Obituaries, 2006

Obituaries index: A-E


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This section records the lives of those who died during 2005 and were:

  • Test cricketers
  • first-class cricketers from Great Britain and Ireland
  • Other personalities of interest from around the world

    Wisden would be pleased to hear of any notable omissions. Please write to: Obituaries, John Wisden & Co Ltd, 13 Old Aylesfield, Golden Pot, Alton, Hampshire GU34 4BY.

    Baron ALEXANDER OF WEEDON QC (Robert Scott Alexander) died on November 6, 2005, aged 69. Bob Alexander was one of the most versatile figures in British public life: as barrister, banker and the chairman of numerous groups and organisations. In cricket, he turned from being the scourge of the Establishment to its embodiment. As Robert Alexander QC, he was considered by many as both the best and best-paid advocate of his generation, and was hired by Kerry Packer and his rebel players in 1977 to represent them in the High Court against the cricketing authorities, who were trying to ban the rebels from Test cricket. Alexander scored a knockout victory. "We were aware that we were on dubious ground because of the restraint-of-trade legislation," recalls Doug Insole, then chairman of the Test and County Cricket Board, "but he was extremely sharp and incisive." In 1986, Alexander represented Ian Botham (less successfully) before an appeals committee after the TCCB had banned him for using cannabis. He gave up advocacy soon afterwards, reputedly deciding there was more to life after a case involving the rights to produce lemon-shaped plastic food squirters. He became chairman of the Takeovers Panel, and then of NatWest Bank where, during an otherwise difficult decade, he was able to maintain and enhance the bank's sponsorship of cricket. Alexander was chairman of the MCC arts and library committee from 1998 to 2001, reinstating its programme of commissioning portraits and introducing the club's Young Artist project. He was MCC president in 2000-01 and then chairman for three years, although he had a stroke in 2004, before that term ended. Tall (6ft 6in), impressive and extremely courteous, he was a consensual chairman, although the club found his rhetorical skills useful at meetings.

    ALLAN, JAMES MOFFAT, who died in April 2005, aged 73, was regarded as the best all-rounder Scotland ever produced. Jimmy Allan made a sensational start to first-class cricket, returning figures of 7-7-0-1 on his debut for Oxford University against Yorkshire in 1953; five of the maidens were to Len Hutton. The following week, against Australia, he dismissed Keith Miller and Ian Craig in his opening over, and it was not until his fourth of the day - his 11th in first-class cricket - that someone finally hit a run off him. Allan's team-mate Colin Cowdrey recommended him to Kent and, in 1955, while still an undergraduate, he came close to the double, scoring two centuries at Northampton. He gained a Blue every year between 1953 and 1956, then returned north. For the next decade he played most of his cricket for Edinburgh Academicals (later for Ayr) and Scotland, before joining Warwickshire for three seasons in the mid-1960s. Allan was a very gifted slow left-arm bowler with clever variations of pace; as a batsman, he was determined rather than brilliant. In 60 matches for Scotland, he never scored a century, though he ran out of partners on 99 against the 1965 New Zealanders and took 11 for 123 in the match against the 1971 Pakistanis.

    AMANULLAH KHAN, who died on March 12, 2005, aged 71, umpired 13 Tests and 13 one-day internationals between 1975 and 1993, all in Pakistan except the Sri Lanka-West Indies group game at Kanpur in the 1987 World Cup. A club competition in Lahore has been started in his memory.

    ANDERSON, DAVID JOHN, who died of cancer on June 17, 2005, aged 65, was a nimble left-handed batsman who played regularly for Victoria in the early 1960s. He started as a studious-looking bespectacled opener, then switched to the middle order and contact lenses; either way, Anderson had the ability to play fighting and sometimes lengthy innings, including a century against the South Africans in 1963-64 and a six-hour 136 to thwart Tony Lock at Perth a year later. Anderson worked for the Commonwealth Bank for 40 years and rose to be company secretary.

    ANIS-UL-GHANI, who died in Florida on December 15, 2005, aged 66, was a Pakistani right-hand batsman and excellent fielder. He made his only century for Karachi in the 1957-58 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final. Four of his brothers also played first-class cricket: one, the all-rounder Nasim-ul-Ghani, won 29 Test caps.

