Les Ames

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Les Ames
Les Ames c1930.jpg
Personal information
Full nameLeslie Ethelbert George Ames
Born(1905-12-03)3 December 1905
Elham, Kent
Died27 February 1990(1990-02-27) (aged 84)
Canterbury, Kent
BattingRight-hand bat
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 244)17 August 1929 v South Africa
Last Test3 March 1939 v South Africa
Domestic team information
Career statistics
Competition Test First-class
Matches 47 593
Runs scored 2,434 37,248
Batting average 40.56 43.51
100s/50s 8/7 102/176
Top score 149 295
Balls bowled 1,383
Wickets 24
Bowling average 33.37
5 wickets in innings 0
10 wickets in match 0
Best bowling 3/23
Catches/stumpings 74/23 703/418
Source: CricInfo, 11 June 2012

Leslie Ethelbert George Ames CBE (3 December 1905 – 27 February 1990) was a wicket-keeper and batsman for the England cricket team and Kent County Cricket Club. In his obituary, the Wisden of 1991 described him as the greatest wicket-keeper-batsman of all time. He is the only wicket-keeper-batsman to score a hundred first class centuries.

Early career[edit]

Born in Elham, Kent, in 1905, he was mentored by Francis MacKinnon, an ex-county player who lived in the village and then, after leaving the Harvey Grammar School, Folkestone, by Gerry Weigall, the county coach, who encouraged him to learn to keep wicket so he would have a better chance of playing for the county as an all-rounder.[1]

He received the call to play for Kent while playing in West Malling and made his debut for Kent on 7 July 1926 against Warwickshire at the Nevill Ground in Royal Tunbridge Wells. He scored 35 and took 4 catches, even though Jack Hubble was wicket-keeper in that match. He played one more County Championship that season before becoming a regular in the 1927 season.[2]

He went on the 1928–29 tour to Australia, but only played in several state matches. He made his debut for England in the Fifth Test against South Africa at The Oval on 17 August 1929, making a duck and taking 2 catches.[3] His cap number for England is 244.[4]

Cricket career[edit]

In Test cricket, Ames played 47 matches, scoring 2,434 runs with a batting average of 40.56, and taking 74 catches, and 23 stumpings. In first-class cricket, he scored 37,248 runs at an average of 43.51, including 102 centuries and 176 fifties, and took 704 catches and 417 stumpings. Unusually for a wicket-keeper, he also bowled over 200 overs, taking 24 first-class wickets with a bowling average of 33.37.

Ames was the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1929. He holds a number of wicket-keeping and batting records:

  • the most dismissals in an English county cricket season (127 in 1929);
  • the most stumpings in an English season (64 out of 104 dismissals in 1932);
  • 1000 runs and 100 dismissals in each of three seasons (1928, 1929, 1932), a feat that has only been achieved once again in county cricket;
  • the only wicket-keeper to score 100 first-class centuries;
  • in 1935 he was the last Englishman to score 100 or more runs before lunch in a Test until Ian Bell did so seventy years later. Ames scored 123 runs in the session which is a record for most runs before lunch in Test cricket;
  • centuries against every English first-class county, apart from his own county, Kent;
  • the record 8th wicket partnership for England in Test cricket: 246 with Gubby Allen against New Zealand at Lord's in 1931. This record was finally broken by Jonathan Trott and Stuart Broad on 28 August 2010 in the Fourth Test against Pakistan when they set the new record of 332 runs.
  • the first wicket-keeper to score a century at No.7 in Test Cricket [5]

He was the wicket-keeper for the infamous Bodyline tour of Australia in 1932-3. His cricketing career was interrupted by the Second World War, during which Ames served with the Royal Air Force rising to the rank of Squadron Leader. He returned to play as a batsman for Kent after the war.

In the ICC Test Player Batting Rankings,[6] he was:

  • Highest Rating – 619 on 6 July 1934 (v Australia, Old Trafford, 3rd Test)
  • Highest Ranking – 7th on 14 March 1935 (v West Indies, Kingston, 4th Test)

After his final playing season in 1951, Ames became a successful manager and administrator. He managed MCC tours to the West Indies in 1967–8 and Sri Lanka and Pakistan in 1968–9. He was also the first professional to be appointed as a selector in 1950, continuing until 1956 and serving again in 1958. He was the secretary and manager of Kent County Cricket Club, taking Kent to win the County Championship in 1970.

Outside cricket[edit]

Ames also briefly played football for Gillingham in 1931, making five appearances and scoring one goal,[7] having earlier played for Clapton Orient.


  1. ^ Close of Play by Les Ames – Published in 1953 by Stanley Paul
  2. ^ Cricketer of my time – Heroes to Remember by E W Swanton ISBN 0-233-99940-X
  3. ^ Kent Cricket Archive – cricketarchive.com/Kent/index.html
  4. ^ "England Players – Test Caps". ESPNCricinfo.
  5. ^ "The magnificent seven". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  6. ^ "Les Ames – Test Championship Batting Rankings". ICC. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
  7. ^ Triggs, Roger (2001). The Men Who Made Gillingham Football Club. Tempus Publishing Ltd. p. 10. ISBN 0-7524-2243-X.

External links[edit]