Northamptonshire County Cricket Club is sad to learn of all-rounder Albert Lightfoot’s death at the age of 87.
Born in Shropshire, Albert made his first-class debut for Northamptonshire against Cambridge University in June 1953 – along with two other future club stalwarts, Keith Andrew and John Wild – and went on to make 290 appearances for the County, scoring 11,837 runs at an average of 27.52 and taking 167 wickets.
He also featured for Northamptonshire in the early years of limited-overs cricket, playing 31 List A matches up to his retirement in 1970.
Signed primarily as a right-arm medium-pace bowler, Lightfoot soon made more of a name for himself as a left-handed batter – breaking through at first-team level in 1958 with a maiden century (the first of 12 he scored for the County) against Surrey at The Oval, sharing a record-breaking partnership of 376 for the sixth wicket with his captain, Raman Subba Row. ‘If he continues to improve, he may well reach the highest class,’ noted that season’s club annual report.
His most productive summer with the bat was 1962 when he notched 1,795 runs for Northamptonshire including five hundreds. But he is probably best-remembered by many supporters for his central role in an extraordinary finish against Richie Benaud’s Australians at Wantage Road the previous year. Set 198 to win in two-and-a-half hours, Lightfoot put the County on course for victory – but with the scores level and one ball remaining, he stayed in his crease at the non-striker’s end and saw his partner Malcolm Scott run out attempting a bye to stand-in wicketkeeper Bobby Simpson, leaving the match drawn. It should be noted that he scored 80 not out in the first innings and an unbeaten 57 in the second to help set up that victory chance.
A member of the Northamptonshire side that finished as runners-up in the Championship in 1965, Lightfoot claimed his best bowling figures of 7-25 against Yorkshire at Headingley in 1966, topped 1,000 first-class runs in both 1968 and 1969 (hitting a career-best 174 not out against Oxford University in
the latter season) and took a benefit in 1970 – having informed the club that he was not seeking a new contract at the end of the year.
Lightfoot subsequently returned to the club as head groundsman between 1973 and 1978, and spent his later years in the north-west of England.
Northamptonshire County Cricket Club wishes to offer sincere condolences to Albert’s family and friends.