Len Pascoe

A HISTORY OF BANKSTOWN PLAYERS : Mick’s Musings

Len Pascoe was born in Kingston West Australia but grew up in Greenacre. He was a more orthodox paceman than his great mate Thommo and had a devastating out-swinger. Len was affectionately known as Jaws but Bobby Vidler always called him Darwin because he maintained that Len had more theories than Charles Darwin. Len claimed 309 first class wickets at an average of 25.61. Included were 64 Test wickets at 26.06. His Test career was short circuited by his defection to World Series cricket and he had the honour of bowling the first white ball under lights. His best bowling figures for the N.S.W. Blues were 8-41 versus Tasmania and for Australia 5-59 which wrecked England at Lord’s in 1980. Len received accolades for suggesting night cricket but he modestly says it was a team effort. For the Bulldogs Len captured 528 wickets including 393 in first grade. It stood as a record until beaten by Wayne Holdsworth in 1999-2000. Sportingly Len was on hand to congratulate Wayne on his efforts. Len was a strongly built man with a physique that was admired by women and the envy of all men. Pascoe made light of his batting but did often mention his International 50. People would have to guess who it was against and would say Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Canada or Holland. They were all wrong and Len would proudly pronounce It was the might of Ireland!! Len Pascoe had a heart as big as himself and was just as quick at the end of the day as at the start. He was a fearsome sight pounding in relentlessly with his black locks of hair flying everywhere. One particular day was evidence of this. It was a stinking hot day and Len had broken the back of the Manly batting. Skipper Dion Bourne decided that Lennie needed a spell. Half an hour later Lennie stormed up to Dion and said Lunch we will never get them out give me the bloody ball. In the face of such bravado the skipper relented and Pascoe cleaned up the Sea Eagles quick smart.

The fiery quick started off in the Bulldogs C Shires in 1966-67 and made an impression straight away with 57 wickets at the amazing average of 6.84. His best was 8-10 and he terrified the hapless batsmen. Even more incredible is that Len failed to win the bowling average or aggregate. He was pipped by left arm spinner Bob Waddington who snared 59 at an imposing 6.67. In the final Jeff Thommo took 4-39 and 5-24. , 113 and 83 and Sydney capitulated for a paltry 92 and 99. In the Bulldogs second innings a collapse ensued but Jeff with 27 and Len 16 not out blasted the Dogs back into the game. Skipper Alan Tyson was naturally impressed by the fearsome twosome and described Len as a promising all-rounder after he finished fourth in the batting average!! Arthur Taylor in the following season called Len an almost unplayable fast bowler, an excellent slips fieldsman and handy batsman. His best figures were 8-23 vs Petersham (including a hat trick), 8-31 vs Saints and he ripped into the Sharks with 7-48. Len blasted out 63 batsmen at just 10.51 but again was nutted for the average this time by leggie George Laws but managed to take the most wickets. The next couple of seasons Len and Jeff seemed to spend more time on their surfboards than in the nets. Two men that the pace duo admired most Bobby Madden and Dion Bourne tried valiantly to keep their cricket career on track and eventually won the day. Greg Chappell played for Qld vs NSW and when Jeff claimed seven wickets the master batsmen signed him up quick smart. Thommo was on his way. At the time Len was working in the mail section at Bankstown Council. Len and Mick Stephenson both finished work at 4p.m. and decided to head to the outer oval every day. The quick ripped in hour after hour on the concrete pitch and it paid dividends as the pacy Pascoe went on to represent. It did not do the opening bat’s form any harm either and he had a fine season. This was the catalyst for Len to explode into action and in 74-75 he took 51 wickets at 15.8. He forced his way into the N.S.W. side after stellar performances. Dion Bourne wrote that after spirited displays of pace, aggression and determination Len deserved his selection and with his speed and ability should earn himself an Australian cap. Lunch was right on the money and 76-77 was an enormous time for Len Stephen Pascoe. Marriage to his childhood sweetheart Elaine, selection as NSW. Cricketer of the year and a trip to U.K. on the Ashes tour followed quickly. After peace broke out in 1979-80 in the World Series cricket wars Pascoe ripped through England removing Boycott, Botham and Brearley. In the Centenary Test at Lord’s Lillee and Pascoe combined to dismiss England for 205 with Len 5-59. Against India Len dismissed Sunil Gavaskar for scores of 23,5,10 which helped win the series. It was a fitting finale to Len’s Test career when he clean-bowled Larry Gomes and superstar Viv Richards. Ian Chappell made the mistake of sledging Len in a NSW. Vs South Australia game. Len extracted revenge with 7-18 at the S.C.G when South Aussie fell for 69. Five batsmen scored ducks and described the Pascoe pace as frightening. Lennie was asked on radio why fast bowlers are always so belligerent. His reply was a classic —- a leopard never changes his stripes you know. Although he got his animals mixed up Lennie certainly tamed Brian Reilly at Bankstown. When he came into bat at a drinks break, Len stormed up to him and said I don’t want to get you out Riles I want to knock you out. Pascoe lengthened his run up and stormed in but bowled a much, much slower ball which gently removed the off bail. Riles had ducked anticipating a bouncer. The hapless batsman stormed off but said to the slips cordon on departure. That will do me I’ll have to quit after being outsmarted by a fast bowler”.

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