Len Beel Obituary, Death – The news of the demise of Len Beel, a true great of Combe Park, came as a sad but serene surprise to us today, and we were overcome with emotion upon hearing it. Several recollections of Len… Len was an incredible athlete who was born in Herefordshire in 1945. In the early to middle 1960s, he played professional football for Shrewsbury Town and Birmingham City, both of which competed in the first flight of English football. After moving to Bath City, Len eventually found his way to Lansdown in the late 1960s, around the same time that he made his debut for Somerset in a Sunday League match against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
When he was playing for Combe Park, he became fast bowling partners with Hallam Moseley for the two years that preceded Hallam’s departure to Somerset on a contract. In the days before the league, they made a dangerous combination, and the 1970 squad was widely regarded as one of the most formidable ever seen or heard of in living memory. Because of his pinpoint accuracy and “big heart,” Lansdown captains felt confident enough to go all out for victory, secure in the knowledge that they could call on him to bowl the final few overs of an innings in order to slow down the opposing team’s scoring pace.
Both in 1978, when Lansdown’s First XI finished in fifth position in the League, and again in 1979, when they finished in sixth place, Len served as captain. He was a member of the 1980 club that won the League championship. It speaks volumes about the kind of person he was that he was willing to serve as captain of the incredibly successful Lansdown 2nd XI in 1981 and 1982, leading the team to back-to-back League table victories while also devoting himself to assisting and guiding younger players.
A tidbit about Len that isn’t widely known is that he used to play rugby for Bath United, both in the second and back row forward positions. He did this for a few games. Because of his talents as a goalkeeper, his line-out and high ball catching were exceptional, and he was a frightening sight when he was wearing a scrum cap. Ad Len Beel was a dedicated employee of the Lansdown Cricket Club for many years. A man with a large personality and Lansdown’s best interests at heart, he was always looking out for the town. He is without a doubt in the pantheon of the best ‘Lansdown men’ who have ever lived. Our condolences and thoughts are with Margaret, Mike, and the rest of Len’s family, as well as all of those who remember him. The specifics of the funeral will be communicated at the appropriate time.