1999

Obituaries in 1998

ADAMS, GEOFFREY COKER ARDING, MBE, who died on February 10, 1998, aged 88 was a Cambridge rugby Blue but failed to make the cricket team. He did, however, play 18 matches for Hampshire in his vacations and captained them in one match against Essex in 1930. He had modest success as both middle-order batsman and change bowler. After the war, he emigrated to Australia and built up a newspaper group in rural Victoria.

ALMADI, VASANT R., who died on July 10, 1998, aged 79, was an all-rounder for Bombay from 1947-48 to 1952-53. He made a century against Sind on his Ranji Trophy debut.

ATKINSON, ERIC ST EVAL, who died after a long illness on May 29, 1998, aged 70, played eight Tests for West Indies in the late 1950s. He made his debut as a 30-year-old opening bowler at Bridgetown in 1957-58, alongside his older and better-known brother Denis, playing his last Test. The Atkinsons were the third pair of brothers to play together for West Indies, after the Grants and the Stollmeyers; there have been none since. In his second game, at Sabina Park a month later, Eric took five for 42, a performance that was somewhat overshadowed by Garry Sobers's 365 not out. A tearaway bowler in his youth, Atkinson was not very successful when he first played for Barbados: three wickets in his first nine matches. But he had settled down to bowl fast-medium swing by the time he got into the Test team; he was said to have used reverse swing long before anyone had a name for it. Atkinson was chosen to tour the subcontinent a year later and, in his last Test, helped set up victory at Lahore with figures of 12-8-15-3, as Pakistan were bowled out for 104.

BALL, GEORGE ARMSTRONG, who died on December 20, 1997, aged 83, was a club cricketer from Barwell. He stepped up to play 11 matches as a batsman for Leicestershire between 1933 and 1936, and made 44 not out against Glamorgan on debut.

BARNWELL, CHARLES JOHN PATRICK, died on September 4, 1998, aged 84. John Barnwell played 69 matches for Somerset as an amateur batsman either side of the war. He was correct, but rarely effective at county level, though he did once take four fours in an over off Bill Voce. He occasionally deputised as captain, and might have been considered for the post full-time, had he not run a demanding business breeding silver foxes. He was awarded his county cap in 1937, though apparently no one bothered to tell him.

BEARDMORE, CARLIN, who died on February 19, 1998, aged 86, was an accountant who scored for Derbyshire from 1970 to 1981. He was also the club's treasurer from 1977 to 1981.

BEESLEY, RAYMOND, who died on December 7, 1997, aged 81, was a left-arm seam bowler for Border. He took 82 wickets in a career lasting 15 years from 1938-39. Three of these came in a remarkable hat-trick, against Griqualand West at Queenstown in 1946-47, all caught by the same fielder, Cyril White at short leg. It was almost four in a row: White got his fingertips to the next ball. Beesley finished with four for 11 off 15 overs.

BERNARD, Dr JOHN RICHARD, died on February 23, 1998, aged 59. Dr Richard Bernard was a popular Bristol family doctor descended from another well-known Bristol medical family: E. M. Grace, W. G.'s brother, was his great-grandfather. Wisden 1956 called Bernard the most promising cricketer Clifton have had for some years, and he won a Cambridge Blue three years running as a hard-hitting middle-order batsman and medium-pace change bowler. He made his debut for Gloucestershire as a 17-year-old, though he played only 11 county matches in all: he was rather shocked by the intensity of county cricket. But he remained besotted by the game, and his surgery timetable would be thrown into chaos whenever another enthusiast was a patient.

BEVERIDGE, ROBERT, died in New Zealand on March 5, 1998, aged 88. Bob Beveridge was a slow left-arm bowler who played 41 times for the weak Middlesex team of the early 1930s. In his third match, at Leicester, he took six for 66, but after that achieved little. He went to coach in Cairo before emigrating to New Zealand, and was groundsman at Eden Park in the 1960s and 1970s.

BIRKETT, LIONEL SYDNEY, who died on January 16, 1998, aged 93, was vice-captain on West Indies' first tour of Australia, in 1930-31. He made 64, opening the batting at Adelaide on his debut, but his form deteriorated, and he did not play in the last Test when West Indies scored a surprise win. Birkett had attracted attention by making 253 for Trinidad against British Guiana a year earlier, and his batting - learned among the Barbadian elite at Harrison College - was always elegant. But his cricket had to be fitted in with his peripatetic work in the sugar business: his career comprised 26 first-class matches spread over 20 years, for Barbados, Trinidad and British Guiana as well as the West Indians. After the Australian tour, Birkett did not play again until 1937. He was the oldest living Test player before he died, a title taken over by Alf Gover of England.

