Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2008

Obituaries index: A-E

Cricinfo staff

ABRAHAMS, CECIL JOHN, died on August 15, 2007, aged 75. Cec Abrahams was a member of an important cricketing dynasty. Among the Coloured community in Cape Town in the 1950s, Abrahams made his name both as a fast-bowling allrounder and a man of principle: he led the successful campaign against non-white teams being organised into different racial groups, which he regarded as a surrender to apartheid. Abrahams toured East Africa with the non-white South African side in 1958, and shaded his captain, Basil D'Oliveira, in the batting averages. Following D'Oliveira's success in English league cricket in 1960, Abrahams was invited to pro for Milnrow in the Central Lancashire League: he was made very welcome, settled in the area and never left. In Lancashire, he cut down his pace to bowl often unplayable cutters, and hit entertainingly if not reliably. In 1967, he switched to Radcliffe and led them to two league titles; after that Abrahams played for Oldham, and Elland in the Huddersfield League, then happily returned to be (amateur) captain of Milnrow and, later, the Lancashire Over-50s. Originally a dental technician, he worked as a golf club steward in later life, and won a golf competition at Penrith two days before he died. His father, Sakkie, and his three sons, John, Peter and Basil, all played cricket - John became captain of Lancashire and is now in charge of England's age-group teams.

ALLEYNE, STEPHEN MARK CLARKE, who died of a heart attack on October 15, 2007, aged 47, headed the Barbados organising committee for the 2007 World Cup. Alleyne was an actuary who became president of the Barbados Cricket Association in 2000, and was adamant that the country must play a major role in the first World Cup in the West Indies. He drove the bid to stage the final at Kensington Oval, and oversaw the ground reconstruction that made it possible. He had gone to university in Scotland, and spent several seasons with Edinburgh's Carlton club, opening the batting for Scotland in their 1985 NatWest Trophy cuptie against Glamorgan. The day before he died, he was playing for Empire, his Bridgetown club. Alleyne was often seen as a future president of the West Indian board: Joel Garner, his successor as BCA president, said he had "a brilliant mind". Tony Cozier said his death was "a critical, inopportune loss" at a time when West Indian cricket was so short of dynamic leaders.

ALLEYNE, WILFRED, died on February 24, 2007, aged 90. Trumpeter "Pankey" Alleyne arrived in England in 1945 as part of the Caribbean All-Star Orchestra - but his passion was cricket, which cost him his job when a match overran and he turned up late for a concert still in his whites. He resolved to follow his fellow Trinidadian, Learie Constantine, into professional cricket, and fulfilled his ambition by becoming pro at Fleetwood (then in the Ribblesdale League) in 1950, later continuing as an amateur. He proved entertaining with bat, ball and (in the bar afterwards) trumpet. Heart trouble eventually forced him to give up the trumpet - but not cricket, which he carried on playing until he was 66.

