Obituaries index: F-J

A-E - F-J - K-O - P-S - T-Z

Ferguson, Major Ronald Ivor, who died on March 16, 2003, aged 72, set up a thriving indoor cricket centre in a disused barn at Dummer in Hampshire, where he farmed after retiring from the Life Guards. The Dummer Centre, founded in 1995, rapidly became one of the most successful in the country. Ron Ferguson was better known as a polo player and administrator, and as the father of Sarah, former wife of Prince Andrew. Like his daughter, he acquired notoriety in the tabloid newspapers for his sexual indiscretions.

Frank, Jack, died on June 5, 2003, aged 97 years 198 days, having been South Africa's oldest-known surviving first-class cricketer. He was a batsman who played six games for Griqualand West in the late 1920s.

Gaekwad, Hiralal Ghasulal, who died on January 2, 2003, aged 79, played only one official Test for India, against Pakistan at Lucknow in 1952-53. However, he was an important member of the great Holkar side that contested ten Ranji Trophy finals between 1945 and 1955, winning four. He bowled either left-arm medium-pace swing or orthodox spin, with exceptional accuracy and economy on the jute-matting pitches of the day. In a career of 101 games, spread over 22 years, he conceded little more than two runs an over, and in his Test he took nought for 47 in 37. Even more impressively, he had figures of 71-19-134-3 when Vijay Hazare and Gul Mahomed put on 577, the highest partnership of all time, for Baroda in the 1946-47 Ranji final. Match figures of nine for 109 against Bombay helped Holkar regain the title a year later.

Getty, Sir John Paul KBE, who died on April 17, 2003, aged 70, described himself in Who's Who as simply a "philanthropist". Paul Getty inherited a fortune from the family oil business but, unlike his tycoon father, had little interest in adding to it. Instead, he settled in Britain and gave away huge chunks of his money to a vast array of beneficiaries, most of them institutions representing what he saw as the country's threatened heritage, including cathedrals, art galleries, the British Film Institute's archive and the Conservative Party. Cricket was close to the top of the list.

Born at sea off Italy and originally called Eugene Paul, he came to the game by an unbelievably circuitous route after an unhappy American childhood, a tumultuous youth and reclusive middle years. For nine years he worked for the Italian subsidiary of Getty Oil before being seduced by the distractions of the 1960s, divorcing his first wife, Gail, and marrying a Dutch beauty, Talitha, who died of a heroin overdose in Italy in 1971. He moved to London and lived as a recluse in Chelsea, subject to depression and his own drug dependence, a period that included the terrible kidnap of his eldest son Paul. During this period Mick Jagger, a friend since the 1960s, visited him, insisted on switching the TV over to the cricket and explained what was going on. Getty got the bug. Gubby Allen, Ă©minence grise of MCC and at one time a fellow patient at the London Clinic, described by Getty as being "like a father", encouraged him into the cricketing community. Men like Brian Johnston and Denis Compton became friends, and he took delight in the game's history, traditions and etiquette, which were at one with the concept of Englishness that he embraced.

So he sprinkled cricket with some of the stardust that his wealth made possible. He gave an estimated £1.6 million to build the Mound Stand at Lord's, but this was the tip of an iceberg of donations: to every county, to countless clubs, to individuals fallen on hard times and to organisations like the Arundel Cricket Foundation, which received £750,000 from him to help disadvantaged youngsters play cricket. Even his pleasures were inclusive ones. At Wormsley, his estate nestling in the Chilterns, he created his own private cricketing Eden project: a square like a billiard table with a thatched pavilion. Getty built his field of dreams, and they really did come: the Queen Mother and the Prime Minister, John Major, attended Wormsley's inaugural match in 1992; touring teams made it a regular stopover; and cricketers ranging from the great to the gormless delighted in playing there or simply sharing the idyll. There was a touch of Scott Fitzgerald's West Egg about the place, but that was not inappropriate for a ground where the most coveted sidetrip was to the library to see the host's rare first editions. The Getty box at Lord's also became a London salon where celebrities, cricketing and otherwise, rubbed shoulders.

His ownership of Wisden, sealed in 1993, brought together the two great passions: cricket and books. In 1994 Getty sealed his own personal happiness by marrying Victoria, who had nursed him through the bad years, and four years later tied the knot with the country he had come to love, becoming a British citizen, which allowed him to use the knighthood that had been bestowed on him for his charitable services 12 years earlier. His presidency of Surrey, in 1996, was another honour he cherished. Those who knew him valued him as a generous spirit, a quality that has nothing to do with money. And cricket repaid him a little by giving him a sense of his own self-worth as a man, not just as a benefactor.

