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‘A colossal legacy’: SA cricket mourns Neville ‘Armpie’ Francis

PE Sports Legends Trustee Graeme Sauls paid a visit to Neville Francis as he celebrated his 80th birthday last year.
PE Sports Legends Trustee Graeme Sauls paid a visit to Neville Francis as he celebrated his 80th birthday last year.
Image: PESLT/FACEBOOK

Former Eastern Province cricket great Neville “Armpie” Francis has died.

The news of Francis' death was confirmed by Cricket SA (CSA) on Thursday. He died at the age of 81 on Wednesday after a lengthy illness.

According to CSA, Francis, a batting all-rounder, made his provincial debut when he was 19. He went on to become a captain and one of the integral players of his generation in a 1960s and 1970s era that also included the likes of Basil D‘Oliveira, whom Francis captained in the SA Cricket Board of Control structures.

In the 22 statistically recorded First Class matches Francis played, the left-hander scored 1,225 runs, including four centuries and four half-centuries, and a highest score of 118 not out, while taking nine wickets and the best figures of 3-14.

CSA CEO Pholetsi Moseki said Francis will be sorely missed by the cricketing fraternity.

“Yesterday [Wednesday] was a sorrowful day for all those connected with Neville Francis, including the entire cricket family at Eastern Province,” Moseki said.

“Francis’ talents on the field with both bat and ball were not always recognised during his playing days, but he still left a colossal legacy for those who followed in his footsteps.

“The love for cricket will always be forged through telling stories of the game’s characters such as Armpie.”

CSA board chair Lawson Naidoo said the death of one of the greatest cricketers to come out of the Eastern Province is a sad day for the game.

“Neville will be remembered for his pleasant nature on and off the field and for also becoming one of the only batters to score two centuries in one match in the Dadabhay Trophy provincial matches,” Naidoo said.

TimesLIVE


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