Obituaries in 1997

ASHMORE, FAVELL MAY, died on April 30, 1997, aged 79. Fay Ashmore worked for MCC for 40 years up to 1986, first as personal assistant to the secretary, Colonel R. S. Rait Kerr, then in the museum. Her late husband, Bill, played twice for Middlesex. She is believed to have been the first woman to act as scorer at Lord's, in 1944.

AVERY, ALFRED VICTOR, died on May 10, 1997, aged 82. Sonny Avery played 268 matches for Essex between 1935 and 1954 and, after the war, joined forces with Dickie Dodds to give the county one of the circuit's most durable opening partnerships. Avery was the neater, more solid player of the two, though inclined to make mistakes. Doug Insole recalled that, if asked what the ball did when he got out, Avery would shrug and say: Nothing much, skip. Lazy old shot. Sometimes he was right, and many judges thought that Avery only needed more steel to have been a really good player. He made 79 for The Rest against an England attack headed by Voce and Bedser in a Test trial at Canterbury in 1946. He was a good player of in-swing and a powerful cutter who held the bat low down and often suffered injured hands as a result. Avery coached briefly at Gloucestershire and then at Monmouth School; Dodds visited him in hospital days before he died.

BALL, PETER, who died of leukaemia on November 11, 1997, aged 54, was an innovative journalist who pioneered coverage of participation sports while sports editor of Time Out. He later moved to Lancashire and covered northern football and cricket for The Times. His books included two editions of The Book of Cricket Quotations (with David Hopps); he also ghosted Graeme Fowler's autobiography, Fox on the Run.

BARKATULLAH KHAN, who died of cancer in October 1996, aged 29, was a fast-medium bowler who took 263 first-class wickets for Karachi and National Bank. As a youngster, he took 66 wickets for National Bank when they won the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in 1986-87. He toured Zimbabwe that year with the Pakistan B team. Barkatullah played on until 1993-94 despite a serious leg injury - reportedly caused when he hit it on the corner of his bed. Doctors eventually recommended amputation, an option he rejected.

BAYLEY, HENRY PETER, died on December 29, 1996, aged 80. Peter Bayley was a batsman from British Guiana who scored 268 against Barbados in 1937-38, which stood as a team record for almost 60 years until eclipsed by Shivnarine Chanderpaul. He put on 381for the fourth wicket with C. S. Persaud. Bayley toured England in 1939 without getting in the Test team or making much impression. He later became a radio commentator.

BEWICKE, MAJOR CALVERLEY, died in February 1997, aged 82. Verly Bewicke kept wicket for Eton in 1932 and 1933 and played for Free Foresters and I Zingari. He was also a well-known racehorse trainer who trained who trained the first mare to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Kerstin in 1958.

BLAND, ROBERT DENNIS FRASER, who died on April 10, 1997, aged 85, was a left-arm medium-pace bowler who had a good record at Shrewsbury School, and made 33 appearances for Nottinghamshire as an amateur between 1929 and 1934. He later became a stockbroker.

BOND, ANDREW, who died on July 28, 1997, aged 60, was instrumental in bringing cricket to the Costa Blanca. He was a founder of two clubs, Javea and Sporting Alfas. Bond retired to Spain, having previously played league cricket to Milnrow.

BOWLING, KENNETH, died on December 7, 1997, aged 66, having just gone for his regular five-mile jog. Ken Bowling was a prolific batsman for Leyland who played one game for Lancashire in 1954 but failed to cement his place against competition from contemporaries like Bob Barber and Geoff Pullar. He was the nephew of the Lancashire and England player Jack Iddon.

Bradman, Lady, died on September 14, 1997, aged 88. Jessie Bradman was the beloved wife of Sir Donald for 65 years. He called it the greatest partnership of my life. Jessie Menzies grew up on a farm in Glenquarry, New South Wales, and at 11 was sent to school in Bowral, eight miles away. To cut down the travelling, the Bradman family agreed to let her stay at their house during the week. It took Don and Jessie just over ten years to graduate from playmates to man and wife. By the time they were married, Don was already cricket's biggest name; their honeymoon was spent on a tour of North America where she met a succession of Hollywood stars. Throughout Bradman's glorious but often troubled career, she remained staunch. He was desperate to guard her privacy but in the early years she was a very public figure and sometimes had to fulfil quasi-monarchical duties; she did so with a natural ease and grace. The Bradman's elder son died soon after his birth, and their other children both survived serious illnesses. She was never heard to complain, certainly not when she herself became gravely ill. Lady Bradman was a good horsewoman, tennis player and golfer herself; later she became a silversmith and worked hard for charity.

BRAGGER, JUNE, who died on June 27, 1997, aged 68, played five women's Tests for England between 1963 and 1966. She later became an umpire.