    AUSTIN, QUENTIN AHERN, died on July 16, 2004. At 95, Ken Austin was Rhodesia's longest-lived first-class cricketer. There were almost 18 years between his debut, in 1927-28, and his second match, when he reappeared as Rhodesia's captain in March 1946. His five first-class games were all against Transvaal: he scored just 65 runs at 8.12, and took four wickets - all in the same innings at Bulawayo in 1946-47.

    BATES, DONALD LAWSON, died on May 29, 2005, aged 72. Don Bates was a constant presence on the Sussex staff for two decades from 1950, finishing in 1971 with 880 wickets at 25.87. He was a deceptively gentle medium-paced bowler, who could extract unexpected movement off the pitch, especially at Hove. Alan Oakman, a long-time colleague, noted: "He could do things with the ball on a difficult wicket that nobody else could." Bates's most productive seasons came between 1960 and 1962 - the first three years of Ted Dexter's captaincy - with more than 100 wickets in each. He was part of the side that won the first two Gillette Cups in 1963 and 1964, and the Brighton and Hove Albion team (at righthalf) that became the last winners of the old Third Division South in 1957-58. When he walked back to bowl, Bates constantly had his shoelaces undone and kept being reminded to tie them up.

    BEBAN, Father MARK ALBERT, SM, collapsed and died on the 16th fairway of the Wainuiomata golf course in Wellington, New Zealand, on April 4, 2005, aged 65. He played four times for Wellington as a bespectacled purveyor of brisk offspin in 1969-70, not long after being ordained as a Catholic priest. In his final match, against Auckland - when his five wickets included the future Test opener Rodney Redmond, twice - one of the umpires was the Rev. David Bindon.

    BENEY, DONALD EWART, who died on July 18, 2005, aged 90, became Kent's president in 1993 after 18 years on the committee. In that time Beney never missed a meeting; he had been watching Kent play since 1926.

    BEVAN, HUBERT GEORGE, died on June 15, 2005, aged 72. Hugh Bevan was a left-arm fast bowler for Western Australia with an ungainly action but sharp pace and a dangerous inswinger. He gained a regular place in the state side in the early 1960s and came close to Test selection after Alan Davidson retired, but was not fully fit when he played for an Australian XI against the 1963-64 South Africans, and went wicketless. Since he had a long delivery stride and drag, he then struggled with the new front-foot no-ball law, and retired. Bevan was a state selector for 22 seasons between 1971 and 1993; in 11 of those Western Australia won the Shield.

    BOWMAN, RICHARD, died on March 24, 2005, aged 71. A fast bowler from Edinburgh's Fettes College, Dick Bowman won a Blue for Oxford in 1957, a year when he obtained 44 of his eventual 51 first-class wickets. He took seven for 60, and hit 75, against Essex at Westcliff in his last game before the Varsity Match. But he toiled through 39 overs at Lord's, where Cambridge won by an innings. "He was the quickest bowler on either side that year," said the future MCC secretary, Jack Bailey, who was his new-ball partner, "definitely on the sharp side of fast-medium." Bowman turned out occasionally for his native Lancashire, and later for Cumberland, before concentrating on running The Inn at Whitewell, an individual and very comfortable hostelry (with room-keys attached to cricket balls) in the Forest of Bowland. The Times wrote in 2003: "Richard Bowman, the hotelier, has been on a mission to eradicate pomposity and pretension from fine living while taking care not to sacrifice style, comfort and, above all, humour."

    CANTWELL, NOEL EUCHARIA CORNELIUS, who died on September 8, 2005, aged 72, was a left-handed batsman who played five times for Ireland at cricket, including the annual first-class match against Scotland in 1956, when he made 31 and 17 not out in a drawn game at Edinburgh. In 1958 he top-scored with 40 in a two-day game against the New Zealand tourists, earning praise from Wisden for both his sound defence and bold hitting, and an invitation to play for Essex: he turned them down, saying he didn't want to spend the whole year in England. Cantwell won far greater fame at soccer as a solid full-back who could also play up front, winning 36 international caps for the Republic of Ireland and captaining Manchester United to victory in the 1963 FA Cup final before turning to management.

