Jim Foat – legend among non-legends

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Jim Foat was a batsman for Gloucestershire in the Seventies. You probably haven’t heard of him; he wasn’t a great batsman.

Jim Foat played 91 first-class matches and 129 one-day matches. First class average: 18.60. One-day average: 15.19. He didn’t take a wicket.

Over 251 innings in first-class matches and one-dayers, he went past 50 just 14 times. That is supremely shite. So supremely shite in fact that he has a following. He’s not entirely unlike this website in that regard, so we instantly warmed to him.

So what does the story of Jim Foat teach us?

  1. It’s important to have faith in your own abilities, even when others don’t.
  2. If you’ve lost faith in your abilities, it’s important to just carry on anyway.
  3. Having carried on for a period of time and had it proven beyond all doubt that you’re not up to the job, don’t give up. The important thing is that you’re probably getting on someone’s nerves and that’s what really matters.


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  1. Seeing the name reminded me of another annoying thing from the Seventies – the song “Float On” by “The Floaters”.

    And once that thought pops into your head, along with the excuse for a tune that disc contained, you cannot get said annoying “tune” out of your head.

    Not even by playing an old Au Pairs album to drive the irritating idee fix away.

  2. “Jim Foats like a butterfly, stings like a bee” used to be on a banner alongside the M5 – near Gloucester.

    That now makes sense.

  3. Amy, from reading the article it looks like he was a superb fielder. Gus Logie and Jonty Rhodes made a good career out of this for their country – admittedly with twice the average.
    Also it seems he scored 5 centuries, which judging by his scoring rate would have taken immense concentration.

  4. He seems like a decent sort of chap, judging by his modest comments. He is also a much better cricketer than me, having scored five centuries in first class cricket.

    That last sentence tends to remain true about people even if you delete the final five words.

  5. I love this bit: “His interests are unbelievably prosaic – driving and television.” What a guy.

  6. I played cricket and football with Foat at Prep School. At that level he was supreme, but we still took the occasional battering at football. I remember once losing very heavily at Christopher Whitehead School in Worcester.
    He went on to Millfield to hone his skills!
    Foat was a bit of a lad at school – one of the more unruly ones, a great character. I think his Dad owned a pub in Salford Priors near Evesham.

  7. Like you Nigel, I knew Jim in my school days.
    A phenominal batsman and fielder.
    We played together in schoolboy cricket for Warwickshire.
    He was a character and continued to be a ‘loon’ in his cricketing days with Gloucester.
    Yes your right also that his dad owned a pub in Salford Priors.
    For those who new Jim as a youngster it just shows the massive void between the levels of the game

  8. I too played cricket with Jim – at Millfield.
    He was quite simply the best batsman I ever had the privilege of batting with.
    I could never quite work out why he didn’t do better in first class cricket.
    Perhaps if he had shown the passion for cricket that he had for Aston Villa, things might have been different!!

  9. Hi, I’m Jim’s Daughter. I think my Dad is a mega legend and that’s all that matters…he still remains one hell of a character at 60!

    1. We’re happy to second your verdict of ‘mega legend’ and we’re not even biased through being related to him.

    2. I went to school with Jim too. Would be great to meet up again.
      A great fielder.

  10. Please forward this on to Jim if you can. I went to Millfield with Jim, boarded at Tor with him. I met up with John Mac in recent years, so it would good for us all to meet up.
    Pete Dixon

    1. I too was at Millfield and marveled at James Foat’s excellent batting and fielding
      he was a great footballer and hockey player too!
      but above all a great bloke, enough said

  11. I remember watching Jim Foat playing for Gloucestershire and what a fine fielder he was. I would rank him up there with the greatest and am certain that this would have reflected on the amount of games he played. Probably saved on average between 20 and 30 runs per innings which if added onto his own batting average would make it very respectable.

  12. As a Gloucestershire fan in the seventies I used to love watching Jim Foat in the field,he was brilliant.It should also be remembered that not everyone who played first class cricket,or any sport come to think of it can be the absolute best.There will always be the “bread and butter” sportsmen and strangely enough they’re the ones I admire.

  13. I saw Gloucestershire beat Sussex in the 1973 Gillette Cup Final at Lords. He and Tony Brown put on a matchwinning partnership. Tony Brown scored the majority of the runs (49?) but Jim Foat (7?) made Brown sprint every run, and was as worthy of the man of the match as Mike Proctor who scored 94 priceless runs.
    I seem to remeber that Tony Greig was out for a duck.

  14. Jim was a brilliant fielder, and saved
    many runs in the field, the standard of bowling
    in the 1970’s and uncovered wickets, did not
    inflate batting averages in that decade.

  15. I,m sat here in Orlando Florida on a lovely evening having listened to Jim tell the story’s all about his great times playing cricket I,m lucky enough to have worked and been a friend of Jim’s for over 25 years and he has missed his vocation in life as the story’s he tell’s keep you laughing for hours on end and it doesn’t matter how many times you here them they still make you laugh and the glory of the iPad we look up all the players he is talking about and that’s how we found this website p.s he’s a good golfer only if he could putt

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