BOON, RONALD WINSTON, who died in New Zealand on August 3, 1998, aged 89, was a batsman who played 11 matches for Glamorgan in 1931 and 1932 without obvious success. He was better-known for his rugby, winning 12 caps for Wales as a winger: in January 1933, he scored all the points - a try and a drop goal - in Wales's 7-3 win over England, their first-ever victory at Twickenham. There were three other Glamorgan cricketers in the team: Vivian Jenkins, Maurice Turnbull and Wilf Wooller, who were all making their debuts.

BRAY, ELAINE JOY, who died on January 10, 1998, aged 57, was an all-rounder who played in the Australian team that lost the final of the first women's World Cup and won the second. She later became a well-known breeder of cairn terriers.

CAWSTON, EDWARD, died on September 5, 1998, aged 87. Ted Cawston was a gifted schoolboy all-rounder picked for Sussex in 1928 while still in his penultimate year at Lancing. Cawston played five more county matches over the next three seasons, and won his Cambridge Blue in 1932. He had an unspectacular match at Lord's but, playing for the university the previous week at Eastbourne, he had bowled out Leveson-Gower's XI, taking seven for 53 with his briskish medium-pace, and then scored 93, putting on 171 in 90 minutes with J. H. Human. After leaving Cambridge, he played mainly for Berkshire and Suffolk, and became headmaster of Orwell Park School.

CHRIST, CHARLES PERCIVAL, died on January 22, 1998, aged 86. Chilla Christ was a slow left-armer who was chosen to play for Queensland against Victoria in 1930-31 when they were short of players. Rain caused the complete abandonment of the fixture and he had to wait seven years for his debut. After that, he established himself as an effective bowler in a struggling team. He took 56 wickets in 24 first-class matches; Ginty Lush of New South Wales was both his first and last victim.

COLE, JOHN WAVELL, who died on March 4, 1998, aged 75, was a leading figure in Canadian cricket. Born in Surrey, he emigrated just after the war, began playing for Grace Church in Toronto, and rapidly became one of Ontario's senior cricket administrators. He was President of the Canadian Cricket Association from 1967 to 1978. Cole taught classics at the University of Toronto for 40 years.

COPINGER, GEOFFREY ARTHUR, who died on May 9, 1998, aged 87, owned the world's largest private collection of cricket books: about 12,000. They dominated every room of his house in Hampstead, neatly arranged by height in glass-fronted bookcases, double-parked to save space. Copinger even segregated books depending on how the title was positioned on their spine: upwards, downwards, or horizontal. In the dining room, as an aesthetic refinement for his wife's benefit, he arranged them by colour as well. He also had thousands of items of cricketana. E. W. Padwick, compiler of A Bibliography of Cricket, made 23 visits to Copinger's house for his first edition. The collection was sold to an anonymous buyer in a deal arranged just before his death. A figure of £250,000 was reported, but is understood to be exaggerated. Copinger was a fount of knowledge on cricket from his prep school days, and in his spare time while working as a banker he was chief statistician for Wisden from 1947 to 1963. For 35 years, between 1947 and 1982, he compiled the first-class averages used in almost all the national papers.

COSTORPHIN, COLIN JOHN, who died on September 4, 1998, after a long illness, aged 44, played three matches for Victoria as a seam bowler. Costorphin would have played in 1973-74 but his debut was delayed for three years by a back injury. He took four or five in an innings in each of his first-class matches, finishing with 14 wickets at 29.14.

DALLING, HARRY WILLIAM, who died on December 10, 1998, aged 77, was a member of the extraordinary Dalling dynasty inextricably associated with Trent Bridge. From 1949 to 1991, he served as Nottinghamshire's ground superintendent, a sort of general factotum responsible for everything beyond the boundary rope. He succeeded his father Frank, who had done the same job since 1920; meanwhile Harry's brother, another Frank, was head groundsman and responsible for everything inside the rope; Frank's son - yet another Frank - is still on the ground staff and was briefly head groundsman himself. Until 1955, Harry lived in a basement flat under the pavilion before the area was commandeered for toilets, and he moved a few streets away. Even in retirement, he did a variety of jobs for the county, including the public address announcements. He was featured as one of the Alternative Five in the 1995 Wisden.

