Obituaries index: P-S

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

Phillips, John Gordon Picton, died on February 24, 2003, aged 66. Gordon Phillips was a newspaper archivist and librarian, and a cricket-lover who joined Marcus Williams in compiling The Wisden Book of Cricket Memorabilia (1990). He was Wisden's cricketana correspondent from 1999 until his death. He emigrated from his native Rhodesia in 1965 and was archivist of The Times from 1970 to 1982.

Pocock, Howard John, died on August 10, 2003, aged 82. John Pocock played seven games for Kent as a batsman in the late 1940s. He was later a Maidstone businessman and a long-serving committee man who was Kent chairman from 1978 to 1985 and president in 1988.

Price, Eric James, died on July 13, 2002, aged 83. Eric Price was a leftarm spinner who in a short career in the late 1940s experienced some remarkable peaks and troughs. Price made a spectacular start with Lancashire after the war, with match figures of seven for 25 in his third match against Worcestershire, including George Dews (see above, page 1538) for a king pair. By the end of June Price had 40 wickets at 13.27 to earn a Test trial at Canterbury. Spinning and flighting the ball more than his Lancashire partner Bill Roberts, though less accurate, he finished the season with 87 wickets and was capped. There were fewer opportunities in 1947, though, and Essex enticed him south on a special registration. His first home game for them was a bowler's nightmare: he was the man treated most brutally (20-0-156-0) when Bradman's Australians ran up 721 in a day. Price had a better time in 1949, but, as Doug Insole recalled, "Essex wickets in those days were grassy and not really suited to a very slow left-armer like Eric." So he returned home to Middleton, took a job with the local authority, and played for the local club in the Central Lancashire League. In his four seasons of county cricket he had taken 215 wickets at 26.60. Never more than a tailender, Price had few strokes but a serene knack for survival that was occasionally endangered by his running between the wickets, a stagger described by the Manchester Guardian's T. C. F. Prittie as "a nervous febrile animation".

Prins, Vernon George, who died on July 31, 2003, aged 79, captained Ceylon from 1956-57 to 1959-60. He was a seam-bowling all-rounder who led Nondescripts to the Saravanamuttu Trophy four times in the 1950s, and he was the club's patron when he died. Prins was a police inspector and also played hockey for Ceylon.

Procter, Woodrow Collacott, who died on July 26, 2003, aged 81, was the father of South African all-rounder Mike Procter. As a 17-year-old schoolboy leg-spinner, he played for Eastern Province against Wally Hammond's 1938-39 MCC side, but his bowling was hammered: two for 114 in 13 overs. His only other first-class game was a friendly against Border the following season. Sons Anton and Mike played together for Natal in 1966-67.

Ramchand, Gulabrai Sipahimalani, died on September 8, 2003, aged 76. "Ram" Ramchand captained India to their first Test win over Australia, at Kanpur in December 1959. Off-spinner Jasu Patel took 14 for 124 on a newly laid pitch and Ramchand "led us brilliantly to victory", Chandu Borde recalled, "always giving us the self-belief that we could beat them." Australia's captain, Richie Benaud, went to the Indian dressing-room afterwards and presented his counterpart with his Australian blazer. Born in Karachi, Ramchand played his first Ranji Trophy cricket for Sind and moved south to Bombay after Partition, helping them win six Ranji finals between 1948-49 and 1962-63. He hit hundreds in all but the first, when he made two unbeaten half-centuries: few contemporary Indians struck the ball harder. Add to that his robust fast-medium in-swing bowling and efficient fielding and it is easy to appreciate why English league clubs targeted him in the 1950s. He proved himself a useful utility player around the counties on India's 1952 tour but was less successful in the four Tests, spun out for a pair on debut and capturing only four wickets in the series. Given the new ball at Headingley and Lord's, he "looked every inch a fast bowler until he actually bowled," as Sujit Mukherjee put it. He probably lacked sufficient variety for Test cricket and only once managed a five-wicket return in his 33 Tests, getting six for 49 at his native Karachi in 1954-55. His middle-order batting, on the other hand, established him in the Test side and he made a sparkling 106 not out against New Zealand in 1955-56 and a watchful 109 against Australia at Bombay a year later. Hemu Adhikari was chosen ahead of him as India's fourth captain in the confused 1958-59 series against West Indies, and Ramchand was overlooked for the 1959 tour of England. Following that disaster, he was made captain against Australia and retired from Tests after the series, returning to winning Ranji Trophies for Bombay. In 1975, by now an executive at Air India, he was India's manager at the first World Cup.

