ONE of Oxfordshire’s best-ever cricket all-rounders has died aged 93.

Len Hemming, who played for Witney Mills Cricket Club, passed away at Oxford’s Sobell House hospice last month.

Mr Hemming was a former sales manager at Witney blanket factory Early’s.

Andrew Cannons, chairman of Witney Mills Cricket Club, said: “Mr Hemming always insisted that the game was played properly, and demanded high standards in cricket basics – players who failed to keep the ball up as it was being returned to the bowler could expect to be given it back and told to try again.”

Born in Enfield in 1916, Mr Hemming emigrated with his parents to Australia as a boy, and grew up a committed cricketer.

He returned to Britain in the mid-1930s and played club cricket in the capital before the Second World War, often travelling across London in the evenings to attend indoor nets at Surrey’s cricket school.

After moving to Oxfordshire, he would play for RAF Brize Norton on Wednesdays and Saturdays and turned out for Carterton and Witney Town on Sundays.

In the late 1940s, Mr Hemming joined Early’s and would play cricket for Witney Mills on Saturdays and Oxford City on Sundays.

He captained Witney Mills for 30 years, only finishing playing in 1977, aged 61. Mr Hemming played for Oxfordshire in the Minor Counties Championship between 1946 and 1954.

His best performance came in a match against Devon, when he took five wickets for 19 runs in the first innings and eight for 31 in the second.

In 1951, Mr Hemming played for the Minor Counties against Kent, at Canterbury, in a first class match. He scored 14 in each innings, and took one for 60 in 23 overs.

Mr Cannons said: “There’s little doubt he would have played many more times for both Oxfordshire and the Minor Counties had his work and family commitments allowed.

“Mr Hemming was an aggressive batsman, particularly strong on the leg-side, a quickish off-spinner, a good first slip, and a shrewd captain with a strong personality. He once took all 10 wickets when playing for Witney Town against Oxford City, when the city was a strong side, made up mostly of county players.”

He added: “After he retired, Mr Hemming watched many hours of cricket in the University Parks.

“A few months before his death, walking through Witney, he came across two former cricketers – without breaking stride he told them they were standing too close for slips, laughed in a way that would have been instantly recognised by anyone who played with him, and walked briskly on.”