DESAI, RAMAKANT BHIKAJI, died in a Mumbai hospital on April 27, 1998, aged 58, while awaiting heart surgery. Tiny Desai was only 5ft 4in tall but, from a supple run-up, generated sufficient pace to sustain the Indian attack in the 1960s, when it desperately needed sustenance, and usually got it only from spin bowlers. He was drafted into the side as a 19-year-old for the Delhi Test in 1958-59, and had to bowl 49 overs in West Indies' only innings, taking four for 169; he promptly took over the leadership of the attack for the 1959 tour of England. At Lord's he had England in deep trouble at 80 for six, and finished with five for 89 in the innings. Wisden praised his rare ability, endless courage, and his out-swinger, though the team was hopelessly overmatched, and he was over-bowled. That was often the way: he was on the winning side in only four of his 28 Tests. But he played a crucial role in blunting the threat of Hanif Mohammad in the 1960-61 series against Pakistan. Hanif had some trouble against Desai's deceptive bouncer, and was dismissed by him four times in nine innings: the Indians joked that he was Ramakant's bakra- the Hindi equivalent of rabbit. With the older ball, Desai was especially effective. His finest hour arguably came in that series, at the Brabourne Stadium in the opening Test, when he scored 85, batting No. 10; his ninth-wicket stand of 149 with P. G. Joshi remains an Indian Test record. He also scored a crucial 32 not out at Dunedin in 1967-68, continuing to bat after his jaw was broken. India won, but he never played Test cricket again. In 53 Ranji matches for Bombay, he took 239 wickets at 15.61, and he retired completely in 1969, aged only 30. Desai returned to the front line in 1996 when he was appointed chairman of selectors, and he was responsible for the appointment - and the dismissal - of Sachin Tendulkar as captain. It was not a happy term of office, and his natural sense of loyalty and reticence, combined with increasing ill-health, made it difficult for him both in committee and in his dealings with the media. He resigned the month before he died.

DULDIG, LANCE DESMOND, who died on September 14, 1998, aged 76, was an attractive batsman for South Australia in the 1940s and early 1950s, and toured New Zealand with the Australian B team in 1949-50. He had made his debut on his 19th birthday, in the state's last match before the war intervened. His unbeaten 70 against MCC in 1950-51 was described in one British paper as far from a dull dig.

DUNCAN, Colonel ANTHONY ARTHUR, OBE, died on January 3, 1998, aged 83. Tony Duncan was a successful schoolboy bat at Rugby, and scored 58 and 94 against Marlborough at Lord's in 1933. He played twice without distinction for Glamorgan the following year, and once for Oxford in 1935, but made his name as an amateur golfer, reaching the final of the 1939 Amateur Championship and captaining the British Walker Cup team in 1953.

FARMER, STUART CAREY STEDMAN, died in September, aged 77. Stephen Farmer was an outstanding schoolboy wicket-keeper at Cheltenham College. He was commissioned into the Gloucestershire Regiment straight after leaving school, and was posted to Jamaica after the war. In 1947-48 he was put on standby for the MCC team touring the West Indies when Godfrey Evans was injured. But the Army posted him to British Guiana, where there was a threat of hostilities.

FEATHERSTONE, JOHN, who died from a heart attack on his way to a football match on February 14, 1998, aged 59, was a cricketing enthusiast. He was secretary of the Council of Cricket Societies and of the Women's Cricket Association. He also edited White Rose, Yorkshire's club newspaper.

FORD, Group Captain WALTER RONALD, CBE, died on October 7, 1998, aged 84. Ronnie Ford was a left-handed batsman and wicket-keeper who played four matches for Combined Services just after the war. He was assistant secretary (administration) of MCC from 1973 to 1977.

FRASER, THOMAS CAMPBELL, who died on May 20, 1998, aged 80, played irregularly for Otago between 1937 and 1953; against Wellington in 1939-40, he made a match-winning 118. Fraser later became a successful businessman and owner of the Otago Daily Times.

FREER, FREDERICK WILLIAM, who died on November 2, 1998, aged 82, bowled Cyril Washbrook in his first over of Test cricket. Freer was a Victorian swing bowler who had been drafted into the Australian side at Sydney for the Second Test of the 1946-47 series when Ray Lindwall had chicken-pox. Batting No. 9, he scored a rapid 28 not out before Australia declared at 659 for eight. In the second innings, he dismissed both Compton and Ikin, but bowled only 20 overs in a match dominated by Australia's spinners. When Lindwall returned, he was relegated to twelfth man for two Tests, and was not called on again. Freer was already 31; he had entered first-class cricket in Victoria's first game after the war when he took seven for 29 against Queensland. In 1948 he came to England and played for Rishton, carrying them to their first Lancashire League title in 36 years; he lived near the ground and reputedly hit a six into his own garden.

GREENHALGH, ERIC WASHINGTON, who died on July 2, 1996, aged 86, was a stocky middle-order batsman and occasional medium-pace bowler who played 14 matches for Lancashire in the late 1930s.

GRIEVESON, RONALD EUSTACE, OBE, died on July 24, 1998, aged 88. Ronnie Grieveson was South Africa's wicket-keeper in the Timeless Test at Durban in 1938-39, conceding only eight byes in three days while England scored 654 in their second innings. He made 75 and 39 himself, batting No. 8. It was his second and last game for South Africa: he had played in the previous Test at Johannesburg and taken five catches, three of them off Norman Gordon. (Following the death of Doug Wright later in 1998, Gordon became the last survivor from the Durban game, one of the most famous cricket matches of all.) Grieveson played for Transvaal from 1929-30 until the war, not always keeping wicket - the province had the great Jock Cameron until his death in 1935 - but his batting made him worth his place. He hit 107 not out opening against Griqualand West in 1933-34, and the following year averaged nearly 50. He was awarded the OBE for his wartime service, when he reached the rank of major.