Reynolds, Alfred George, died on January 7, 2003, aged 95. Devonborn George Reynolds made his first-class debut for Orange Free State at 17 while still a schoolboy. Two seasons later, in 1926-27, he was opening their bowling and heading the averages when they were Currie Cup runners-up to Transvaal. His six for 27 in 12 overs at Newlands helped bowl out Western Province for a lowest-ever 44 after they had made the Free State follow on. The last of his ten games was against MCC in 1930-31. Reynolds also played provincial-level tennis and his daughter, Sandra, was runner-up to Maria Bueno at Wimbledon in 1960.

Richardson, Reginald Maxwell, died on July 2, 2003, aged 80. Reg Richardson was one of five brothers who played first-class cricket for Tasmania, as did their father and uncle. Another four brothers also played first-grade. He later served as treasurer of the Tasmanian Cricket Association, and was chairman in 1986 when the committee was overthrown by a reformers' coup.

Ring, Douglas Thomas, died on June 23, 2003, aged 84. Doug Ring was one of the spear-carriers for the 1948 Australian Invincibles, cheerfully describing himself as one of the "groundstaff bowlers" as he wheeled round the counties without getting near the Test team until the morning of the final Test, when Bradman asked Ring to sit alongside him in the taxi and told him he was playing. Ring was a wrist-spinner in an era when Australia had plenty of choice - Colin McCool, Bruce Dooland and fellow-Victorian George Tribe were all capped against England in 1946-47, and it was February 1948, the last Test against India, before Ring got a look-in. Match figures of six for 120 won him selection for England, and the captain's admiration, which he retained. Bradman said Ring bowled consistently well in England, and would have played far more but for the rule then in force permitting the new ball after only 55 overs. He won a regular place at home against West Indies and South Africa in 1951-52 and 1952-53, taking six for 72 against South Africa at Brisbane. He was also instrumental in one of the most thrilling of all Test wins. When last man Bill Johnston, his club-mate at Richmond, joined him at the MCG crease on the last day of the New Year Test in 1952, the Australians were 38 short of victory and the West Indians were one wicket away from squaring the series 2-2. Ring thumped 14 from one Valentine over, took 11 off another by Ramadhin and clinched the series. This was achieved with a borrowed bat - Ring never took himself or his batting seriously enough to acquire one - and accompanied by roars of "C'mon the Tigers", the nickname for Richmond. He played again in the Lord's Test of 1953, when Willie Watson and Trevor Bailey famously held out for a draw. Had Ray Lindwall caught Watson at short leg off Ring, Australia would probably have kept the Ashes. On that tour, he passed on the secret of his sliding top-spinner to the young Richie Benaud. Afterwards, he concentrated on captaining Richmond, working as a civil servant in a department run by Sir Robert Menzies's brother, Les, who in keeping with family tradition considered Ring's frequent absences to commentate on cricket for radio and TV entirely reasonable. He kept his cheerful, legspinner's disposition: "I never got mad about the game, because it was a game'' he once said. Though the joke has persisted down the decades, there is no record that the famous scatological scorecard entry, Crapp c Hole b Ring, ever occurred.

Rogers, Neville Hamilton, who died on October 7, 2003, aged 85, was a fixed point at the top of the Hampshire order for almost a decade after the war. He scored 1,000 runs nine times and in 1952 became the first post-war Hampshire batsman to reach 2,000. Rogers came from a cricketing family in Oxfordshire - his grandfather Charles appears in Wisden as the bowler in "Record Hit". He had a trial at Southampton before the war, rapidly established himself afterwards and several times came close to Test selection: he was twelfth man for both sides at the 1950 Test trial and for England at The Oval in 1951. He also played in the 1953 Test trial, only to damage his thumb next match, miss Hampshire's game against the Australians and suffer a dip in form at the wrong moment. Hampshire "never had a more technically and temperamentally complete and reliable opening batsman," wrote John Arlott. "He was at his best when his side was in trouble." This was illustrated in 1954 when Rogers carried his bat four times in the season, close to the record of five by C. J. B. Wood of Leicestershire in 1911 and matched only by R. G. Barlow of Lancashire in 1882. The following year Rogers announced he would retire to go into business, but there was one last challenge. Deputising as captain after Desmond Eagar was injured in early August, he led Hampshire to three wins, two draws and third place in the Championship, higher than ever before.

