Northamptonshire County Cricket Club is sad to record the death of former player John Gordon ‘Gus’ Williamson at the age of 86.
Born in Stockton-on-Tees, he made 55 first-class appearances for Northamptonshire between 1959 and 1962 – one of several young fast bowlers handed the daunting task of initially partnering the great Frank Tyson and then attempting to replace him.
Williamson made a name for himself in Minor Counties Championship cricket with Durham from 1954, and three years later was signed up by Northamptonshire ahead of his national service in the army.
After a single first-class outing for Combined Services against Warwickshire in 1958, he made his County debut against Essex at Ilford in May 1959. With Tyson out injured, Williamson played 15 Championship matches that summer and claimed 37 wickets – including a career-best six for 47 against Kent at Kettering.
He also turned out regularly in 1960 (‘Typhoon’ Tyson’s last season before retirement), and in addition to 34 first-class wickets enjoyed the distinction of hitting 106 not out off Cambridge University’s attack at Northampton – coming in at number ten – featuring two sixes and 15 fours. He added an unbroken 144 for the ninth wicket with Malcolm Scott.
The arrival of David Larter coincided with a dip in Williamson’s fortunes; he managed only 18 wickets at 52 runs apiece in 1961. Despite a five-wicket haul against Gloucestershire at Bristol early in the 1962 season, helping Jim Watts dismiss the home side for just 63, Williamson told the committee at the end of the summer that he did not wish to be considered for a fresh contract.
Williamson finished his first-class career at Northamptonshire with 796 runs, 119 wickets and 28 catches to his credit.
He returned to Minor Counties cricket with Durham for the remainder of the 1960s – also playing for Bishop Auckland CC – before switching his allegiance to Cheshire in 1974. His son Gareth played at Second XI level for Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the 1980s and 90s.
‘Gus’ was a popular figure on the playing staff at Wantage Road and returned occasionally in later years for the former players’ reunion.
Northamptonshire CCC offers sincere condolences to his family and friends.