Francis Reginald Pountain
April 23, 1941, Eastleigh, Hampshire
January 19, 2007 (aged 65y 271d)
Right hand bat
Right arm medium
Bob Pountain enjoyed his happiest day as a Sussex cricketer some four decades after his career ended. Despite making 76 first-class appearances this powerful allrounder was never capped and felt hard done by. He seldom visited Hove and never attended the old players' reunions. But he was delighted to receive belated recognition in 2004 when Sussex presented a numbered cap to each of their former players. "I've finally achieved my lifetime's ambition," he said.
Pountain made his debut in 1960, a week after his 19th birthday, when he contributed 16 to a stand of 128 with Graham Cooper for the ninth wicket against Warwickshire. He appeared twice more that season and established himself in 1961 with 384 runs and 35 wickets with his deceptive right-arm seamers. He never made more first-class appearances in a season than he did that year (21). Pountain had trouble with the scales and at one stage cut his run-up to conserve energy. In the winter of 1963, when he should have been felling trees for the former Surrey captain Stuart Surridge, he was told to go on a crash diet and lost two-and-a-half stone, most of it pedalling away on a static bike in the old Hove General Hospital. Jack Arlidge, the doyen of the Hove press box, nicknamed him 'Man-Mountain Pountain'. 'Bob' remains a mystery.
Things might have been different had he scored a century. He got to 96 at Glastonbury against Somerset in 1964 but missed out. "I got a bit over-anxious," he later confided. He loved trying to get under the skin of opponents but occasionally the joke was on him. He stuttered when he got over-excited and his leg-before appeals would cause much mirth in the deckchairs.
Pountain played in two Gillette Cup semi-finals but never made it to Lord's. He later became a union rep when he worked for the Post Office, a job to which he was well suited. He retired to Woodingdean in Sussex and bravely fought cancer. He leaves a wife and son.
Bruce Talbot, The Wisden Cricketer
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