Ghazaki, Wing Commander Mohammad Ebrahim Zainuddin, died on April 26, 2003, aged 78. Ebbu Ghazali was a tall, stroke-playing middle-order batsman and off-spinner who played in two Tests on Pakistan's first tour of England in 1954. He made his debut for Maharashtra in 1943, and soon established himself as one of Pakistan's leading players after Partition. He did not play in their inaugural Test series, against India in 1952-53, but a career-best 160 for Combined Services against Karachi a year later won him a place on the tour. He performed steadily round the counties but failed in the Tests, suffering a pair inside two hours on a spiteful pitch at Old Trafford. As manager of the Pakistan side to Australia and New Zealand in 1972-73, he ordered Saeed Ahmed and Mohammad Ilyas home because of "lack of fitness".

Goodwin, Keith, who died on August 19, 2003, aged 65, had his county career blighted by the relaxation of the rules governing imported players in the late 1960s. Goodwin, spotted keeping wicket for Oldham, made his Lancashire debut in 1960 but spent most of the next five years as deputy to Geoff Clayton. After Clayton was dismissed in 1964 for disciplinary reasons, Goodwin finally become No. 1 and was capped. Though a thoroughly competent keeper, he was an indifferent bat, and in 1968 Lancashire seized the chance to sign Farokh Engineer, the Indian Test player who was his superior in both departments. Goodwin returned to the Second XI, and, having declined offers from four other counties, was rewarded for his loyalty with a benefit in 1973. He later ran a post office in Hampshire.

Gooneratne, Gerry, who died on September 24, 2003, aged 84, was revered as one of Sri Lanka's foremost coaches, establishing his reputation over 35 years at Nalanda College. He was appointed national coach in 1976 and also served as a Sri Lankan selector, sometimes as chairman. He was a stylish left-hand bat who hit 96 as a 21-year-old for All-Ceylon against India at Bombay in 1940-41 and captained Saracens for many years. While a schoolboy at St Joseph's, he is said to have shot a man-eating crocodile.

Gopalan, Morappakam Joysam, his first name being his place of birth, died on December 21, 2003, aged 94 years and 198 days. M. J. Gopalan had been regarded as the oldest surviving Test cricketer since Lindsay Weir's death in October, although Gopalan and his family believed he was three years older than records show. "I don't know how the school where I studied listed my year of birth as 1909, but that stuck," M. J. told Cricinfo on his birthday in 2001. "I can confirm that I am 95 today." His Test career comprised just one match against England at Calcutta in 1933-34. And by touring England in 1936 he missed out on a hockey gold medal at the Berlin Olympics that summer, for he was already established as India's centre-half. But he was little more than a bystander on the tour and then returned home on the same ship as the victorious Olympians. Gopalan had 25 years of first-class cricket during which he captained Madras and South India. In taking ten wickets on debut, opening the Indians' bowling against the Europeans in 1926-27, he so impressed the former Kent and Cambridge batsman, C. P. Johnstone, that he found M. J. a job with Burmah Shell that allowed him to concentrate on cricket. In November 1934 Gopalan bowled the first ball in the inaugural Ranji Trophy match. Chepauk veterans would fondly recall him batting in a dark brown Homburg, or pausing at his bowling mark to knot his hair. He presented the Gopalan Trophy in 1952 for games between Madras and Ceylon, served as an Indian selector and was chairman of the Madras Cricket Association. With Gopalan's death, New Zealand's Don Cleverley became the oldest living Test cricketer, until his own death in February 2004, when the mantle passed to his compatriot Eric Tindill.

Gray, David Anthony Athelstan DFC, died on November 9, 2003, aged 81. Gray was a slow left-armer who captained Winchester in 1941. After war service in Bomber Command, he appeared twice for Cambridge and once for Essex.

Guha, Subrata, who died from a heart attack on November 5, 2003, aged 57, was a seam bowler who made headlines in December 1966 while a 20-yearold student at Calcutta University. He captured 11 West Indian wickets for 113 on an Indore green top when Central and East Zones inflicted the only defeat of their tour. But Guha took only two wickets in the four Tests he played: at Headingley in 1967 and three times at home against Australia in 1969-70, where he was often just removing the shine for the spinners. In between, he missed several opportunities through knee trouble. But he represented Bengal for over a decade and took seven for 18 against Assam at Gauhati in 1972-73.