HARDY, DONALD WRIGHTSON, who died on January 17, 1998, aged 71, played for Durham from 1948 to 1967 and captained the Minor Counties against the South Africans at Jesmond in 1965, his only first-class match.

HEYN, Major-General BERTRAM RUSSEL, who died on February 5, 1998, captained Ceylon at both cricket and hockey. His finest moment came when he dismissed Don Bradman for 20 during the Australians' stopover on the way to England in 1948. The Australians, who had been highly suspicious all along, later measured the pitch and found it was two yards short. Heyn also scored a century in 35 minutes in a wartime match for the Ceylon Defence Force against The Rest.

HORTON, HENRY, who died on November 2, 1998, aged 75, was a Hampshire stalwart for most of the 1950s and 1960s, such a fixture that to everyone in the club he was just H. He went in first wicket down in the team that memorably won the Championship in 1961, and was the most reliable run-getter in the side. His stance attracted regular derision: the crouch was so pronounced it was compared to squatting on the loo. It was effective, but more for defence than attack. He could get out of first gear, recalled his captain, Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie, but he didn't really have second gear. Just now and again he would go into fourth, and start hitting over the top. Above all, Horton was brave, both against fast bowling and at short leg. He played 405 times for the county (having earlier played 11 games for Worcestershire), made 21,669 runs and 32 hundreds. He passed 2,000 runs three times. Originally, Horton had chosen to become a footballer, and Southampton paid Blackburn £10,000 to sign him as a battling wing-half in 1951, but, with the encouragement of Hampshire coach Arthur Holt, he slowly switched over to cricket. He later coached Worcestershire and became a first-class umpire. Away from the crease, H remained a cautious man: he drank halves, and never married, going back to his home town - Colwall in Herefordshire - to live with his sisters.

HORTON, JOSEPH, died on November 6, 1998, aged 83, four days after his younger brother Henry. Joe Horton had a more textbook method than his brother, and was inclined to be exasperated by Henry's eccentric stance. But he failed to make the same impact, despite playing 62 matches for Worcestershire before the war. His highest score was 70 against Glamorgan in 1938.

HOWELL, Baron, died on April 19, 1998, aged 74. Denis Howell was a Labour politician and Britain's first Minister for Sport. He became so identified with the job that he was widely assumed to be in office long after Labour had lost power. Howell played a crucial role in the negotiations in which the Government effectively forced Lord's to cancel the 1970 South African tour. He was an affable Brummie, also remembered for his appointment as Minister for Drought in 1976, which was greeted by a deluge. He was also a League football referee, and a keen follower of Warwickshire.

IBBOTSON, DOUGLAS GEORGE, died on November 26, 1998, aged 71. Doug Ibbotson was one of the Daily Telegraph team of cricket writers for nearly two decades. He was a gentle, wry man who covered county matches with what his colleague John Mason called a kindly eye and a telling phrase: he is believed to have been responsible for christening the County Ground at Northampton Coronation Street with grass. He worked for the News Chronicle and the London Evening News before both papers folded; for the Evening News he wrote sports features and covered major events, including three Olympic Games, before settling into a quieter existence on the cricket and rugby circuit. Ibbo was always an early arriver and would make himself comfortable in the press box with his pipe, sandwiches and Thermos, but still retained his sense of adventure: in his late sixties he obtained a pilot's licence.

IRISH, ARTHUR FRANK, who died on July 17, 1997, aged 78, played Minor Counties cricket for Devon over three decades, and a solitary season for Somerset in 1950. Frank Irish appeared in 16 first-class matches for them, with a top score of 76 against Glamorgan. But he did not care for the professional game, and returned to Sidmouth, where he was a forthright and combative captain of the town club and ran a barber's shop-cum-tobacconist.

JINKS, ALLAN, who died in Melbourne on November 7, 1997, aged 83, was an off-spinner whose first-class career was curtailed by the presence in the Victorian team of Ian Johnson. In his eight first-class matches before and after the war, he twice claimed five wickets in an innings against Queensland. He took 569 wickets in club cricket for Carlton.

KAYE, MICHAEL ARTHUR CHADWICK PORTER, TD, DL, who died on September 22, 1998, aged 82, was a medium-pace all-rounder and a Cambridge Blue in 1938. Batting No. 10, he hit 78 in 43 minutes for the University against MCC at Lord's in 1938, then went out and dismissed the first four MCC batsmen, including Compton for a duck. He played first-class cricket for Free Foresters after the war.

