CRICKET lovers throughout Yorkshire, and across the world, will be saddened by the death of Brian Close at the age of 84. He truly was a titan of the game. No more fearless and tenacious batsman ever stepped up to the crease, no more determined bowler ever ran in, and no captain of county or country displayed a more resolute will to win.
His was a career of both extraordinary achievement and remarkable longevity. His first-class playing days spanned 37 years, only coming to an end when he was 55, a feat unlikely to be matched. Close made history by becoming the youngest player ever to be selected for England at the age of 18, and then unexpectedly found himself recalled at 45 when the national side desperately needed his legendary toughness to face the ferocious West Indies pace attack in 1976.
Even when his playing days were over, he had more left to give to the game he loved, mentoring the young. His fellow cricketers revered his competiveness and admired his unswerving sportsmanship. He was an exciting player, and crowds leaned forward expectantly when he strode out from the pavilion with either bat or ball.
Close holds a special place in Yorkshire hearts for his captaincy of the all-conquering county side of the 1960s. Happily, he lived long enough to see Yorkshire lift the championship for a second consecutive year just a few days ago.
Axe to fall on Leeds care homes
It’s desperately worrying to hear that three older people’s care homes and four day centres in Leeds are set to close as the council strives to find savings of up to £2m.
As a result of the closures 61 people will now have to be found alternative accommodation with all the stress, worry and upheaval that will entail for them and their families. Not only that but up to 169 staff could lose their current jobs too. The council admits it has had to make a “gloomy” and “unfortunate” decision, adding that it will do everything to make the situation as stress-free as possible for all concerned.
Gloomy and unfortunate? We can think of stronger words.