Nicknamed the “Demon of Frome” by cricket writer Alan Gibson, Colin ‘Herbert’ Dredge was an integral part of the Somerset side that lifted five one-day trophies in as many seasons.
‘Herbie’ as he is affectionately known to his friends, came from a family that had, and still has, a long association with Frome Cricket Club.
He was an all round sportsman and had made his mark playing cricket for his local club as a bowler and agricultural batsman as well as playing centre forward for Frome Town FC. In fact in his younger years he had a trial with Bristol City and played for their reserve side. He also served an engineering apprenticeship before deciding to opt for cricket.
The youngster from the north east of the county was well established in local cricketing circles and along with his brothers led the Frome CC attack in the early days of the Somerset Cricket League.
His success with the ball was noticed by the powers that be at the County Ground and in 1975 he was invited to play in a handful of games for the Second XI in the Minor Counties Championship competition.
The following season, at the age of 21, Colin made his first team debut in the County Championship match against Worcestershire at the Rec in Bath and in his opening spell claimed the wicket of New Zealand Test batsman Glenn Turner. Later in the same innings he also accounted for England Test player Norman Gifford.
In the second innings he bowled Imran Khan- after which the Demon of Frome was here to stay.
His action was far from text book, but it was mightily effective and he had a big heart to match the six feet five inches tall that he stood. Whatever he was asked to do, the Somerset thoroughbred was happy to undertake and never once did he give anything less than 100%.
It was his wholeheartedness that appealed to the Somerset faithful. Colin Dredge was not one of the big timers in the team, he was just a local lad who was proud through and through to play for his county. Whatever the format he would wheel away, often into the wind and up the hill and try his hardest to ensure that Somerset won the match.
Between 1976 and 1988 he played for Somerset in 194 First Class matches in which he scored 2182 runs at an average of 13.98, with a best of 56 not out against Yorkshire at Harrogate. With the ball to captured 443 First Class wickets at a cost of 30.10 each and a best of six for 37 against Gloucestershire at Bristol in 1981.
In one-day cricket Colin played in 209 matches for Somerset in which he took 253 wickets at an average of 25.42. His one Gillette Cup Man of the Match Award came in 1978 against Kent at Canterbury where he took a career best four for 23.
After he retired at a relatively young age following a shoulder injury he returned to engineering and at weekends he continued to play club cricket once again for Frome CC.