ARCHER, RONALD GRAHAM, OAM, died of lung cancer on May 27, 2007, aged 73. After seeing 19-year-old Ron Archer's performance in the 1953 Ashes Tests, John Arlott wrote that he was "a young player who may well, for twenty years to come, harry English cricketers as a batsman, bowler and fielder". Only three years later, however, during the inaugural Pakistan-Australia Test at Karachi, Archer damaged his knee - or what is now called the cruciate ligament - so badly when his spikes became entangled in the matting that his career was effectively over. It was a severe loss to Australian cricket because his charismatic all-round ability suggested that he was a natural successor to Keith Miller. He had a similar flair and confidence: as he said years later, "I was an aggressive young bugger; I'd always been a winner in sport and I just believed I could do it." But he had also shown enough sense to be regarded as a future captain. Archer came from Queensland cricketing royalty: his father Percy was a prominent player in Brisbane, and his older brother Ken had opened the batting in five Tests. Ron was an outstanding all-round sportsman at school, played firstgrade cricket for South Brisbane at 15, and made his state debut aged 18 in February 1952, taking five for 45 to bowl out South Australia on the opening day. He progressed swiftly from there: strongly built, he generated plenty of pace but also rapidly learned to swing and cut the ball both ways, and exploit the width of the crease. His strength allowed him to build on a sound defence by driving with exhilarating power. His development was rewarded by selection for both the final Test against South Africa in February 1953 and the subsequent Ashes tour. Archer played in the last three Tests in England, distinguishing himself with a forthright, though unavailing, 49 in an hour against Laker and Lock at The Oval - "full of the spirit of youth and adventure" said Jack Fingleton. He was Australia's most reliable bowler against Len Hutton's side in 1954-55, and notably hard to hit: opening the bowling in the Second Test at Sydney, his analysis read 12-7-12-3 (these being eight-ball overs), and he followed this with four for 33 at Melbourne. On the subsequent trip to the West Indies, his batting took over. Twice he joined Miller in double-century partnerships, scoring his only Test hundred when he was one of five centurions in Australia's 758 for eight declared at Kingston. Back in England in 1956, he was the hardest worked Australian bowler of that sodden summer. A few weeks later came his injury: he missed the whole of 1956-57, but was still selected for the following season's tour of South Africa. He refused the invitation because he believed he was not fit enough, and seems to have been right: after further setbacks, he played the 1958- 59 Sheffield Shield season as a specialist batsman before continuing knee and back problems forced him to retire, aged only 25. Archer went on to have a serious career in business: he was director and then general manager of the company that owned one of the major Brisbane TV channels, Channel 0. In 1976-77 Channel 0 had the rights to show cricket, including the Centenary Test, alongside the ABC, and Richie Benaud gives Archer the credit for introducing an extra camera so viewers could watch from behind the arm at both ends. He was also involved with charity work and cricket administration: he refereed the first Twenty20 international in Australia, against South Africa at the Gabba in January 2006.

ARIF BUTT, who died of complications from diabetes on July 10, 2007, aged 63, was a tall fast-medium bowler who played three Tests for Pakistan in 1964- 65. Aged only 20, he made a stunning debut, taking six for 89 at the MCG in Pakistan's first Test in Australia, and seemed set for a long career in a side then short of pace. He played twice more on the New Zealand leg of that tour, but Pakistan had hardly any fixtures until their England tour of 1967: there he flopped completely, and was never chosen again. Though he had a deceptive bouncer and a good leg-cutter, Arif was hampered by a reputation for poor fielding and, some whispered, a suspect temperament. But he maintained his form in domestic cricket and turned into a genuine all-rounder. In 1973-74 he captained Railways to both the Patron's and Quaid-e-Azam Trophies, taking 48 wickets at 15.60, and scoring 180 as an opener against Punjab.

BAIN, CHARLES ZACHARY, who died on April 8, 2007, aged 94, umpired the drawn Second Test between West Indies and Australia in his native Trinidad early in 1965. He stood in only three other first-class matches.

BANDIWADEKAR, SUBHASH MANOHAR, who died on February 4, 2007, aged 60, was an Indian wicketkeeper who played 28 Ranji Trophy matches for Railways and Bombay over ten years from 1966-67. Later, while coaching at King George School in Bombay, he taught the future Test batsman Sanjay Manjrekar.

