Frederick Ridgway, born on August 10, 1923 and died October 2, 2015.
Fred was born in Stockport, Cheshire, England on 10 August 1923.
As a county cricketer, Ridgway, although not appearing a likely successful pace bowler because of his slight build, was the mainstay of Kent’s opening attack for a decade after World War II, except on the rare occasions that Jack Martin could get away from business.
Fred did not play regularly in 1946, but the following year he jumped into prominence with 12 for 86 on a rain-affected pitch against Yorkshire.
Though in 1948 he was badly affected by injury, 1949 proved to be Ridgway’s best year, for he took 105 wickets for 22.88 runs each, which ranked him as the fourth-best pace bowler in the country after Bedser, Gladwin and Les Jackson.
Fred’s most notable performance was on the featherbed Trent Bridge wicket, where he took six for 79 in the first innings, and paved the way for an easy Kent victory.
Apart from teammate Doug Wright in the second innings, no visiting bowler at Trent Bridge bettered those figures all year, but Fred’s most notable feat that year was his striking consistency: with only one haul of eight or more in a match he still took 90 wickets in 20 county games.
Moreover, playing against Sussex, Fred “shared in a record partnership of 161 for the ninth wicket” with Brian Edrich.
This partnership, just under half the total of 379, was made in a losing cause.
Although Fred did not play in any of the Tests that year, he was regarded as a contender for honours but, in 1950, injury again took its toll.
Career-best figures of eight for 39, however, against Nottinghamshire at the tail end of the season, were followed by an impressive 1951, where he took over 90 wickets and, with Alec Bedser amongst others declining to tour India, Ridgway was a natural choice, and was one of seven players who made their Test debut on that trip where he opened the bowling with Brian Statham.
Fred took 41 wickets at an average of 26.04 in 16 first-class matches on the tour, but only seven wickets at 54.14 in the five Tests.
Injury again troubled him in 1952 and 1955, and he did not return to his best form until 1956, when support at last coming from David Halfyard, Fred took 82 wickets and, two years later, had his second-highest aggregate with 98 wickets at 14.26 runs, lifting Kent to their highest County Championship position since 1947.
Injuries again restricted him severely in 1959 and 1960, after which he retired from first-class cricket.
Fred Ridgway died at age 92 on October 2, 2015.