Sarwate, Chandrasekhar Trimbak, died on December 23, 2003, aged 83. A diminutive spin-bowling all-rounder in the legendary Holkar team that contested ten Ranji Trophy finals in 11 seasons, Chandu Sarwate played nine Tests for India between 1946 and 1951-52. He is perhaps best remembered for his lastwicket partnership of 249 with Shute Banerjee against Surrey in 1946. As Banerjee walked out to join Sarwate, Oval groundsman Bert Lock went with him to ask the Surrey captain what roller he wanted between innings. Three hours ten minutes later both batsmen had hundreds, the only time the No. 10 and No. 11 have achieved this in the same innings. When Surrey followed on, Sarwate spun the Indians to victory with his mixture of off- and leg-breaks, finishing with five for 54. A week later he took a hat-trick against Scotland, but he was seen at his best only occasionally after that. Wisden said he "seemed to lack confidence". He had a horrid series as opener on the tour of Australia in 1947-48 and was disappointing again in England in 1952. Sarwate was simply more at home in domestic cricket, indulging his hard, straight hitting or bowling his varied spinners - the off-break reputedly turned more than the legger - with a jerky, but legitimate, action. Shortly before going to England in 1946 he hit 101 when opening Holkar's innings against Mysore - one of six centuries in their 912 for eight declared - and followed up with a career-best nine for 91 in Mysore's first innings. Sarwate's small stature and boyish smile led to him being called the Peter Pan of Indian cricket. His cricketing longevity made it even more appropriate. Having made his debut at 16 in 1936-37, he continued playing Ranji Trophy cricket until he was 48. He was a handwriting and fingerprint expert by profession, and in 1946 tricked fellowtourist Gul Mahomed with a letter, purportedly from a female admirer, suggesting a romantic assignation. A national selector at the time India won the World Cup in 1983, he also served as secretary of Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association.

Scholes, Walter John, died from a heart attack on July 14, 2003, aged 53. Short, bandy-legged and unambiguously known as "Barrel", John Scholes was an influential figure in Victoria's cricket as player, selector and coach. He first played for the state at 19 when his footwork was compared to that of Neil Harvey, and became the state's youngest captain at 22, when he deputised in 1972-73 in the absence of Keith Stackpole and Paul Sheahan. Scholes marked the occasion with a century against New South Wales and went close to national recognition. Yet in other years he was in and out of the side, and for three seasons from 1976 could not get a game. When he did captain Victoria again, in 1981-82, they won only the wooden spoon and Scholes retired, but he went on to set records in local cricket and came back in 1996 as state coach. He soon instilled in his squad something of his own passion and a professional approach nurtured by his experience of Australian Rules football.

Shujauddin Siddiqi, who died on July 21, 2003, aged 84, umpired in 22 Tests in Pakistan over a span of nearly a quarter of a century, starting in 1954- 55. Some of those Tests required more than normal umpiring skills: on MCC's riot-racked tour in 1968-69, he stood in all three Tests, including the Karachi game when protesters stormed the gates.

Smith, David Robert, died on December 17, 2003, aged 69. For a decade Smith and Tony Brown carried the Gloucestershire seam attack, and in his 1968 benefit match Smith became the first fast bowler to take 1,000 wickets for the county. He was closer to medium-pace than fast, but had a classical action. "`Smudger' was much quicker than he looked," Brown said. "He held the ball seam-up, bowled an accurate off-stump line and hit the seam regularly. He didn't really swing it but batsmen were surprised by his movement and lift." Smith was also willing: in 1960, he bowled almost 1,300 overs and took 143 wickets. That winter he toured New Zealand with MCC, playing in 18 of their 21 games, and another 124 wickets in 1961 brought selection for the tour of India and Pakistan. He played in all five Tests in India, in conditions unsympathetic to his style. Later, he became more injury-prone but he had match figures of 11 for 92 against the West Indians a year later. And with Mike Procter spearheading the attack, Smith was still there to take 74 wickets in 1969 and help Gloucestershire finish second in the Championship. He retired in 1971 to help his wife run a fancy goods shop in Bristol. One of four League footballers at Gloucestershire in his early days (along with Arthur Milton, Barrie Meyer and Ron Nicholls), he played on the left wing for Bristol City and Millwall.