BARRICK, DESMOND WILLIAM, died on December 25, 2007, aged 81. In the vibrant and cosmopolitan Northamptonshire dressing-room of the 1950s, Des Barrick was the raconteur and comedian. On the field, in a remarkably successful team, he was the mainstay of the middle order: a short but fearless attacking batsman with very sound instincts who devoted little thought to either the bowler's reputation or the finer points of the game. Barrick was a Yorkshireman, from Geoff Boycott's home town, Fitzwilliam, but played no cricket until he was 19, when his father suggested he go along to Johnny Lawrence's cricket school at Rothwell. Northamptonshire signed him as a leg-spinner, but he made 147 not out in his second first-class match, against the 1949 New Zealanders, and his bowling was soon forgotten. Barrick was still naive about the game and had to ask a team-mate nervously what the follow-on was. The story about how, as twelfth man, he inadvertently wallowed in the bath reserved for the captain, F. R. Brown, remained a mainstay of the Barrick repertoire. It ended with Dennis Brookes, the senior pro, explaining at length the pecking order and concluding: "If at the end of the day there's enough hot water left to wash your big toe, you'll be bloody lucky." Barrick survived that incident, and kept his place until 1960, passing 1,500 runs three times. He was regarded as a bit of a skiver and a skinflint too, but was so endearingly obvious about both that no one minded. Once he and team-mate Bob Clarke came back from a pre-season run by bus. And he always maintained two pipes: one was for his own tobacco, the other had a huge bowl which, he cheerfully explained, was for smoking OP's (Other People's).

BASTABLE, ANTHONY LESLIE, died on May 29, 2007, aged 62. He had been suffering from emphysema. From 1968 to 1972 Tony Bastable presented Magpie, an ITV children's magazine show set up to challenge the BBC's more staid Blue Peter. Though he later produced and presented many other programmes, he was always recognised as "the man from Magpie". Passionate about cricket, he founded a wandering side called Magpies CC in 1972, and his zest and humour suffused the team. He also qualified as an umpire and became a leading member of the Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers until the organisation lurched into crisis in 2006, and he joined a breakaway grouping. He remained an influential voice against a takeover by the ECB, but it occurred after his death.

BEDNALL, PHILIP MALCOLM, who died on December 18, 2007, aged 76, made his debut for South Australia in 1948-49 at the age of 18 years 22 days, after only two A grade games for the Prospect club. But he played only twice for the state and scored just 32 runs.

BELLE, BRIAN HENRY, died on February 27, 2007, aged 92. A tenacious righthander, Belle played 26 times as an amateur for Essex in the 1930s before devoting himself full-time to teaching: he became headmaster of Orwell Park prep school in Suffolk, following his father-in-law in the post. Belle's finest hour came only a week into his Essex career, at Huddersfield in July 1935: after demolishing the eventual county champions Yorkshire for just 31, Essex were 65 for five themselves before Belle put on 174 with Stan Nichols. "Belle started badly, and might have been out half-a-dozen times in his first ten minutes," wrote J. M. Kilburn in the Yorkshire Post, before adding sadly: "but he was not, and such introductions usually mean long acquaintanceships." Belle's 63 remained his highest score for Essex, though he did make 70 for Oxford University against Surrey in 1936, which helped him secure the Blue he had missed the previous year. He resisted stoutly for 48 and 26 in the Varsity Match. Belle helped Suffolk to their first Minor Counties title in 1946, and captained them for five seasons from 1949. He also won soccer Blues in 1935 and 1936, and played for the Corinthians, the leading amateur side of the day.

BHADBHADE, RAVINDRA GANGADHAR, died in May 2007, aged 75 or 76. He was a batsman and occasional off-spinner who played 11 matches for Maharashtra in the 1950s.

BHASKARAN, B. B., who died on October 9, 2007, aged 78, played five firstclass matches for Kerala in the early 1960s. A middle-order batsman, he was spectacularly unsuccessful, bagging a pair in his first match, against Madras, and only one of his eight innings produced more than two runs. He did manage one wicket.

BLACK, GRAHAM ASH, who died on July 9, 2007, aged 83, was given an extended trial as a middle-order batsman for South Australia in six matches over two successive seasons from 1949-50. He made 115 runs at 11.50, his best effort being 33 against Queensland at Adelaide in his initial innings. Subsequently, he became a director of his family's Adelaide shoe company.