Harvey, John Frank, died on August 20, 2003, aged 63, having been suffering from a brain tumour. Harvey was a steady middle-order performer in the sometimes fragile Derbyshire batting order of the 1960s. He joined the club from the Lord's groundstaff, and a century at Folkestone in his second Championship match suggested the county had found an opening batsman to replace Charlie Lee. Over the next three seasons Wisden downgraded him from "promising" to "inconsistent" to "could not command a regular place", but he eventually emerged as the regular No. 6, notable for his play through the covers, for his fielding there and his generally unselfish approach: a bonus point would always take precedence over his personal interest. Harvey's finest innings probably came at Chesterfield when he scored 92 as Derbyshire went down by only eight runs to the 1968 Australians. He was released in a shake-up in 1972, went on to play for Cambridgeshire and Berkshire (who he captained from 1982 to 1986) and to spend more than a quarter of a century as coach and groundsman at Bradfield College, where generations of boys adored the way he prepared both his pitches and his charges. "He allowed young cricketers to have their say," recalled Mark Nicholas, Bradfield's 1976 captain. "There was nothing schoolmasterly about it."

Hatton, Leslie Walter, died on February 28, 2003, aged 68. Les Hatton was Worcestershire's historian and statistician, and achieved a national reputation for his mastery of some of the more arcane statistical areas, notably the Sunday League and the Second XI Championship. He edited the ACS Second Eleven Annual, and contributed to Wisden. He was a cheerful soul, and formerly played the clarinet, flute and saxophone in the Royal Artillery Band and Midlands dance bands.

Haughton, William Edward, died on February 11, 2003, aged 79. Bill Haughton represented Ireland at both hockey and cricket, but bagged a pair in his only first-class match, against Glamorgan at Port Talbot in 1953.

Hawkins, Laurence Cyril, died in October 2003, aged 96. A prolific runmaker for Weston in club cricket, Laurie Hawkins played 46 times for Somerset as an amateur between 1928 and 1937. His best season was 1934, when he played 12 Championship games and his 96 at Lord's tided Somerset through a critical period to avoid defeat. His main contribution to cricket history was by not playing: he was injured for the game against Essex at Frome in 1935, which led to the call-up of 20-year-old Harold Gimblett and the most famous of all debut innings.

Hoare, Wilfred Norman Stewart , who died on August 28, 2003, aged 93, kept wicket for Cambridge for one match in 1931 after a good performance in Etceteras v Perambulators. From 1951 to 1970 Wilf Hoare was headmaster of Strathallan School where, the school history records, "His enthusiasm for the art of batting held an absolute priority... With an awe-inspiring bellow he would leave his audience open-mouthed as he stepped through the French window [of his study] on to the lawn and, wrestling the bat from the grasp of a boy, he would demonstrate the supreme importance of keeping up the left elbow."

Horner, Norman Frederick, died on December 24, 2003, aged 77. Joining Warwickshire in their 1951 Championship season, after two games for his native Yorkshire in 1950, began a happy exile for Norman Horner. By 1953 he was established as Fred Gardner's opening partner and Wisden was praising his "readiness to punish the loose ball, no matter what time in the innings he received it". From then until 1964, his last full season, he never missed his thousand runs. The only time he batted down the order for any duration was when MCC asked Warwickshire to try M. J. K. Smith as an opener in 1958. Horner was a neat and nimble Little to Gardner's Large; Smith reckoned: "Norman would have run Fred's legs off him if he had been allowed." When Warwickshire adopted a quick-scoring policy in 1959, Horner was in his element and enjoyed his best three seasons. On an Oval belter in 1960 he scored a career-best 203 not out while putting on 377 with Billy Ibadulla on the first day, at the time the highest unbroken opening partnership anywhere in the world. Smith also bracketed him "with the very top cover fielders, particularly in saving the quick single." He retired in 1965 to concentrate on landscape gardening and work as a groundsman.

Ivey, Alfred Michael, died on August 10, 2001, aged 76. Michael Ivey was a grammar school boy from Leeds who played seven first-class matches for Oxford between 1949 and 1951 without being able to command a regular batting place.

Jeffreys, Brigadier Peter John, DSO (and bar), OBE, died on April 3, 2003, aged 93. Peter Jeffreys, decorated for his role on active service in Burma and Korea, was captain of cricket at Radley and also skippered Gold Coast in a fourday "Test" against Nigeria in 1947, scoring 51 in the second innings.

Jones, Gavin William, who died on July 17, 2002, aged 47, was a mediumpace all-rounder whose hard hitting enlivened the later batting. He helped Northern Transvaal win the inaugural Castle Bowl competition in his debut season, 1977- 78, and retain it a year later. Jones later coached and managed Easterns and, at the time of his death, was Eastern Union's 2003 World Cup co-ordinator.

© John Wisden & Co