KELLY, EDWARD ARTHUR, died on October 7, 1998, aged 65. Ted Kelly was a fast-medium bowler who played four matches for Lancashire in 1957. He then lost both his out-swinger (apparently after taking advice) and his place, and returned to club cricket in Chorley.

KEMPSTER, MICHAEL EDMUND IVOR, QC, who died on May 28, 1998, aged 74, unsuccessfully represented the cricketing authorities in the High Court in the case brought by Tony Greig after the 1977 World Series Cricket schism. Shortly afterwards, he went to practise in Hong Kong, and became a judge. His favourite sport was beagling.

KING, LESTER ANTHONY, who died on July 9, 1998, aged 59, of a liver complaint, was one of West Indies' leading fast bowlers of the 1960s. Unfortunately for him, the presence of Hall, Griffith and the multi-talented Sobers confined him to just two Tests. But in 1961-62 he made perhaps the most sensational of all entries into international cricket, aged 23, after just two matches for his native Jamaica. He was called in to open the bowling with Wes Hall against India at Sabina Park, and took five wickets in his first four overs. That left India 26 for five, and he finished with five for 46. King took two more quick wickets in the second innings, and West Indies completed a 5-0 series win. But they played no more Tests until they visited England more than a year later, and by then King had been superseded by the more hostile Charlie Griffith. Though he took 47 first-class wickets at 27.31 on the tour, he was actually tenth in the tour bowling averages that remarkable year. King pulled out of the 1966 trip through injury and, though he went to India and Australasia subsequently, never got the chance to play an overseas Test. He was called back in to replace Griffith for the final Test against England at Georgetown in 1967-68, taking two further wickets, but his second chance was his last. King was nowhere near as fast as many modern West Indian bowlers, but he had command of swing and cut. He was a clean tail-end hitter, and his cheerful disposition kept him going through the various disappointments. He played a season for Bengal, and also for Rawtenstall in the Lancashire League.

KUBUNAVANUA, PETERO, who died on November 20, 1997, became a first-class cricketer retrospectively when the Fijian tour of New Zealand in 1947-48 was given first-class status more than 30 years later. He was a dashing left-handed bat and spectacular outfielder whose saves and spear-like throwing, barefoot and with his sulu (knee-length skirt) flying, delighted the crowds. His fielding action was depicted on a postage stamp to mark the centenary of cricket in Fiji. Kubunavanua had a fine solo voice and performed in concert halls on the tour; he made an impressive sight as well, with a ferocious countenance under a bush of hair. After fighting the Japanese in the Solomon Islands, he served in Malaya. Fielding at square leg in a state match there, he was irritated by a swallow flying round him, stuck out his hand, and put the bird in his sulu pocket.

LAITT, DAVID JAMES, who died on June 27, 1998, aged 67, played two first-class matches for the Minor Counties in 1959 and 1960. But his medium-paced leg-cutters were a legend on the Minor County circuit, and he took 670 wickets for Oxfordshire between 1952 and 1972.

LEMMON, DAVID HECTOR, who died on October 25, 1998, aged 67, was a schoolteacher who turned into the most industrious of the writers to emerge from the great cricket-book boom of the 1980s. At his peak, there could be four Lemmons a year, and there were about 50 in all: inevitably, the quantity sometimes overwhelmed the quality. He wrote best about his enthusiasms, which in cricket meant anything to do with Essex. The Benson and Hedges Cricket Year (formerly the Pelham Cricket Year) was a remarkable annual achievement, and he had almost completed the 17th just before his final illness. He was a genial, chatty man and a good companion.

LESTER, GERALD, who died on January 26, 1998, aged 82, was one of Leicestershire cricket's most devoted sons. Gerry Lester was born in the county, at Long Whatton, and during his lifetime served the county club as a player (in 373 first-class matches), Second Eleven captain, coach and committee man. He joined the staff in 1937 and, after the war, turned into a reliable opening bat. Instinctively, he was a free-scoring player, but the pressures of professional cricket turned him into one of the circuit's stodgier batsmen. If he was rarely entertaining, he was always brave, and would take regular blows on the body, stuffing a few pound notes in his pocket to serve as an impromptu thigh pad. Lester was also a gifted leg-spin and googly bowler who could find substantial turn, but rarely got a bowl when the county could call on Jack Walsh and Vic Jackson. As a coach, he tried to instil his own work ethic: Get stuck in was his catchphrase. He was still watching cricket at Grace Road the summer before he died.