BREARLEY, HORACE, who died on August 14, 2007, aged 94, was a batsman who played once for Yorkshire before the war, and twice for Middlesex afterwards: he was Yorkshire's oldest player when he died. Brearley was a teacher, latterly at City of London School, where his pupils included his son Mike, who achieved greater cricketing celebrity. One former pupil told the BBC: "If Mike went in to bat for England during his lesson, he would take us off to the TV room to watch." Mike himself tells the story of his father's only game for Yorkshire, which was against Middlesex: "He batted at No. 5, and faced a side that contained three leg-spinners. Horace had never, or almost never, been confronted by a googly bowler, and here were three all at once. But he was a typical Yorkshireman, and his comment about the occasion was to complain that Len Hutton kept pinching the bowling. One might have thought that this would have suited him fine."

BROCKLEHURST, BENJAMIN GILBERT, died on June 17, 2007, aged 85. Ben Brocklehurst captained Somerset in 1953 and 1954 with abject lack of success: they finished bottom both years. His greatest contribution to cricket came in 1962 when he persuaded his employers Mercury House to buy The Cricketer magazine, then in danger of closure. Ten years later he bought it himself and maintained it until 2003. It was never a great money-maker, though it did provide the basis for a thriving travel business and for one of the game's happiest ideas: the National Village Championship, which Brocklehurst nurtured in good times and bad. He also founded The Cricketer Cup, for public school old boys, and a national colts' trophy. Brocklehurst had an adventurous war - he was mauled by a bear in Kashmir and, at 24, found himself a brevet lieutenant-colonel in charge of 2,000 Japanese PoWs. His cricket was less serious, though as a hitter he was intermittently devastating, on one occasion demoralising a strong Hampshire attack in a benefit match at Hartley Wintney, when he rewrote the normal rules of engagement for these games by hitting a double-century for the local team, with 17 sixes; and his finest 75 minute s for Somerset came when he blazed 89, as an opener, against the 1954 Pakistanis. As a county captain, he perhaps belonged more to the 1930s than the 1950s, and his first-class average of 15 was insufficient to sustain his leadership at a time when other small clubs were becoming more professional. Richard Hutton married his daughter Charmaine, and so - along with Sir Leonard - he was grandfather of Ben Hutton, who became captain of Middlesex.

BROMLEY, PHILIP HARRY, died on February 21, 2007, aged 76. Phil Bromley was a right-hand batsman and off-spinner who made his debut for Warwickshire on his 17th birthday in 1947. He made spasmodic appearances after that, not helped by National Service in the RAF, but had a run in the side in 1952 which included a patient unbeaten 121 against Essex - his only century. He failed to pass 40 again that summer, and was dropped before the end. Although he took five for 61 at Worcester in 1953, he left the staff after another low-key season the following year: "a sad case of a brilliant young talent which failed to flower", according to his team-mate (and best man) Jack Bannister in the 1990 county history. Bromley played on for Warwickshire's Second Eleven for another dozen seasons, often captaining them.

BROOKS, THOMAS FRANCIS, OAM, died on July 16, 2007, aged 88. Tom Brooks played 16 post-war matches for New South Wales as a bouncer-loving fast bowler, but is better remembered as an umpire - an unusual transition in Australia. Brooks stood in his first first-class game in 1967-68, when he was already 48. But within three years he was one of Australia's top umpires, standing in five of the six Ashes Tests played in 1970-71. He was also due to officiate in the rained-off Melbourne Test, which was replaced by what became the first official one-day international. Brooks took charge of that, along with Lou Rowan. He was authoritative and decisive with a nice line in wit (he once told a fellow umpire "I always like my colleague to go into the dressing-room first, in case there is someone waiting behind the door with a bat.") He umpired 23 Tests and spent a summer (1977) in the English County Championship, under a short-lived exchange scheme. But just over a year later he dramatically retired, at lunch on the final day of the 1978-79 Perth Ashes Test - a game in which he gave several disputed decisions. Brooks admitted that "the old mental and physical machines weren't synchronising". (The Cricketer summed up: "In other words, his nerve had gone.") However, he continued umpiring both in Sydney schools and the lower grades well into his eighties, acting as a mentor to new umpires and upholding standards of dress and conduct among young players, all of whom, like the young Mark Taylor, addressed him as "Mr Brooks". He also played and umpired baseball, officiating at interstate level, and spent 41 years in clerical jobs for the old Australian telephone monopoly.