    CATER, STEWART BRUCE, died of a heart attack at a wedding reception in Ohakune, New Zealand, on February 5, 2005, aged 53. Stew Cater was a fastish bowler who played 30 times for Wellington between 1974 and 1983, taking 68 wickets at 26.33. He took seven wickets - to Ewen Chatfield's 13 - when Wellington upset Clive Lloyd's touring West Indians during their fractious 1979- 80 tour. John Morrison, who captained that victorious side, recalled: "He was a lively character, legendary in local cricket for his extremely enthusiastic appeals."

    CHILD, ELLIS LYNLEY, who died on May 8, 2005, aged 79, was a mediumpacer who played five matches for Auckland in 1953-54, and three more for Northern Districts five years later. He took five for 71 on his debut, against Canterbury, and nine in his next game, against Otago - but never quite hit such heights again. His son, Murray, also played for Northern Districts.

    CHRISTIANI, ROBERT JULIAN, who died in Toronto on January 4, 2005, aged 84, was one of West Indies' best and most attractive batsmen of the immediate post-war era, but found himself overshadowed when the three Ws broke into the side. A correct, bespectacled right-hander who could also keep wicket and bowl serviceable off-spin, Christiani came from a prominent cricket family. His eldest brother Cyril kept wicket in four Tests against England in 1934-35 before dying young of malaria, and two other brothers also played for British Guiana. Even as a teenager, Robert was considered unlucky to miss the 1939 tour of England, but after the war a career-best 181 against Jamaica cemented his place against Gubby Allen's England in 1947-48. "Sugarfoot" Christiani marked his debut with 99, before being trapped lbw by Ken Cranston (and bursting into tears back in the dressing-room). He did reach a century the following year, against India at Delhi, with 107 - the first Test hundred by a Guyanese batsman - after going in at No. 8. This was a recurring problem: the presence of the three Ws often forced him lower in the order than his strokeplay warranted. "He played all the shots and was not the least bit inhibited by bowling," said his West Indian team-mate Andy Ganteaume. Christiani played in all four Tests on West Indies' coming-of-age tour in England in 1950, scoring consistently, and acting as reserve wicketkeeper to Clyde Walcott. He was equally solid during the less successful tour of Australia in 1951-52, scoring 76 at Sydney and hitting the winning run - halfway through Christmas Day - as West Indies turned the tables in the Third Test at Adelaide. But he played only four more Tests after that trip, and retired after England's 1953-54 tour. He emigrated to Canada, and worked at Toronto City Hall.

    CLARKE, DOUGLAS STEWART, who died on January 31, 2005, aged 72, was a left-handed batsman and occasional wicketkeeper who played six matches for New Zealand's Northern Districts in the late 1950s without obvious success. On his debut, against Auckland in January 1958, he played alongside his brother, the legendary All-Black full-back Don Clarke. Doug himself was fly-half for Waikato and on one occasion the entire Clarke clan - five brothers - turned out against Thames Valley.

    CLIFT, PHIL BRITTAIN, who died on May 22, 2005, aged 86, was a stalwart of Glamorgan cricket for more than half a century. He made his debut in 1937, and opened the batting for much of the next two decades, though his career was interrupted not merely by the war but by frequent bouts of tuberculosis. In 1948, he impressed the Australians with his willingness to play shots, and was in the middle of the leg-side catching cordon (between his fellow Usk boy, Allan Watkins, and Wilf Wooller) that was crucial to Glamorgan's first Championship. After retiring from first-class cricket in 1955, he did just about every job the club could offer: second-team captain, coach, supporters' club organiser, assistant secretary, secretary (from 1978 to 1982) and, sometimes, scorer. He was a kindly soul but, as a coach, prone to get exasperated by bad cricket, and hurl his cap on the ground. "Phil was a very nice man," said Don Shepherd, "but there was an underlying steel to him. He did want the job done properly."

    COLLEY, CLAUDE ARNOLD, who died on June 2, 2005, aged 98, had an extraordinary career in Australian club cricket, making his debut in the fearsome Brisbane A grade aged 55. Having been a successful leg-spinner in the lower grades, he was promoted to the first team by Sandgate-Redcliffe three times in 1961-62. He took 89 wickets at 10.76 eight seasons after that, and finally retired, at 84, after a mild heart attack in the dressing-room.

