DateLine: 22nd November 2005
Former Lancashire and Derbyshire left arm spinner Ian Folley was tragically killed in a cricketing accident in August 1993, at the age of just 30. He had been hit under the eye while trying to hook a ball during a stint as captain of the North Lancashire league side Whitehaven. Although a nasty blow, Folley was able to jog of the field of his own accord, and none would have guessed at what was to follow, as he suffered a fatal heart attack while under anaesthetic. In happier times, Folley had spent 9 seasons at Old Trafford. He began his professional career as a left arm seamer, although the switch to left arm spin (after Lancashire manager Jack Bond had suggested the switch) brought Folley both his best and worst cricketing times. His new style brought him 74 and 57 First class wickets in 1987 and 1988 respectively, with his wickets costing under 30 in both these seasons. Against Warwickshire at Southport in 1987 he recorded the analysis of 21.1-13-15-7 in the first innings of the match, and went onto take 12-57 in a match which Lancashire won by 10 wickets. Selection for the MCC against Yorkshire in the September of that year served notice to Phil Edmonds and John Emburey that they had serious competition for their England spots, although fellow left arm spinner Nick Cook was selected ahead of Folley for that winters tour to Pakistan. However, 1989 saw Folley develop the cricketing yips (a condition which seems to disproportionately affect left arm spinners), and he was unable to develop his career. In 1991 Derbyshire offered him a second chance after his release from Old Trafford, and despite looking a useful cricketer in the second team, his first team outings saw him struggle to be either a wicket taking threat or to put a serious break on the oppositions scoring. However, those who watched Lancashire in the 1980ís will recall Ian Folley as a skilled exponent of a difficult art.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 Matthew Reed)
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