CARTWRIGHT, THOMAS WILLIAM, MBE, died on April 30, 2007, aged 71. Tom Cartwright was a cricketer's cricketer. Perhaps no player of his generation had so much respect from his colleagues - for his abilities, his character, which was forceful without being abrasive, and his love and knowledge of the game. Not everyone was so appreciative: committee men often thought him truculent, and he played only five Tests for England, a figure that does no justice to his skills or his standing. Cartwright grew up in Coventry, and the family were forced out of their home for a month by wartime bombing. He himself started work in the Rootes car factory, but Warwickshire had spotted his batting, and in 1952 he accepted a pay cut to join the then county champions. He made his first-team debut, at Trent Bridge, when he was just 39 days past his 17th birthday, and made an unflustered 82 - no one younger had scored a Championship fifty since 1906. There was no instant stardom: immediately afterwards, he returned to his Rootes. The next season was harder when he was promoted to open and could not quite sustain the position. National Service followed, and it was 1958 before Cartwright finally made a century, 128 against Kent, and secured his first-team place. He was bowling his inswingers more now, and at Dudley the following summer came what he regarded as the pivotal moment of his career: "I just ran up and the ball swung away," he told his biographer Stephen Chalke. "It was the first time I'd done that since I left school. The miracle was that I knew exactly what I'd done." In 1959 Cartwright scored 1,282 runs and took 80 wickets, was chosen for the Players, long-listed for the Caribbean tour, and talked about as Trevor Bailey's successor; Warwickshire leapt up the table. After an injury-hit year in 1960, he returned to form with both bat and ball, and in 1962 became the first Warwickshire player to do the double since 1914. After a near-miss in 1963, he finally made his Test debut in the Old Trafford Ashes Test of 1964 when both teams passed 600. But Cartwright ("England's best bowler" - Wisden) stoically got through 77 overs and enhanced his reputation, and attracted approving murmurs again in the rain-ruined draw at The Oval. He was picked for that winter's South African tour, but struggled with both injury and his distaste for apartheid - he was, then and always, left-wing in his politics. The following summer, Cartwright played twice more, taking six for 94 on the opening day at Trent Bridge when everything was overshadowed by Graeme Pollock's batting. Before the close, he broke his thumb attempting a return catch: though he kept going and took two more wickets, he would never play another Test match. His batting fell away in time but his bowling, on uncovered county pitches, remained awesome, and he averaged less than 20 for eight of the next ten seasons. He had a rare mixture of unrelenting accuracy, cunning and skill, which included the ability to bowl an inswinger from close to the stumps and an outswinger from the wings. Perhaps no one ever thought more about the art and craft of bowling. All this was recognised in 1968 when Cartwright was picked again, this time - astonishingly - in the touring party for South Africa from which Basil D'Oliveira was omitted. There was a huge furore, and Cartwright was battling a shoulder injury, a reluctance to be away from his young family and his ambivalence about the morality of touring South Africa at all. Originally, he told Chalke, he believed the tour should go ahead, but then he saw a news item saying the whole white parliament in Cape Town had stood and cheered when the exclusion of the nonwhite D'Oliveira was announced. "When I read that, I went cold," he said. It for ever remained unclear, perhaps even in Tom's mind, which reason was uppermost for his withdrawal - though the injury was the one cited publicly. The rest really is history: D'Oliveira replaced him, South Africa cancelled the tour, and England would not play another Test against them until 1994. Cartwright came back as strongly as ever for Warwickshire in 1969 and, amidst some messy committee-room manoeuvring, had the chance to become the county's captain and/or coach. But he was attracted by an offer to coach at Millfield and play for Somerset, and defied precedent by fighting off an attempt by his former employers to make him qualify for a year. In 1972 he was appointed Somerset's player-coach, and became the mentor of the club's thrilling new generation until his refusal to kowtow before committee men led to a row in the toilet with the club chairman, and then the sack. He had already settled in his wife's home town of Neath and now he moved to Glamorgan, where he played for a while in 1977 before concentrating on the job of cricket manager, a rather thankless task, until 1983. Then, much more happily, he became director of coaching for the Welsh Cricket Association, a job he held for 23 years. Cartwright remained in charge of the Under-16s until he had a heart attack while shopping; he died a few days later. Generations of youngsters will remain grateful to him: "He always had time, always had faith in me," said Ian Botham. But nothing will match the admiration of his contemporaries: "Tom was a master of his craft," wrote David Green. "His incredible accuracy caused some people to classify him as 'negative'… I cannot see how you could be negative if you have five close catchers and bowl every ball at the stumps."