    COLQUHOUN, IAN ALEXANDER, died on February 26, 2005, aged 80, while watching the TV coverage of New Zealand's one-day international against Australia from Auckland. An All-Black rugby triallist, Colquhoun was also an accomplished wicketkeeper for Central Districts for 11 seasons, often standing up to the quicker bowlers. Colquhoun's Test career was short but eventful. Before his debut at Dunedin in 1954-55 he dreamt that he dropped the England captain Len Hutton four times: in the event he managed to catch him cheaply in both innings, which was not enough to stave off an eight-wicket defeat. But the nightmare lay in wait. In the Second Test, at Auckland, New Zealand were shot out for 200 and 26, which remains the lowest Test total. Colquhoun's contribution was a king pair - caught first ball off Bob Appleyard in both innings. He played on for Central Districts until 1963-64; he had a spell as a Test selector, and was president of the New Zealand board from 1989 to 1991. He taught at Palmerston North Boys' High School for 36 years, and over 1,000 people attended a memorial service for him there, the highlight of which was a haka by the rugby team.

    COX, HENRY RAMSAY, died on December 1, 2005, aged 94. Ramsay Cox was an amateur medium-pace bowler who captained Nottinghamshire in two matches, 21 years apart - he did the job once in 1933 and again in his final county game, against Essex in 1954. A stalwart of the Nottingham Forest cricket club, he played 30 first-class matches; his 47 wickets included six for 30 from 23 overs against Derbyshire in 1951, when he was 40. Cox played for Cambridge in 1934, but did not win a Blue, claiming he had umpired himself out of one: having been pressed into the white coat for the university's match at Worcester, he gave a number of decisions in favour of a rival, who duly took his spot in the Varsity Match.

    CREWS, BASIL HYDE, who died on April 14, 2005, aged 80, was the only non-Test player to score a century against George Mann's 1948-49 MCC team in South Africa: 104 for South African Universities in the final match at Cape Town. Crews played 15 further first-class matches for four different provincial teams, scoring one more hundred - 110 for Border eight seasons later.

    DALPAT SONAVARIA, who died on January 27, 2005, aged 78, was a longtime cricket administrator who served as a liaison officer for various teams on tours of Pakistan. His son Anil Dalpat, who kept wicket in nine Test matches in the mid-1980s, was the first Hindu to play for Pakistan.

    DAVIE, MICHAEL, who died on December 7, 2005, aged 81, was an innovative journalist in both Britain (where he became deputy editor of The Observer) and Australia, where he edited The Age. He was also a fine cricket reporter, covering the 1958-59 Ashes tour for The Observer, and the Brisbane tied Test (anonymously) for The Times. As The Observer's sports editor, he rescued Sir Len Hutton from his ghost writer and gave him pencil, paper and a job - writing his own opinions on a day's play. Davie is also credited with taking Groucho Marx to Lord's and inspiring a famous one-liner. After a while, he asked what his guest thought about the game: "It's great!" said Groucho. "But when does it start?" In 1987, Davie edited, with his son Simon, The Faber Book of Cricket.

    DAVIES, JOHN ANTHONY, died on April 1, 2005, aged 79. A batsman from Pontypridd, he played once for Glamorgan, in the last Championship match of 1952, making 11 and nought against Worcestershire. He also represented Herefordshire.

    DEAN, THOMAS ARTHUR, died on June 4, 2004, aged 83. A tall leg-spinner who was born in Gosport but grew up in South Africa, Tom Dean made a sensational start to his county career at 18, taking four wickets in five balls in only his second match for Hampshire, against Worcestershire at Bournemouth late in 1939. He had a burst of five wickets for eight runs in the next game, against Yorkshire, and finished the season on top of Hampshire's bowling averages, with ten wickets at 22.20. But war intervened, and the magic disappeared. Dean took only 21 wickets in 13 games in 1946, although that did include a career-best seven for 51 (and ten for 129 in the match) against Derbyshire at Ilkeston. A fine fielder among many more ponderous movers, against Essex in 1947 he took seven catches in the match, "four of them brilliant" according to his captain, Desmond Eagar. Dean left Hampshire in 1949, after three unproductive seasons, to run a pub in Torquay and perform prodigiously in club cricket for Newton Abbot, before returning to South Africa in 1955 to coach. He spent 23 years at Grey High School in Port Elizabeth, where several talented youngsters, including Graeme Pollock, came under his eye. Dean once observed that "I must take the credit for not coaching Graeme - he was a freak and was best left to develop on his own." He was also Eastern Province's director of coaching for six years.

