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Denis Charles Scott Compton CBE (23 May 1918 - 23 April 1997) was an English cricketer and footballer. He was born in Hendon, Middlesex. By the 1930s he was a leading England batsman and remained at the top of his profession for almost three decades. As an all-rounder Compton was a right hand bat and a slow left arm Chinaman bowler.

His dashing approach to batting and the sheer enjoyment he exuded endeared him to a generation of cricket lovers. In 1947 he thrilled a war weary English public by breaking record after record in scoring 3816 runs, he scored 18 centuries and scored 753 runs against the touring South Africans. This season was the summit of a glittering career that began on the ground staff at Lord's, selection for Middlesex followed in 1936 and England the following year.

He scored his first Test century as a precocious 19 year old in 1938 against Don Bradman's touring Australians. Later in the same series he scored a match saving 76 not out at Lord's, this innings was scored on a rain affected pitch and greatly impressed Don Bradman. In 1939 he scored 2468 runs for the season, including 120 against the West Indies at Lord's.

As with many other sportsman of his generation he lost some of his best years to the Second World War, during which he served in the army in India. 1946 saw England touring Australia, although beaten by the powerful Australian team, Compton distinguished himself by scoring a century in each innings at the Adelaide Test.

Back in England in 1947 he had his glorious season, thereafter he remained a wonderful adornment to the game of cricket until his retirement in 1956/1957. He finished his cricket career after playing 78 Test matches with 17 centuries at an average of 50.06. In all first-class cricket he scored 123 centuries.

Compton also played football, spending his entire career at Arsenal. A winger, he made his debut in 1936, and won the League in 1948 and the FA Cup in 1950. However, the latter part of his sporting career was dogged by knee trouble, the knee had been damaged in a collision with the Charlton goalkeeper; he was limited to 60 official (i.e. non-wartime) appearances and 16 goals. He represented England in wartime 12 times, but never in a full official match.

Compton jointly captained Middlesex CCC between 1951 and 1952, with W.J.Edrich. They were honoured with the creation of the Edrich and Compton stands at the Nursery End in Lord's Cricket Ground.

After retiring from sport, Denis Compton became a journalist and later a commentator for BBC Television. He was made a CBE in 1958. He became the first former professional cricketer to be elected President of Middlesex CCC in 1991. He served two terms, until a week before his death in Windsor, Berkshire aged 78.

His brother Leslie also played cricket for Middlesex and football for Arsenal and England.


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