COOMBS, PETER WILLIAM GEORGE, who died on August 9, 2007, aged 78, built what was probably the world's most intricate model cricket ground at his Hertfordshire home. It featured three pitches with differing playing characteristics, as well as stands, scoreboards and a replay screen, a pavilion with a long room containing paintings and trophies, and a library complete with readable Wisdens.

CORNOCK, WALTER BERKLEY, died on November 20, 2007, aged 86. Wally Cornock was born in Sydney but his English-born parents soon took him back home. He spent the 1948 season with Leicestershire, when his right-hand batting proved more productive than his left-arm medium-pacers (he finished bottom of the national averages), then returned to Australia at the end of the season. Cornock became an important figure in Sydney's Cumberland club, which he captained for three seasons from 1959-60 during Richie Benaud's absences with the Australian team. He also served as both president and secretary of the club, where he continued to play until his mid-fifties. The sightscreen which he constructed on the Cumberland (now Parramatta) home ground will be named in his honour.

CRAIG, HARTLEY SAMUEL, who died on August 26, 2007, aged 89, was a left-handed batsman in grade cricket who played just one first-class match. It was a famous one, however. As a flight sergeant in the RAAF, he was chosen to open for the Dominions against England in the 1945 match at Lord's lit up by Miller, Donnelly and Hammond. Craig provided the hors d'oeuvre with 56, and 32 in the second innings.

CRANSTON, KENNETH, died on January 8, 2007, aged 89. Ken Cranston's first-class career was brief - less than 18 months as a regular player - but he packed a remarkable amount into it. He played his first Test less than two months after his first-class debut, took four wickets in an over in his second Test, captained on his fourth appearance, and won eight caps in all. Cranston had been a fine player at Liverpool College - Lancashire's coach, the former England batsman Harry Makepeace, thought he was the most gifted boy he ever came across - and hit 289 in a club game while still at school. He scored a century for Lancashire's Second Eleven against Yorkshire in 1938, and would in all probability have made the full county side sooner had war not intervened. Instead he served in the Navy, and was 29 when, out of the blue, he received an invitation to captain Lancashire as an amateur in 1947. His father agreed to keep their dental practice ticking over for a while, as he had done during the war, and Cranston stepped into county cricket. A natural athlete who was also a fine hockey player, he had immediate success as a hard-hitting batsman and a handy change bowler, making 79 in his first match, against Oxford University, and taking five for 32 against Kent in his second. A few weeks later Cranston was a surprising choice for the Third Test against South Africa at Old Trafford. Some tight bowling kept him in the side for Headingley, where he polished off the second innings with a quadruplewicket maiden (W0W0WW), which probably saved his place for the final Test. John Arlott wrote: "His bowling was ordinary enough: taking a 12-yard run-up from behind mid-off, he bowled high with a wristy flap which gave him some pace off the wicket." Yet he finished the season not far short of the double - 1,228 runs and 84 wickets - and Lancashire came third in the Championship. His style had its critics: "he had no pretensions to leadership", wrote local reporter John Kay, while others felt he did not consult enough. The Lord's hierarchy was impressed, though, and Cranston was named as vice-captain for the winter tour of the West Indies. He led the team in the First Test when 45-year-old Gubby Allen was unfit. Cranston's tour figures were unspectacular, although Wisden said he was "by far" England's best all-rounder. His response was to decide he had fulfilled himself in cricket. "I knew I was a reasonable player, and it is only by playing first-class cricket that you find out just how good you are," he said later. "I did enough to satisfy myself. I went to the West Indies at the end of my first season, and it was when I came back that I decided to give it just one more year. It was all an anticlimax after that. I had a family growing up, and I wanted to establish myself in dentistry." In 1948 he again threatened to get the double - 1,063 runs and 79 wickets this time - and returned to the England side for the Fourth Test at Headingley, being one of the suffering bowlers as Don Bradman's "Invincibles" famously scored 404 on the final day to win. (Bradman reputedly asked him for advice about his teeth.) And, at the end of the season, Cranston did indeed retire. He continued playing for his club, Neston, and occasionally turned out at the Scarborough Festival, clattering 156 not out in his first match back, for MCC against Yorkshire in 1949, going in at No. 8. Cranston carried on his dental practice, in the Aigburth house in which he was born, until 1990, and was Lancashire's president in 1993 and 1994. At the time of his death he was the oldest England Test cricketer, a mantle he passed to Surrey's Arthur McIntyre.

