Oxford MailCRICKET: Super Arnold's 30-year service (From Oxford Mail)

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CRICKET: Super Arnold's 30-year service

Oxford Mail: Keith Arnold celebrates breaking Oxfordshire’s wickets record last summer Keith Arnold celebrates breaking Oxfordshire’s wickets record last summer

Keith Arnold’s impressive longevity is shown by a scan through Oxfordshire’s cricket archives.

The 50-year-old seamer, who retired from county duty last week, had the second longest career of any Oxfordshire player.

His 30 years in the Oxon ranks are only matched by Charlie Walters (1922-52) and exceeded by SCB Lee (1904-38).

Arnold, who is continuing to play for his club Banbury Twenty, said: “When I started I was 20 and that was considered young because I don’t think there was anybody else under the age of 30 in the side.

“Now players are coming in at 17, 18 and 19.”

An illustration of this was 17-year-old Jack Taylor taking the catch that saw Arnold break Oxon’s Minor Counties record wicket tally of 670 last summer.

As for his own fitness, Arnold added: “One Saturday afternoon is not an issue, but a three-day game when you are in the field for 90 overs is a different matter.”

Oxfordshire captain Ian Hawtin said: “It is an unbelievable achievement.

“If you speak to any Minor Counties cricketer who has played against Keith Arnold, they would all say what a fearsome bowler he was.”

Oxfordshire Cricket Board archivist Julian Lawton Smith said: “As far as I can tell the last player aged over 50 to play for Oxfordshire was the opening bat Bill Miller, who was 52 on his last appearance in 1956, over 50 years ago.

“I believe the oldest player to represent the county was the great all-rounder Charlie Walters, who was 55 when he turned out for the last time in 1952.

“Earlier players achieving the same landmark were SCB Lee in 1938 (aged 52 or 53), Elmer Cotton in 1931 (aged 50), and the Rev WS Caldwell in 1929 (aged 51).

“With the exception of Walters, all the others were purely batsmen, making Keith’s achievement all the more remarkable.”

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