Tributes pour in after death of Worthing sporting legend

Vince Taylor, arguably one of Worthing’s greatest all-round sportsmen, has passed away at the age of 94.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 8:00 am
Vince Taylor with friends at Broadwater Cricket Club
Vince Taylor with friends at Broadwater Cricket Club

Born in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales in 1926, Vince moved to Worthing as a young boy and grew up in Cortis Avenue.

A true all-rounder he excelled in boxing, football, cricket and later bowls. As a member of Worthing Boys’ Club he found success in the ring, winning the Boys’ Club welterweight Championship at 17 in 1943.

In football, a prolific left winger, he scored 30 goals for Worthing in 1943-44 before signing for Arsenal on his 18th birthday in November 1944, playing against Chelsea, West Ham and Tottenham in his first season.

Vince in his Worthing FC days

Unfortunately, in the first game of the post-war season Vince sustained a serious pelvic injury which prevented him playing regularly for three seasons.

In the hope of completely rehabilitating him after his injury, the Gunners sent him out on loan to Redhill, but unfortunately, he was forced to retire from professional football.

He returned to Woodside Road, gaining County and Corinthian League honours with the Rebels as well as three Sussex Senior Cup wins.

Sadly in 1954 at the age of 27, Vince sustained a compound fracture of his right leg, which finished his football career. Down but by no means out, his love of cricket then came to the fore,and he was a stalwart for Broadwater Cricket Club.

Vince played for a number of local bowls clubs

He was a hard-hitting batsman but his real forte was behind the stumps where he was considered one of the finest wicketkeepers outside county cricket.

Even when further injury curtailed that part of his sporting life, his love of cricket never faltered and became an umpire.

Then to top it all off in 1977 he joined Tarring Priory Bowls Club where he won county honours both indoors and outdoors. He also played at Lancing Bowls Club and Worthing Indoor Bowls Club.

A number of local sporting figures have been quick to pay tribute to Vince.

Quite a collection of trophies...

Worthing FC life president Morty Hollis said: “I first met Vince in 1943 when No 3 Commando, who were billeted at Broadwater, played Worthing in a friendly. He was lovely man, who played sport not only to the best of his ability but also with a smile on his face.”

Ray Humphries, president of Broadwater Cricket Club, said: “Very sad to hear of the passing of Vince, sporting legend that he was, a fine footballer, cricketer and a gentleman, he will be sadly missed by both our club and the wider sporting community.”

Married to his beloved wife Edith for over 57 years, Vince is survived by his daughters Christine and Lyndsey, but sadly predeceased by his oldest son, Gordon, who died in April 2020.

I first met Vince in 2004, a chance meeting starting what turned out to be a 17-year friendship. I could never tire of his endless sporting anecdotes; my only regret is that I didn’t get them down on tape as it would have been a superb record of a remarkable life.

Vince played in some winning teams in his time...

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that my life has been richer for having Vince Taylor in it, a true sporting legend, the like I’m not sure we will ever see again.