Smith, Neil, died of cancer on March 3, 2003, aged 53. Smith served a fouryear apprenticeship as Yorkshire's Second Eleven wicket-keeper and seemed the natural successor to the long-serving Jimmy Binks in 1970 but, after a shaky start, was usurped in mid-season by 18-year-old David Bairstow, who took his A-Levels at 7 a.m. so he could play. Bairstow established himself, and Smith moved to Essex to succeed Brian Taylor in 1973 and spent the next eight years as a stalwart of that famously perky dressing-room. Technically, many thought him a better gloveman than Bairstow, but he was on the large side, and irritated Graham Gooch by eating a lot and getting larger. This helped his often beefy batting, which had minimal backlift but considerable power: Essex occasionally used him as a pinchhitter long before the term was ever used. In 1981, he lost form and was again ousted in mid-season, this time by David East. Smith captained the second team for a season then went back north to go into business.

Solanky, John William, died of a heart attack on October 7, 2003, aged 61. Solanky was an all-rounder from Tanganyika who came to wider notice with a half-century and four wickets opening the bowling for East Africa against MCC in Kampala in 1963. Political change encouraged him to move to England, and several counties noticed his wristy run-making and nagging medium-pace bowling when he played for Devon. Solanky joined Glamorgan in 1971, and was capped in 1973 although Glamorgan had to cope with a TCCB ruling that deemed him an overseas player until the end of 1974, the legacy of his two first-class games in East Africa. Solanky gave Glamorgan added value by mixing his seamers with off-breaks, and against Derbyshire at Cardiff in 1975 returned career-best figures of six for 63 on a turning pitch. But he failed to make a first-class century and left after a shake-up when Glamorgan finished bottom in 1976. He later coached and taught technology in Northern Ireland.

Stephenson, Lieutenant-Colonel John Robin CBE, died on June 2, 2003, aged 72. He had been afflicted by a rare virus that attacked his spine. Known to staff, club members and public alike as "The Colonel", John Stephenson was secretary of MCC from 1987 to 1993, a position he once described as "tougher than commanding a battalion". Since he commanded a battalion in Northern Ireland at the height at the troubles, he spoke with some authority. After retiring from the army, Stephenson had gone to Lord's in 1979 as assistant secretary (cricket). He was in the Christ's Hospital XI in 1948 with both his predecessor as secretary, Jack Bailey, and a future MCC president in Dennis Silk; he was the only one of them not to play first-class cricket and the first MCC secretary not to do so in more than a century. He stepped into the job when he was already 56, just four years off the club's retirement age, after Bailey resigned in an acrimonious cross- Lord's dispute with the then Test and County Cricket Board about MCC's rights. Immediately after Stephenson took office, the members rebelled and rejected the club's annual report; and then Colin Cowdrey, a high-profile president in MCC's bicentenary year, underwent heart surgery. But "The Colonel" - then still also ex officio secretary of the ICC - took everything in his stride, bringing an air of calm to Lord's with the gifts of a natural conciliator. Though a mild figure of fun to the public, who most often saw him on wet days striding grandly across the Lord's outfield directing operations, he was a charming and unstuffy man, beloved by his staff. His most crusty-colonel remarks about modern cricketers ("I can't think why they want to kiss and hug and behave like association footballers, but they do") were made with a knowing air. But he was not a natural moderniser and, after his retirement, went on record against the admission of women into the club. MCC asked him to stay on for two more years after he reached 60, though he still felt underused in retirement. A congregation of 1,000 paid tribute to him in Salisbury Cathedral.

Studd, SIR Peter Maldon GBE, KCVO, DL, who died on June 22, 2003, aged 86 was a handy batsman and the fourth member of his family to captain Cambridge University. Studd made a century for Harrow against Eton at Lord's in 1935 and slowly established himself in the Cambridge team in the years ahead. As secretary in 1938, Studd devised a number of measures to put the university's cricket on a less casual basis, but the following year still had to captain them through a second successive winless season. He became a senior executive at the printers De La Rue and in 1970 emulated one of his Cambridge great-uncles, Sir Kynaston Studd, by becoming Lord Mayor of London. As such, he officiated, in full regalia, at the reopening of London Bridge at Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

Symcox, Claude Warren, died in a road accident in South Africa on July 15, 2002, aged 38. Warren Symcox, a cousin of Test off-spinner Pat, was a mediumpace all-rounder who played 14 Castle Bowl games for Griqualand West after making his debut at 20 in 1984-85. He was an executive with the diamond company, De Beers.

© John Wisden & Co