Martin Willis Stovold
December 28, 1955, Almondsbury, Gloucestershire
May 11, 2012, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, (aged 56y 135d)
Left hand bat
Martin was the younger of the two Stovold brothers, who prior to the Gidmans today, were the last brothers to play in the same Gloucestershire team together. He was a left-hand batsman and a very occasional off-spinner, who played 25 first class matches for the county, with a top score of 75 not out versus Oxford University at The Parks in April 1980.
He was very much a Gloucestershire boy, having been born in Olveston in 1955 and attended the local primary school before going on to Thornbury Grammar School, where his prowess as a cricketer and a footballer first attracted the local scouts. He followed brother Andy to Loughborough in 1974 and, having qualified as a teacher, his first appointment was at Cotham Grammar School where he taught PE and Geography.
Martin then joined the Gloucestershire staff and in the winter of 1979 he succeeded Andy as Cricket coach at Wynberg School in Cape Town. Initially he flitted between Cape Town and Gloucestershire, playing and coaching cricket in the two summers, but after being released by Gloucestershire he decided that the warmer climes of Cape Town were more to his liking, albeit the real truth perhaps was that he had then met Di, his wife to be, at the local Claremont Cricket and Hockey Club disco. Hence he continued to coach cricket at Wynberg, a school blessed with sporting talent in abundance, and it was here that he nurtured the precocious skills of a very young Jacques Kallis.
Martin and Di married in Cape Town in 1985 and soon after being married they considered the idea of moving to England on a permanent basis. Martin asked Andy if he knew of any potential school cricket jobs and incredibly, at the very same time, Richard Morgan, the Head Master of Cheltenham College, was asking Chris Coley if he knew of any suitable candidates for the job of Cricket Professional at Cheltenham College. An interview took place over the phone and by the end of the call the appointment was made.
Martin joined the College as their Cricket Professional in 1986 and took over as Master i/c Cricket in 1993. Under his stewardship, cricket flourished at every level and the College was able to put out more XIs than many other similar schools. He was responsible for the development of so many cricketers including Mike Cawdron and Dominic Hewson, who both went on to play county cricket for Gloucestershire.
The Pavilion, and indeed the new electronic scoreboard and improvements to the front of the pavilion were initiatives driven by him, and are testament to his commitment to Cheltenham College and the game of cricket. Members of every XI since 1843 are listed on boards in the Pavilion - he did all the research in archives. He introduced the planting of a tree at the College for any pupil who scored a century or took 7 wickets in a match - there are trees planted around College Field for members of teams from Yearlings D up to the XI.
Martin was one of the old school and set very high standards of dress and behaviour on and off the pitch for all teams. He was a great believer in the importance of team ethic believing that this is an essential ingredient of a pupil's development. Indeed, he was a true sportsman.
Martin was also a valued member of the Geography Department and was Housemaster of Newick House for 18 years. He ran a tight ship, but it was a happy and successful house and he was extremely well liked and respected by the parents. Needless to say, in his time Newick House excelled in House Pots in all sports.
Over the past years he has had to contend with a debilitating lung disease, but he was determined to control his illness rather than let the illness control him and hence he carried on manfully with all his College duties until a few days before he died. He will be remembered for his loyal service to Cheltenham College, for his great sense of humour, for not suffering fools gladly, for his friendship and for being diabolically bad at giving tips for the races! At the same time he was a leading member of The 'Yesnowaitsorries' Racing Syndicate and, as an owner, he really did think that he was entitled to know just when his horse was going to win!
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