CRUSH, EDMUND, MC, died on June 9, 2007, aged 90. Eddie Crush played 45 matches for Kent in the late 1940s, as an adaptable, accurate bowler and tail-end hitter. Crush had one magnificent match at the 1948 Canterbury Festival, when he scored 78 in 92 minutes, batting No. 9, and took six for 50 to make Hampshire follow on. The wickets all came in a spell of 11-5-12-6 on a rain-freshened pitch. Later that month, in front of 19,000 people on the same ground, he dismissed Bradman (morally) twice in the same innings. Bradman admitted years later that he had bottom-edged a catch off Crush to Godfrey Evans, but no one appealed. Crush eventually had him caught by Bryan Valentine for 65. Crush took 36 more wickets in 1949, but did not appear again, confining himself to club cricket and coaching. He won his MC after the D-Day landings: as a subaltern in the Royal Engineers, he battled on for two days despite shrapnel wounds to clear the route into the German stronghold of Caen. The citation referred to "his courage and determined leadership". Crush was later a Kent committee man and a devoted club player and coach in his home town of Dover. He lived in a house called "Half-Volley" and asked to be cremated in his Kent blazer and Hoppers club tie.

DAYAL, KAILASH, died after being hit by a car while on his way to umpire a match in Hong Kong on July 22, 2007. He was 73. Kay Dayal played two Ranji Trophy matches for Rajputana as a fast bowler in the 1950s before moving to the Far East. He lost an eye when he was struck by a ball in 2006.

DEENIK, STEWART MICHAEL, who died of cancer on August 25, 2007, aged 34, was an umpire who stood in eight first-class matches in South Africa, and the Youth World Cup final of 1998.

DENNING, PETER WILLIAM, died of cancer on July 17, 2007, aged 57. "Dasher" Denning was an important member of the charismatic Somerset side of the late 1970s, instantly recognisable by his corn-coloured thatch of unruly hair, often above a droopy moustache. A lefthander usually wearing pads that were too big for him, Denning teased the fielders with scurried singles, and infuriated the bowlers with idiosyncratic strokeplay, notably a fierce unorthodox cut that was christened the Chewton Chop, after his birthplace of Chewton Mendip (where, appropriately enough, his father was the butcher). A superb fielder - the nickname "Dasher" came from his speed - Denning was part of the Somerset team that won the Gillette Cup and clinched the Sunday League on successive days in 1979, and he was on the winning side in four of his five Lord's finals. He was a reassuring presence in first-class cricket, too, often opening with Brian Rose, a team-mate since Somerset Under-12 days. "To me Peter epitomised all that should be good in a professional cricketer," said Rose. "He was hard, stubborn, and made it difficult for the opposition - especially when he growled at them." Denning made eight first-class centuries, and five more in one-day cricket, but is perhaps best remembered for his 98 against Gloucestershire at Taunton in 1980, when he and Ian Botham put on 310. Botham made 228. "For most of the time I just sat on my bat and let Both get on with it," said Denning afterwards. A knee injury forced him to retire in 1984, after which he worked for an agricultural company.

