Former Hampshire hitter John Manners is now the oldest living first class cricketer, having passed the previous record of 103 years and 345 days on Wednesday.
Manners, a skilled batsman and competent bowler who is the only living man who played cricket first class before the war, outdid Jim Hutchinson of Derbyshire, who died in 2000 at the age of 103 and 344 days
Manners, who batted as a right-hander, was an amateur after following a family tradition of education at Dartmouth and a career at the Royal Navy, but joined the Hampshire team in August 1936, when he turned 22.
In May 1935 in Portsmouth, he scored 20 and took 4 for 43 for United Services in a victory over a strong Hampshire Club & Ground, but the game that secured his place on the Hampshire side was to captain the Royal Navy in a two-day bout against the Army at Lord's in July 1936. He scored 23 and 47 not and took the last wicket in a drawn game, his performance was seen by Colonel Heseltine, then president of Hampshire, and former player, who recommended John to his county.
Manners made 81 in the debut, just 19 races away from being the only Hampshire player to score a century in his first first-class appearance, and continued adding 212 first-class runs in his first two weeks at the Club. However, there would be no more county cricket in the next three seasons as did the Naval duty, after which the war intervened.
He remained in the Royal Navy after the war ended and regularly played by his side and the combined Services, including in May 1947, a two-day match in Portsmouth with his brother, against a team from Hampshire that had changed a lot from that of 11 years previously.
Despite the end of his county career, Manners would play another 12 games designated as first class between August 1948 and June 1953. He continued playing in games that were not first class for the Free Forests, the Forty Club and MCC in the mid-1960s, and even in 1979 at the age of 63, appeared for Wiltshire Queries in a series of clashes v Dorset Rangers.
Rod Bransgrove, president of Hampshire, said: Everyone who participates in Hampshire Cricket, in the past and in the present, greets John Manners for his fabulous entry and hopes that he holds the record as the first-class cricketer Oldest for a long time. "
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