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Obituary: Tribute to Gloucestershire’s oldest Stroud-born cricketer

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Gloucestershire’s oldest one-day cricketer, David Carpenter who has died aged 86, also has the distinction of scoring the most half-centuries, seventeen in total, without ever posting a hundred in first-class cricket. 

A prodigious worker of the ball, he was essentially a sound, technically correct right-handed batsman, strong off the back foot, at ease whether in the middle order or opening the innings.  He was also an occasional off-break bowler.  Making his first-class debut in 1954, that year was the first in the county’s illustrious history when their team comprised all eleven professionals.

Born in Rodborough, Stroud, David Carpenter was educated at Tetbury Grammar School.  While there, excelling on the cricket field, he was also a tough tackling full back going on to play rugby union for Gloucester.  Making his Gloucestershire Second XI debut as an eighteen-year-old during 1954, he made an instant impression with both bat and ball.  His first-class debut quickly followed as the county played host to an Oxford University side captained by Colin Cowdrey.  Representative honours subsequently came his way during the course of his National Service in the Royal Air Force.

Returning to county cricket in 1957, he initially struggled to turn his talents into sustained success, eleven appearances that year bringing him a mere two hundred and seventy runs.  Improving year on year, his side surprised many during the course of 1959 by leading the county championship, only to lose out to Yorkshire.  Struggling during the following season, amid all the furore over the county captaincy and the departure of Tom Graveney in 1961, promoted to open the innings, Carpenter flourished as never before.  A total of one thousand and thirty-five runs earned him his county cap.

With a top score of eighty-nine, a century continued to prove frustratingly elusive.  Having now moved down to three in the batting order, it was when facing the firepower of Derbyshire’s Les Jackson and Harold Rhodes at Derby in 1962, that the coveted target came so tantalisingly close.  Putting on one hundred and ninety-five in a second-wicket stand with Ron Nicholls, while Nicholls went on to complete a magisterial one hundred and forty-four, Carpenter fell just five runs short of that magic total, caught by Charlie Lee off the slow left-arm bowling of Donald Carr for ninety-five.

After a lean season in 1963, having made an appearance in Gloucestershire’s inaugural Gillette Cup contest with Middlesex at Bristol, he retired from first-class cricket.  Proceeding to enjoy a successful career in the brewing industry, he also turned out in charity and benefit games for the Whitbread Wanderers.  At the same time, he brought his considerable experience to bear over many years when playing league cricket for Chipping Sodbury.  A keen golfer, using his business acumen, his input and expertise proved invaluable when mentoring start-up and fledgling businesses county-wide.

Kenneth Shenton

David Carpenter was born September 12 1935, and died on January 4 2022.

Career Record 1954-1963 M R HS AVGE Ct      

First Class                                 117          3741 95 18.33 72     

Career Record  1963

 List A                 1                  1              1             1.00           0   

The funeral of former Gloucestershire CCC & Chipping Sodbury CC cricketer – David Carpenter will take place at Westerleigh Crematorium on Monday 7th February at 12.30pm. Refreshments will be available at the Beaufort Inn Chipping Sodbury after the service    

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