bill Edrich who was captain of Norfolk.

He also bowled former Norwich City goalkeeper Sandy Kennon, batting at number three, for a duck at Lakenham in 1970.

His highest score for Suffolk was 23 not out against Norfolk in 1967. He scored 200 runs with an average of 6.45.

At club level he had two centuries to his name. One was at Frinton and the other at Framlingham College in Quilibets Week where he was involved in a spectacular last wicket stand in which the number 11 scored two.

Randolph was born at Christchurch in Barbados in April 1937.

He and two brothers, Leroy and Chesterfield, came to England in 1963. Leroy settled in London but Randolph and Chesterfield made their home in Ipswich. Randolph worked firstly at Cranes and then at Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies.

Cricket was his main love. He represented many clubs but made most appearances for Cranes, Saxmundham, Ransomes, St Margarets, Gainsborough Labour Club and Fisons.

He returned to Barbados in 1976 when co-opted into the British Press cricket tour squad captain by Trevor Bailey where he was able to play against former West Indian greats such as Seymour Nurse and Wes Hall.

He later played for the Suffolk Over 50 team at which time he also took up indoor cricket.

In more recent times he would be seen round the boundary at both Suffolk county matches and club matches.

In his final days he enjoyed watching the West Indian team on television in their matches against England.

Norman Atkins, chairman of Suffolk County Cricket Association, said: “I am pleased to acknowledge the major contribution of Randolph to cricket in Suffolk.

“He epitomised the spirit of cricket and had a mischievous sense of humour and will be missed on the boundary in the coming season.”

He married Roma Burrowes, a nurse at Ipswich Hospital when it was in Anglesea Road, in 1966. Roma died in August 2005.

They knew each other in Barbados but it was not until they were both in Ipswich that the wedding took place.

He leaves daughters Shirley and Rhonda, son Kevin and five grandchildren Ricardo, Dayla, Jerrell, Hannah and Chanel as well as three great grandchildren.

The funeral will be at Elim International Church at Barrack Corner, Ipswich IP1 2NB on Friday, March 29 at 12 noon.

The wake will be at Westgate Ward Social Club, 74 Victoria Road IP1 2JX.