    DIMENT, ROBERT ANTHONY, died on June 18, 2005, aged 78. Tony Diment was an amateur batsman who played one match for Gloucestershire in 1952, and regularly for Leicestershire in the late 1950s, while working as the club's assistant secretary. He was appointed to succeed Charles Palmer as secretary at the end of 1957 but resigned after two years to work in the leather industry. His first-class record was indifferent, but he had a glorious moment for Leicestershire Second XI in 1959 in the Minor Counties competition. He broke loose against the Shropshire attack at Loughborough and bludgeoned an unbeaten double-century, a great rarity at the time as matches were played over two days.

    DIWADKAR, SHARAD JAGANNATH, died of a heart attack while walking with the former Indian captain Polly Umrigar in Mumbai on March 1, 2005, aged 69. An economical off-spinner whose international hopes were stymied by the likes of Prasanna and Venkataraghavan, "Jimmy" (after Jim Laker) Diwadkar took 211 wickets in first-class cricket, with a best return of six for 19 for Bombay against Saurashtra in 1965-66. He also scored 177 against Rajasthan in 1963-64. Diwadkar captained Bombay, and later succeeded Umrigar as executive secretary of the Indian cricket board in 1997, until poor health forced him to step down in 2003.

    DOYLE, ANNIE GERTRUDE, died on July 4, 2005, aged 76. Nancy Doyle was the ch√Ętelaine of the players' dining-room at Lord's for many years until her retirement in 1996. Her lavish lunches - Mike Brearley once asked, unsuccessfully, if she could limit the number of courses to five - were legendary around a county circuit on which the staple diet in most places at the time was salad, and she was popular with generations of players. Nancy, who first worked at Lord's as a waitress in 1961, was small yet volcanic, and some colleagues found her quick tongue hard to take. Steadfastly Irish to the end, she was awarded an honorary MBE in 1994. She featured in "An Alternative Five" cricket people of the year in Wisden 1995.

    DRIVER, CLEMENT FRANK, died on October 25, 2005, aged 84. Clem Driver was Essex's much-liked scorer from 1979, the year they first won the County Championship, until 1999, when a fall at Old Trafford caused him to retire. There were other factors: "Apart from the fall, the final curtain was having to put up with the dreadful music, particularly the disrespectful Hallelujah Chorus when an Essex wicket fell," he said of the attempts to jazz up the one-day game. A close friend of Graham Gooch, Driver was the scorer on two of his tours as England's captain, to Australia in 1990-91 and India in 1992-93.

    DUMBLETON, DOUGLAS PHILIP, died on March 4, 2005, aged 86. After opening the bowling for Wellington in one match in 1947-48, he umpired two Tests at the Basin Reserve - against England in 1962-63 and South Africa the following season.

    EDWARDS, JOHN ERNEST, died on May 22, 2005, aged 75. A long-time member of the Australian board, Jack Edwards managed the national team on tours to Sharjah and the West Indies. After their historic 1994-95 victory in the Caribbean the players' celebrations reached such a level that he had difficulty accounting to the board for the bar bill, which he ruefully declared was "an all-time record". Edwards had a long connection with Melbourne's St Kilda club, and played for them throughout the 1950s.

    EMERY, VICTOR RUPERT, died on February 14, 2005, aged 84. Vic Emery was an off-spinner with a good faster ball who played five times for New South Wales in 1948-49, taking six wickets, four of them in an innings on his debut, against Queensland. He remains North Sydney's leading wicket-taker in grade cricket, with 654 at 20.35 between 1941 and 1970.

    EVANS, GWYNFOR, who died on April 21, 2005, aged 92, was Plaid Cymru's first Westminster MP, representing Carmarthen from 1966 to 1970 and again from 1974 to 1979. He was best known for threatening to starve himself to death to pressurise the government into conceding a Welsh-language TV station; the threat was enough to secure victory. In his youth he had played cricket for Glamorgan Schools, and he retained his love of the game.

    © John Wisden & Co
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