Peter Cranmer, who joined Moseley in 1937 and also won 16 England caps between 1934 and 1938, was an all round sportsman who also excelled at athletics, cricket and hockey.
His cricketing talent was first noticed during his schooldays at St. Edward’s School, Oxford when, in 1929, he scored 177 not out for the school’s cricket colts XI in a game with Bradfield and in the following season was promoted to the first XI.
In his second year in the senior side he scored 204 runs at an average of 40.80 and went on to captain the team in both 1932 and 1933. During his first year of captaincy he scored four centuries, had a highest score of 156 and averaged 62.78.
Although Cranmer was awarded two rugby Blues while at Oxford University he did not make any first class appearances for the university cricket side, making his first class debut, for Warwickshire, on 27th June 1934, in the match against Gloucestershire in which he scored 18 runs.
Having made his debut he soon got into his stride and in the following month scored his first century (113) for the county against Northamptonshire, at Edgbaston. This innings was composed of many graceful and powerful strokes from all round the wicket.
In August of the same year, against Glamorgan, also at Edgbaston, he hit two enormous sixes, one of which narrowly missed a passing bus. Later in the month, before his final appearance of the season, against Middlesex, Cranmer was awarded his county cap, and then top scored for his side with 68.
During the 1936 season Peter Cranmer only made one appearance for Warwickshire because of injury. He did, however, on a number of occasions, play for Harborne and was among the runs.
He returned to first class action in 1937 and was at the centre of some controversy at the season’s end. The Warwickshire committee announced that whilst appreciating the eight years of R.E.G. Wyatt’s captaincy, they had decided unanimously to recommend ‘in the best interests of the club’ that Peter Cranmer should be appointed captain for 1938.
The general consensus was that he was not experienced enough to lead the county, however, his personality more than made up for this deficiency. He led by example on the field and turned the course of several matches with his vigorous batting.
One example of his fielding energy occurred in the match with Glamorgan when one of the visiting batsmen struck the bowler on the side of the head with a straight drive. The ball, still in the air, flew behind the wicket and after a 40 yard dash Cranmer took a superb diving catch.
Later in the season against Surrey, at Edgbaston, Cranmer, batting at number nine scored a superb attacking 80 and such was the consternation of the Surrey captain that he tried nine different bowlers in an attempt to remove the Warwickshire captain.
Peter Cranmer again served as Warwickshire captain during the last pre-war season in 1939. When war broke out he enlisted in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was commissioned in 1940. He rose to the rank of major and served in both India and Burma. He played a little cricket while on active service and in one match took seven wickets for 52 runs.
When first class cricket resumed, in 1946, Cranmer was once more appointed Warwickshire captain and retained the captaincy in 1947. These two years were difficult times for the county but one notable feat by the captain was scoring 34 runs in only eight minutes against Essex in 1947.
At the conclusion of the 1947 season Cranmer resigned the captaincy for business reasons. He did, however, make a number of first class appearances for Warwickshire in 1951-59.
He also made four appearances for the M.C.C. against his old university in 1955-59 before, at the age of 55, in 1970, returning to Warwickshire to captain the second XI. He continued to lead the side until the close of the 1972 season.
Following Peter Cranmer’s death, in 1994, the Peter Cranmer Shield was inaugurated as an award for the Warwickshire second XI player of the season.
|Click for Website Enquiries|