Tuesday, June 25, 2024

CSA mourns the passing of Eastern Province great Neville ‘Armpie’ Francis (1941 – 2022)

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Photo Credit: Cricket South Africa

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has learnt with much sorrow and sadness of the passing of former Eastern Province captain and batting all-rounder, Neville Francis, better known as “Armpie” to his loved ones, who passed away on Wednesday following a lengthy illness.

Francis made his provincial debut when he was 19 and went on to become a captain and one of the integral players of his generation during the 1960 – 1970s era, that also included the likes of Basil D ‘Oliveira whom Francis captained in the South African Cricket Board of Control (SACBOC) structures.

In the 22 statistically recorded First Class matches Francis played, the left-hander scored 1 225 runs, including four centuries and four half-centuries, and a high score of 118 not out while taking nine wickets and the best figures of three for 14 with ball in hand.

The left-arm spinner’s career and service to cricket in the Eastern Province will undoubtedly live long in the memories of those who watched him play or witness first hand accounts of his diminutive stature in full flight.

Commenting on the sad passing of Francis, CSA Chief Executive, Pholetsi Moseki said:

“Yesterday was indeed a sorrowful day for all those connected with Neville Francis, including the entire cricket family at Eastern Province. Francis’ talents on the field with both bat and ball were not always recognized during his playing days but he still left a colossal legacy for those who followed in his footsteps.

“The love for cricket will always be forged through telling stories of the game’s characters such as Amrpie. He will be sorely missed by the cricketing fraternity. May his story live on for many years to come.”

Chairperson of the CSA Board, Lawson Naidoo said:

“The passing of one of the greatest cricketers to come out of the Eastern Province history is a sad day for the game.

“Neville will be remembered for his pleasant nature on and off the field, and for also becoming the one of the only batters to score two centuries in one match in the Dadabhay Trophy provincial
matches.

“He leaves behind a rich legacy of dedication and steadfastness to the game, which we are all enjoined to follow.

“On behalf of the Board of Cricket South Africa, I send heartfelt condolences to the Francis family, Eastern Province Cricket and everyone who Neville inspired in his lifetime.”

Neville Francis is survived by his wife, siblings, and his extended family.

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