YORKSHIRE cricket is mourning the death of a man who has been compared in style to the great Shane Warne.
Peter Kippax, who played for the county as a leg-spinner in the early 1960s, has died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, aged 76.
Mr Kippax, who founded the Leeds bat-making firm Kippax Willow Limited, was also a highly-respected coach and mentor.
Gary Keedy, the former Lancashire left-arm spinner who was coached by him as a youngster, tweeted “rest in peace great man”, while former Yorkshire pace bowler John Blain posted that he was “a true legend and part of bat-making history”.
Although Mr Kippax played only five first-class games, he was starved of chances at Yorkshire at a time when they had great spinners in the form of Ray Illingworth and Don Wilson.
He went on to enjoy a successful career in Minor Counties cricket with Northumberland and Durham, and also in league cricket in Yorkshire and the North West.
Ralph Middlebrook, who coached alongside Mr Kippax for 20 years at the Yorkshire Cricket Board Pathways to Excellence, has no doubt that he would have prospered even more had he been playing today.
“Peter bowled it like Shane Warne,” he said.
“He was not in the same league, of course, but he bowled in a similar style at that pace.
“Peter fizzed it and, when he batted, like all class players he had time.
“He was just a class act and an original thinker; with him, the coaching book was there to be referred to, but not religiously followed.”
Born in Huddersfield, Mr Kippax founded his bat-making firm in 1976.
Today, the Methley-based business is run by his son, Chris, with the hand-made bats sourced from locally grown willow trees.
A curious fact is that Mr Kippax’s last two first-class games were 25 years apart; after making his final appearance for Yorkshire against the Pakistanis in 1962, he reappeared for MCC against his former county at Scarborough in 1987.