Stowupland cricketer Shaun Langford reaches 1,000 wickets
- Credit: Archant
After 689 appearances and racking up 9,737 runs, Stowupland cricketer Shaun Langford recently reached a major landmark – taking his 1,000th wicket for the club. WILL RIDGARD caught up with the all-rounder to talk about the memorable matches and moments from his 30-year career – including clean-bowling a New Zealand international!
Making his Stowupland Cricket Club debut as a mere 19-year-old in the 1984/85 season, Shaun Langford has experienced several individual and team highs over the course of his impressive local cricketing career.
Growing into a sport his dad Rick nudged him into from an early age, Langford, now 48, has gone on to become somewhat of a Stowupland cricket legend after making nearly 700 appearances for the Suffolk side.
“I didn’t have much choice as a youngster,” said Langford.
“My dad was a founding member of the club at Stowupland so I think it was always clear in his mind that I’d go on to be part of the furniture there.”
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Starting out purely as a bowler, Langford adapted his game over the years to become more of an all-rounder in a sport he breathes, eats, drinks and sleeps.
“I started off with absolutely no interest in batting, all I wanted to do was bowl,” said Langford.
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“I used to be number 11 in bat with all the lads taking the mick.
“But after bowling against some top batsman who have frustrated the hell out of me, I’ve learnt off them to adapt my game and become quite handy with the bat as well.”
Although his talent with the bat has nearly seen him score 10,000 runs for his boyhood club, Langford, who cites Ian Botham as his favourite cricketer, is most renowned for his ability to bowl.
In a tour match against Hailsham towards the back end of the season, Langford achieved a remarkable feat by claiming his 1,000th wicket for the club.
“I’m obviously very proud of the achievement,” reflected Langford, who was presented with a trophy by the club at the end of the season to mark his accomplishments.
“I love the club and the sport so it was an absolute pleasure.”
What made the wicket even more special for Langford was that it was against Hailsham’s club pro, something the all-rounder described as an ‘added bonus’.
Not that removing talented batsman from the crease has been a problem for Langford previously.
Back in 2000, one-time New Zealand Test cricketer Greg Loveridge was also on the end of a wicked delivery from Langford that left the international star clean-bowled and beaten all ends up.
Recalling the delivery, Langford said: “That was definitely a highlight. Greg had such a pedigree in the game and I just remember him being stunned at what had happened.”
A fearsome fast-paced bowler in his heyday, there have been several occassions throughout his career where Langford has picked up nine wickets in a match – frustratingly finding an elusive 10th a step too far.
Langford laughed: “It’s quite funny really as on one particular occassion I had a chance for a clean-sweep of a team’s wickets but someone ended up dropping a simple catch!
“Obviously I’m a bit slower with the ball now so I don’t think I’ll get that opportunity again unfortunately!”
As well as individual success over the years, Langford has also recorded notable team success with him highlighting Stowupland’s Mick McNeil (1997) and Federation (1998) Cup wins as two of his fondest achievements.
“They were unbelievable achievements for us and ones that I will remember forever,” said Langford.
“Jeff Lewis and I were sort of in our ‘peak’ as bowlers back then so I think we shared most of the wickets in two fantastic triumphs.”
At 48, Langford accepts that his days at the highest level could be numbered but while he remains fit and in good health, he is happy to carry on playing for as long as he can.
“I’ve obviously had to change certain aspects of my game and my body certainly prefers the eight-ball 15-over mid-week league game to the 40-45 over one on a Saturday, but the plan is very much to carry on again next year and in the immediate future,” said Langford.
Stowupland CC enjoyed a fine season last year, with both the first-team and second-team finishing in fourth place in their respective leagues, and Langford is confident the club is in good hands for the future.
He said: “We’ve had a good season on and off the field and have just appointed a young captain, Scott Gregory, who has all the enthusiasm and determination I had at his age, so that’s very pleasing to see.”
And something the cricket enthusiast would love to do now is play alongside his son, James.
“James has just turned 15 and is playing for the second team so it’d be fantastic to have a partnership with him just as I’m towards the end of my career and he’s just starting.
“I’d love to play with him and aid his development – not just on the strip but socially as well, which is a big part of cricket.”
Already playing at a high standard for such a young age, James is on course to follow his Dad’s footsteps in the game – even though they might be on a slightly different path.
Langford said: “He’s opened the batting a few times for the seconds so is already slightly different to me!”