BRATCHFORD, JAMES DAVID, died on a plane returning from the US on October 5, 1997, aged 68. Jim Bratchford was a Queensland stalwart of the 1950s who was close to a place on the 1956 England tour, but was hit all round the SCG in a Test trial, and overlooked. He remained a successful Shield player, as a forceful bat and lively swing bowler who achieved the Australian double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in his career. He scored two centuries, and took six for 57 against Victoria in 1958-59. Bratchford was from the Toombul club and came up with Ken MacKay and Wally Grout. He captained Queensland in his last season, when he came third in the Shield bowling averages.

BULLOCK, KENNETH REGINALD, died on June 29, 1997, aged 70. Ken Bullock, who was born in Portsmouth, went to Canada as a child and was for many years one of the country's leading cricket figures. He was a useful wicket-keeper and played club cricket for half a century. He served as the country's ICC delegate for 14 years.

BURKE, CECIL, died on August 4, 1997, aged 83. Cec Burke, known as The Burglar- for his wicket-taking methods rather than a non-cricketing sideline - bowled well-flighted leg-breaks for Auckland and played for New Zealand in the Test against Australia at Wellington in 1945-46. He dismissed Bill Brown and Keith Miller. Burke toured England in 1949, taking 54 wickets on the tour including six for 23 against Derbyshire, but Tom Burtt was chosen ahead of him in the Test team.

CAMERON, EWEN HENRY JOHN, who died on January 12, 1997, aged 75, was a country schoolteacher and left-arm medium-fast bowler from upcountry Otago. Cameron was belatedly given his chance to play for the province in 1953-54 when he was 32. On his debut he bowled 32 overs and took two for 30, but was chosen for only four more matches. He was famous locally for writing musicals.

CASSELS, FIELD MARSHAL SIR ARCHIBALD JAMES HALKETT, DSO KBE GCB, who died on December 13, 1996, aged 89, was a successful schoolboy batsman at Rugby, and played five first-class matches for the Europeans in India and the Army, with a highest score of 72 against the RAF in 1932. He led the liberation of Le Havre and St. Valéry, became GOC of the 51st Highland Division and eventually Chief of the General Staff.

CASTEL, FREDERICK, died on May 17, 1997, aged 88. Fred Castle was the headmaster of Oldfield Boys' School in Bath who began playing for Somerset aged 37, and turned out mostly during the holidays in the four seasons after the war, captaining the side twice. At county level, his batting was only moderately successful - he averaged barely 20 - but his good nature and his range of accomplishments made him a popular figure. He was a skilful raconteur and baritone, and rivalled Jack Mercer as the best performer of card tricks the county circuit ever saw.

CATCHLOVE, WALTER EVERED, who died on April 12, 1997, aged 90, scored an unbeaten 103 for South Australia against Queensland in 1931-32. He played eight other matches for the state in the early 1930s.

CHEETHAM, ALBERT GEORGE, died on May 23, 1997, aged 81. Bert Cheetham bowled the first ball for Australia in the first Victory Test at Lord's in 1945, and took seven wickets in three of these celebratory games. He played 20 times for New South Wales before the war, taking 35 wickets and making a top score of 85.

CHIVERS, ALFRED PERCIVAL, died on July 11, 1997, aged 88. Perce Chivers was a fast-medium bowler who took ten wickets for 145 in his three first-class matches for Victoria in 1929-30. However, he was never given a Sheffield Shield game. His wife of 64 years died the day after he did.

CLARKE, CHARLES CYRIL, who died in 1997, aged 86, played 25 games for Derbyshire between 1929 and 1933, and three for Sussex in 1947, but failed to pass 35 and did not bowl. He undoubtedly had ability at club level: he moved to Kendal to play and coach and was known as the Conjuror, because he was magic on the field. He later managed a white-elephant shop.

COMBES, GEOFFREY ARTHUR, who died on February 4, 1997, aged 83, was a slow left-armer who played eight matches for Tasmania in the 1930s and one in 1946-47. Playing for a Tasmania Combined XI against MCC in 1936-37, he outbowled Clarrie Grimmett, taking one for 50 in 22 overs during an innings when Barnett and Hardstaff cut loose.