LISTER, WILLIAM HUBERT LIONEL, died on July 29, 1998, aged 86. Lionel Lister captained Lancashire from 1936 to 1939, when the county was in retreat after a decade of success, and was sometimes criticised for unwise declarations and failing to show command. But, overall, he is remembered as a good leader of a declining team, notably short of fast bowling, and was much liked by his men. He was also a batsman of spasmodic magnificence. He scored a century against Middlesex in his second match for the county, in 1933, and made 96 in 100 minutes at Worcester later that season. In 1934 he played an innings of great courage at Trent Bridge when being pummelled by Larwood and Voce. As captain, the great innings were infrequent, though Neville Cardus was ecstatic when Lister made just 34 in the 1937 Roses match at Sheffield: boundaries as good as any cricketer could wish to make or to see ... a brave and dashing and good-looking innings. In August 1939, Lister was padded up at Northampton when he was summoned to join his territorial regiment. He said goodbye to his team-mates (he was recorded as absent ... 0), and never played another first-class match, though some were amazed that he was not contacted when Lancashire were desperate for a captain in 1946; he was still only 34. Lister was the son of the managing director of Cunard, and had been a successful batsman at Malvern. At Cambridge, he failed to get a cricket Blue, but won a soccer Blue three times, and four amateur international caps as a wing-half. He was a brigade-major in the Normandy landings, though his moneyed background enabled him to live a post-war life of some ease. This included plenty of golf and regular visits to Old Trafford.

LIVINGSTON, LEONARD, died on January 16, 1998, aged 77. Jock Livingston was among the best of the Australians who gave up all hope of playing Test cricket by joining an English county after the war. Livingston played five matches for New South Wales between 1941 and 1947, making a century against Queensland, and might have been a contender for the 1948 tour of England. But a much younger left-hander, Neil Harvey, was chosen, and Livingston came to England to make a living. The Northamptonshire coach Jack Mercer spotted him playing for Royton while on a mission to spy on an opposing bowler who Livingston kept hooking. He signed for Northamptonshire in 1950 when already 30, and immediately began to play a vital role in the county's revival under Freddie Brown, just missing 2,000 runs in his first season. He did pass 2,000 three years running, 1954 to 1956, and finished his career with 34 centuries and an average of 45.01. But Livingston made another, even more vital, contribution to Northamptonshire, taking on the role of recruiting-sergeant himself, and encouraging the county to sign both Keith Andrew and his fellow-Australian, George Tribe. Livingston was a thrilling bat - perhaps the best left-hander in county cricket at the time - who could murder slow bowling and was especially quick to get back and lash anything wide: he was like lightning on his feet, Andrew recalled. At Northampton, he once hit three sixes off Jim Laker against the spin, every one landing on the bowling green next door. At Wellingborough in 1955, Northamptonshire were set an apparently ungenerous 332 in 217 minutes by Essex: Livingston scored an unbeaten 172 in 160 minutes as his team won with seven wickets and 15 minutes to spare. He was also a brilliant cover fielder and, when necessary, a very capable wicket-keeper. Jock was a teetotaller but was always chirpy, even voluble, which did not endear him to all his colleagues. But he loved the game and for many years remained a presence on the English circuit as a sales executive for the batmakers Gray-Nicolls, before he returned to Sydney. His ashes were flown back to be buried in Royton.

McCAULLY, BARRY DESMOND ANSELM, who died on November 16, 1998, aged 65, after a long illness, was a leading statistician. He was a Home Counties solicitor who took over the Wisden record section in 1983 and did the job for three years; he was associated with the Cricketer Quarterly from its inception in 1973, and was a contributor to many other publications.

SANSOM, DESMOND ARTHUR, who died on June 28, 1998, aged 64, was the only umpire to give a player out for obstruction in a South African first-class match. The victim was Trevor Quirk at East London in 1978-79, when he deflected an attempted run-out by hitting the ball with his bat.

SARJOO, NEVILLE, was shot dead outside his currency-exchange business in Georgetown on May 30, 1998, aged 52. Sarjoo was treasurer of the Guyana Cricket Board and an enthusiastic administrator, credited with the revival of the game in the East Bank Demerara area.

SHEPHERD, DONALD ARTHUR, OBE, who died on May 29, 1998, aged 82, was captain of the Leeds Grammar School team and played a solitary first-class match as an Oxford undergraduate. Though he was not good enough for the university team, Shepherd played for Yorkshire at The Parks in 1938, when Arthur Mitchell was injured, and they needed a Yorkshire-born replacement in a hurry. He was out for nought and did not bowl or take a catch. Shepherd did, however, have a few games for the second team later that summer and did a little better. He became a civil servant in the Colonial Service.

SHERMAN, HUGH PETER, MBE, died on June 15, 1998, aged 76. Peter Sherman scored 64 not out at Lord's in 1939 for Marlborough against Rugby. He became a district commissioner in Sudan, wearing, according to The Times, the traditional bush jacket, long shorts and topi with ostrich feather ... dispensing justice among the Dinka tribesmen and their chiefs, who wore nothing at all except, for important occasions, pork pie hats. Sherman later became a director of MI5.

