Tributes to a Hampshire legend, Charles Knott

Vic Isaacs in Cape Town

February 27, 2003

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Tributes have been coming in, following the shock news of the death of Charles Knott, the former Hampshire cricketer and chairman, aged 88.

Former Hampshire captain Robin Smith was shocked to hear of the death of Charlie Knott when I spoke to him at his Cape Town hotel this evening.

Robin, who is hosting a touring party at the Cricket World Cup, was saddened by the passing of the man who invited him to join Hampshire way back in 1981.

"I remember feeling very nervous when my brother Chris and I went to his home in Highfield," said Robin. "He made us feel very much at home however, and put us both at ease.

"Charlie was a legend at Hampshire, and although very tough with us if we made mistakes, he was also a good friend to all the players."

Robin continued, "One of the sad tasks that he had to perform was telling a player, sometimes just a youngster, that the club were not offering a new contract. He did that with feeling, something he did not enjoy, but was necessary.

"I offer Iris, and his two daughters Gaye and Dawn my deepest sympathies."

County Director of Cricket Tim Tremlett remembers seeing the name of Charles Knott on the honours board at Taunton's College, marking the occasion when he took a hat-trick in the Gentlemen v Players fixture in 1950.

"Mr Knott was the cricket chairman when I joined the staff in the summer of 1975, and he offered a lot of advise to me, which I listened to as he was a tremendous bowler in his own right for Hampshire.

"And it was that record for the county that gained him a lot of respect, so much so that he was Cricket Chairman for 21 years and was influential in bringing Barry Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts and the Smith brothers to Hampshire."

He reminises also about a game of snooker he played against Charles and professional standard partner Jim Bailey with Kevan James at the Old Yacht Club across the road from the Northlands Road ground.

"They took us to the cleaners. We got absolutely hammered!"

He has nearly 50 years of friendship and association with another legendary Hampshire spin bowler as well. Peter Sainsbury looks back with great happiness at the time he spent with him.

"We go back to when I started on the ground - that is how long ago it was," he said. "He was still playing when I joined the staff, although I never actually played with him.

"But he was chairman of cricket when I played and when I coached and he was a very fair man. In fact, we were good pals - you cannot say that too often about Chairmans of Cricket and coaches these days!

"It is terribly sad to lose Mr Knott, who was a fine amateur bowler in his day and a lovely man. He will be greatly missed."

He had a smile on his face though when going back to the early part of the 1952 season when the team and staff had their picture taken. "It was the first ever picture I had taken with the team, but I had to borrow his sweater as I did not have one.

"We didn't get sweaters until we were well established then."

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