10 August 1923 |
Stockport, Cheshire, England, UK
|Bowling style||Right arm fast-medium|
|Test debut (cap 365)||2 November 1951 v India|
|Last Test||6 February 1952 v India|
|Domestic team information|
|Source: CricketArchive, 7 January 2009|
Frederick Ridgway (born 10 August 1923) is an English former cricketer, who played in five Tests for England on the 1951/1952 tour of India, where he and Brian Statham shared the opening pace bowling duties.
Life and career
Ridgway was born 10 August 1923 in Stockport, Cheshire, England. 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. Ridgway did not play regularly in 1946, but the following year he jumped into prominence with twelve for 86 on a rain-affected pitch against Yorkshire.
Though 1948 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. Ridgway'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 Ridgway's most notable feat that year was his striking consistency: with only one haul of eight or more in a match he still took ninety wickets in twenty county games. Moreover, playing against Sussex, Ridgway "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 Ridgway 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, was followed by an impressive 1951, where he took over ninety 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 that trip where he opened the bowling with Brian Statham.
Despite not doing badly in the less important games, Ridgway's bowling declined, typically totalling only around sixty-five wickets a season for over twenty-six runs each. With support at last coming from David Halfyard, however, Ridgway improved in 1956 with eighty-two wickets and, two years later, had his second-highest aggregate with ninety-eight wickets for 14.26 runs apiece, lifting Kent to their highest County Championship position since 1947. Injuries that had already wiped out most of his 1955 season, however, restricted him severely in 1959 and 1960, after which he retired from first-class cricket.