Bob Berry honed his craft in the Lancashire Leagues before making his debut for his native county in 1948. His well-flighted slow left arm orthodox spin made an immediate impression, and he was picked for England on his home ground of Old Trafford in 1950. He took an excellent 5-63 against a strong West Indies side, capturing the wickets of Worrell and Walcott. And a further four wickets in the second innings. Although he did not take a wicket in West Indies historic victory in the Second Test, he bowled economically. England however had many spinners in competition for Test spots, with the likes of Laker, Wright, and Hollies, and although Berry toured Australia with FR Brown's team in 1950/51, he did not play another Test. He did take all ten Worcestershire wickets in 1953, obviously making an impression, as he left Lancashire for Worcestershire in 1955. After three years he moved on to Derbyshire, where he became the first player to be capped for three counties. There has been a story that "in retirement he earned local fame as a pigeon breeder". This was never true; the myth originated when he once took a neighbour's racing pigeons to an away match as a favour.
(Article: Copyright © 2003 Dave Liverman)
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