SKINNER, DAVID ANTHONY, who died on January 17, 1998, aged 77, played occasionally for Derbyshire in the late 1940s and captained them in 1949. The side badly missed George Pope, and dropped from sixth to 15th. Skinner, a useful club player, contributed little except for enthusiastic fielding, mainly at cover point, and resigned after the season. His elder brother Alan had played for the county before the war and - unusually even for that era - captained Northamptonshire in his only game for them, against the New Zealanders in 1949, the day after they had beaten Derbyshire, led by David.

SMITH, KENNETH DESMOND, who died on May 31, 1998, aged 76, was a batsman who played regularly for Leicestershire in 1950 and 1951. He made an unbeaten 70 at Northampton in 1950. His sons David (also K. D.) and Paul both played for Warwickshire.

SNOW, EDWARD ERIC, died on September 18, 1998, aged 88, the day before his beloved Leicestershire won the County Championship. Eric Snow served the club in many non-playing capacities, including 40 years as librarian and 30 years on the committee, and wrote two histories of the club. He also wrote a history of Sir Julien Cahn's XI. He was a fount of knowledge on Leicestershire lore, cricketing and general. His elder brother was C. P. (later Lord) Snow the writer; his younger brother Philip represented Fiji on ICC.

SOPER, Rev. Baron, died on December 22, 1998, aged 95. Donald Soper was a Methodist preacher and orator of enormous power, a staunch pacifist, and one of Britain's most famous 20th-century churchmen. As a schoolboy, at Aske's, Hatcham, just after the First World War, he was a bowler of considerable pace. In a school match, a ball bowled by Soper bounced and hit the batsman over the heart. The boy died. William Purcell wrote in A Portrait of Soper: The degree to which this upset Donald at the time and the persistence of the memory of it - he was recalling it 50 years later - suggest an abhorrence of violence which was possibly an unconscious ingredient of his later pacifism.

SUTCLIFFE, WILLIAM HERBERT HOBBS, died on September 16, 1998, aged 71. Billy Sutcliffe captained Yorkshire in 1956 and 1957; he was also the son of the great Herbert Sutcliffe. These two facts were widely held to be connected, which made Sutcliffe's task more difficult than it already was. He took over Yorkshire at what was, by their then standards, a very low ebb, with Surrey dominating county cricket. In his first season in charge they fell to seventh and, though they rose to third in 1957, there was clear disunity in the dressing-room, and Sutcliffe was considered too lax. Many spectators could never forgive him for not being as good a bat as his father. But when Sutcliffe was appointed, he was well worth his place in the side: in 1955 he had scored three centuries and come second in the county averages behind Willie Watson. Given the (now quaint-seeming) notion that the captain had to be an amateur, Sutcliffe was the obvious choice. But his form fell away completely. It returned only when he resigned and went back to club cricket: he was the first batsman to make 1,000 runs in a Yorkshire League season. He was a damn good cricketer, wrote Don Mosey, who might have become better but for the millstone of his parentage. He remained a committee man, and was often in the thick of the club's many traumas over the next three decades before being swept from office in the pro-Geoff Boycott landslide at the committee elections of 1984. In 1969 and 1970, he was a Test selector and was thus partly responsible for handing the England captaincy to Ray Illingworth, the epitome of the Yorkshire professional.

SWANTON, ANN MARION, who died on November 23, 1998, aged 87, had been married to the cricket writer E. W. Swanton for 40 years. She was a gifted golfer, musician and artist.

TRICKER, DUDLEY D. L., who was killed in a car crash in the Eastern Cape on May 10, 1998, aged 53, played 18 matches as a batsman for Border in the 1960s. Tricker's finest hour came in 1969-70 when, in a remarkable match against Orange Free State, he and Ray Watson-Smith shared a seventh-wicket stand of 208. Watson-Smith was making his debut, and scored 310 in three matches before being dismissed in first-class cricket. Tricker made 68. There were claims that Border might have done even better had not one of the umpires been a Free State selector.

TWISELTON, FRANK, J., who died on August 31, 1998, aged 79, was chairman (1973-75) and president (1990-92) of Gloucestershire. He was also a patron of cricket through his management job at Whitbread brewery.

WEEKES, KENNETH HUNNELL, died on February 9, 1998, aged 86. Bam Bam Weekes played one of the great early Test innings for West Indies when he enthralled the crowd at The Oval just two weeks before the outbreak of the Second World War. Weekes put on 163 in 100 minutes with Vic Stollmeyer, 43 coming in four overs against the new ball, with Weekes hitting four consecutive fours off Reg Perks. He finished with 137 in two and a quarter hours. Two months earlier at Lord's, Neville Cardus had declared him hopelessly short of aim and eyesight, and thought he shaped like a left-hander batting the wrong way round. Weekes was dropped, then recalled after scoring 146 against Surrey; Cardus later admitted that he could hit like a mule. These were the only two Tests Weekes played (and he thus had an average of 57.66) though he continued to play for Jamaica until 1947. He was brought up in Jamaica, his mother's home island, and his father was Barbadian, but he was born in Boston, Massachussetts. He went back to the US after the war, worked as a nurse, and died in New York, the father of six children. He claimed no kinship with Everton Weekes.