DE SOUZA, RICHARD MAURICE, died of cancer on October 11, 2007, aged 59. De Souza was part of the Trinidad & Tobago side which won the Shell Shield in 1970-71, and was perhaps unlucky to miss out on Test cricket. A solid middleorder batsman with a particularly handsome on-drive, he made three centuries for T&T, two of them in 1971-72. But when a vacancy arose in the West Indian side that season it was filled by Alvin Kallicharran - as little as De Souza was large - and his chance had gone. He went into business, and was treasurer of the T&T board for 24 years.

DEWHURST, JOHN LINDON, died on January 5, 2007, aged 89. Lindon Dewhurst was a legend in Accrington, as a batting stalwart of their Lancashire League team from 1937 to 1962. He captained the side for 11 seasons, stepping down in 1961 after leading them to their first title in 45 years.

DIXIT, SUBHASH, died on June 9, 2007, after jumping from the sixth floor of a building in Kanpur, apparently depressed at being unable to find a place in the Uttar Pradesh Ranji Trophy side. He was 22. Dixit captained India to victory in the Asian Cricket Council Under-15 Trophy final in Malaysia in July 2000, beating Pakistan in the final. Protesters blocked the road outside the mortuary (using Dixit's body as the roadblock, according to reports), calling for the local cricket association to pay compensation to his family and offer his sister a job. The association did announce a Rs 100,000 payment (about £1,300) and said it would name the state Under-17 cricket tournament in his memory.

DUNKS, GEOFFREY, who died on December 29, 2006, aged 73, was a director of John Wisden and Co from 1985 to 1993. He was appointed as a representative of McCorquodale, the printers who had acquired the company. Not everyone at McCorquodale had much appreciation of this remote corner of their empire; Geoff Dunks was a welcome exception. "He was a kind and considerate man who cared for Wisden's best interests and its staff," said John Wisden's managing director, Christopher Lane.

EGAN, JOHN BRYAN COLDEN, died of a brain tumour on July 12, 2007, aged 66. Jack Egan was trained as an accountant before becoming an innovative sports historian, obtaining the rights to old newsreels to tell the stories through film. In 1983 he produced The Bradman Era (1983), using Bill O'Reilly's voice to supply the narrative. This was followed four years later by The Story of Cricket in Australia. In 1990, Bradman granted him one of his rare interviews which Egan turned into a 90-minute documentary. Among his books were a biography of Steve Waugh, One Who Will (2004), and Spirit of the Ashes (2006). Egan scored more than 8,000 runs in 30 seasons with the Sydney I Zingari club, many of them with a boomingly lofted on-drive. He was helpful and modest as well as knowledgeable.

EVANS, CAROLE ANNE, who died on October 14, 2007, aged 68, was a fastmedium bowler from Wales who played three women's Tests for England in Australasia in 1968-69, taking four for 45 to set up a narrow victory in the last, at Auckland.

EVERS, RALPH DENIS MARK, DFC, died on August 29, 2007, aged 94. An amateur batsman who usually opened, Denis Evers played 15 pre-war matches for Worcestershire without much success, although he did make 60 not out against Nottinghamshire at New Road in 1938, one of four games in which he deputised as captain. Evers also played rugby for Moseley and was the Worcestershire squash champion three times.

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