WHEELHOUSE, ALAN, who died from cancer on August 28, 1998, aged 64, had been chairman of Nottinghamshire since 1994; he was one of the most influential figures in English cricket administration. His stature was such that he was elected to the management board of the ECB as a representative of the 12 counties who do not stage Test cricket, even though he came from a county which does stage Tests. He won a Blue at Cambridge in 1959 and played one match for Nottinghamshire in 1961, opening the bowling against Glamorgan, and taking four wickets in a style which E. W. Swanton once likened to an arthritic centipede. Thereafter, Wheelhouse concentrated on his career in the law and was senior partner in a large Nottingham legal practice. Lord MacLaurin, the ECB chairman, called his contribution immense.

WILLIAMS, CECIL BEAUMONT, OBE, died on September 20, 1998, aged 72. Monty or Boogles Williams was a Barbadian leg-spinning all-rounder who made a dramatic entry to regional cricket in 1948-49, with six for 28, and 108, in his first two matches, both against Trinidad. He was chosen for the 1950 tour of England but found himself wholly overshadowed by his fellow slow bowlers Ramadhin and Valentine. Against a powerful MCC team at Lord's, Williams took seven for 55, but he made few runs anywhere, and failed to make the Test team. His finest hour may have come in 1955-56 when he captained Barbados against E. W. Swanton's XI, and took 133 off an attack headed by Frank Tyson. Later he became a diplomat, and was High Commissioner to London and Ottawa, and Ambassador to Washington. His brother is Chief Justice of Barbados.

WORDSWORTH, CHRISTOPHER WILLIAM VAUGHAN, who died on October 15, 1998, aged 83, epitomised the breed of eccentrics who used to report county cricket for the posher Sunday papers. In his younger days he was an adventurer who tried to eke out a living in Wales by his skill as a fly-fisherman; later he eked out an even more precarious living reviewing books for The Guardian and The Observer. On Saturdays, he would write erudite and literate reports on rugby or cricket, dictated in a booming voice, and was a familiar, shambling figure on the county circuit, liked by his colleagues, except by those who remembered him as The Man Who Broke The Only Phone At Horsham.

WRIGHT, DOUGLAS VIVIAN PARSON, died on November 13, 1998, aged 84, after several years of ill-health. Doug Wright was the finest English leg-spinner, perhaps the most dangerous of all English bowlers, in the years just before and after the war. A Kentishman, from Sidcup, he made his debut for the county in 1932 aged 17, but did not become a regular for another four years until Tich Freeman's final season. By 1938, he was in the Test team against Australia, and at Leeds came close to bowling them to a remarkable victory, dismissing Bradman, McCabe and Hassett as Australia sought a mere 105 for victory. For most of his 34 Tests, he was bowling in difficult circumstances with little support. Often he was the spin attack, as in Australia in 1946-47 when he and Bedser bowled almost 500 eight-ball overs between them. Against South Africa at Lord's in 1947, he took ten for 175, but there were many more days of abject frustration.

Wright began as a quick bowler who liked to turn his wrist and slip in the odd spinner; later he reversed the proportions. But his quicker ball remained so fast that Godfrey Evans had to signal the slips to move deeper, and even his stock ball had a rare fizz to it. Everyone agreed - and Bradman and Hammond were among his chief admirers - that on his day Wright was unplayable. But he gave the batsmen a chance to score too. With his technique, wrote David Frith, running in from over 15 yards, hopping and skipping as he went, and whipping over a wristy and finger-spun ball that would dip, bounce and deviate crazily off the pitch, to expect long-term accuracy was to display a dismal ignorance of physics. He never ever bowled a ball defensively, said Lord Cowdrey, his team-mate at Kent. Every ball was bowled to take a wicket.

He took seven hat-tricks, more than anyone else in history, and 100 wickets in a season ten times. In 1954, Doug Wright became Kent's first professional captain, though his natural diffidence did not obviously lend itself to leadership and, as so often in his career, he had a weak team around him: Kent slid nearer the bottom each season. At the end of each day, he would take his shoes and socks off and apologise to his poor old feet. Sorry, boys, he would say, but you're going to be needed again tomorrow. He retired aged 43, and in 1959 succeeded George Geary as coach at Charterhouse. Everyone liked Doug Wright. Cowdrey remembers him being asked about the best over he ever bowled. Bowling to the Don at Lord's, he said. Every ball came out of my hand the way I wanted and pitched where I wanted. I beat him twice. It went for 16.

© John Wisden & Co
 
Sponsored Links

Why not you? Read and learn how!