CONSTABLE, BERNARD, who died on May 15, 1997, aged 76, was one of the unsung heroes of the great Surrey side of the 1950s. He played 434 matches for the county, starting in 1939 and finishing in 1964, and indeed got better as he aged. His best season came in 1961, when he was 40 and had had a kneecap removed: he scored 1,799 runs that year. As a batsman, he was technically correct and outstanding against spin, a vital skill given the pitches Surrey prepared in that era. He was a brilliant cover point, and a first-rate student of cricket's intricacies. He knew the game inside out and every first-class player inside out. said Micky Stewart. I learned more about cricket from Bernie Constable than from anyone else. He will be remembered best as an Oval character. Though his family were boat builders, by the Thames at East Molesey, he was regarded as the epitome of the cock-sparrer Cockney, an image he played up to with his confident strut round the field and his willingness to argue with anyone, including his captain, Stuart Surridge. On your toes, Bernie, Surridge once shouted when Constable slipped on a sodden outfield at Leicester. On me toes? he roared back. I'm on me knees. He would complain just as loudly if he disagreed with Surridge's field placings. What do you need three of them over there for? Give'em a fourth and they can play cards. The highlight of his career might have been the unbeaten 205 - in under five hours - he made against Somerset at The Oval in 1952. But it was probably the moment he ran two against Glamorgan, while Wilf Wooller was debating with the umpire about whether a disputed catch was fair or not.

CUMBERBATCH, CHESTER ST CLAIR, died in September 1996, aged 82. Chessie Cumberbatch appeared for Barbados as a batsman in the 1930s. He played only five matches, but these included the two games against the MCC team in 1934-35. His best score came in his last match: 59 against British Guiana in 1938-39.

DICKINSON, DAVID CHRISTOPHER, who died on August 25, 1997, aged 67, opened the bowling for the Cambridge team that won the 1953 University Match.

DIVE, MARY CLOUSTON, OAM, died on September 10, 1997 aged 84. Mollie Dive was captain of the Australian women's team in all her seven Tests, winning three and losing only one. She made two fifties, and led the team to victory over England in the 1948-49 series.

DIXON, PATRICK LESLIE, died on November 5, 1996, aged 80. Les Dixon played 30 matches for Queensland, and had some success as a fast-medium bowler before the war. He took 26 wickets in his first season, 1936-37, including five for 66 against South Australia and, though he never did as well again, missed only two matches over four seasons. He was a wartime pilot before being shot down and captured by the Germans. He returned to the Queensland team later but found wicket-taking more difficult, and retired to concentrate on banking. In his mid-seventies he could shoot his age at golf.

DYAL, REDVERS DUNDONALD, died on May 7, 1997, aged 96. King Dyal was a lovable exhibitionist and one of the sights of Barbados. He attended every major match at Kennington Oval for four decades: a tall, slim, pipe-smoking figure wearing a brightly-coloured suit, which he would change at each interval before making a re-entrance that would often attract more attention than the cricket. He claimed never to have worked in his life. He died in poverty and was buried at sea; former West Indies Cricket Board president Peter Short delivered a eulogy.

ELGOOD, BERNARD CYRIL, died on July 10, 1997, aged 75. Bruno Elgood was in the 1948 Cambridge side and made hundreds against Sussex and Middlesex.

FARMAN, ROY NEWSON, who died on July 1, 1996, aged 69, was a left-handed batsman who captained Auckland to the Plunket Shield in 1958-59. He was 31, had played only two first-class matches before that season, and was a completely unexpected choice to lead the side. However, in his first match he scored a battling unbeaten 96 against Wellington and, though he never repeated that success, he proved a shrewd leader and kept the team happy. His form declined the following year, and he dropped out of first-class cricket after just 11 matches.

FENNER, DEREK ALFRED, who died on September 6, 1997, aged 63, played just one first-class match, for Cambridge University in 1954, but bowled left-arm spin in Surrey club cricket for nearly half a century. He became headmaster of Alleyn's School.

FREWIN, LESLIE, who died on August 27, 1997, aged 80, was the head of publicity of Elstree Studios, whose stunts included having a mink bikini designed for Diana Dors to wear at the Cannes Film Festival. Frewin was chairman of the Lord's Taverners for three years, and his 32 books included The Boundary Book, a successful celebrity anthology which raised a huge sum for charity when it was first published in 1962.

GALLOWAY, PAUL WARREN, who died on August 20, 1996, aged 52, after a long illness, was a gritty if unstylish opening batsman for South Australia when they won the Sheffield Shield in 1968-69. He made four fifties, including 78 against New South Wales, and regularly paved the way for big innings by Les Favell or the Chappells. But he played only two games after that season.

GIBSON, NORMAN ALAN STANLEY, died on April 10, 1997, aged 73. Alan Gibson was one of the most remarkable men ever to broadcast or write about cricket. He was president of the Oxford Union and gained a first in history. Perhaps no one has brought more literacy or classical knowledge to the reporting of any game. Men with his background expect to become cabinet ministers at least, and Gibson often seemed conscious of this; a sense of failure may explain the demons that regularly afflicted him. He came from an unmoneyed background - his father was a Baptist preacher - and joined BBC West Region in 1948 in search of security. It became clear that he was a natural broadcaster, with a honeyed voice, a wonderful sense of cadence, a turn of phrase and an eye for the telling detail. In 1962 he was finally promoted to Test Match Special. When Gibson commentated on the same match as John Arlott, listeners were given a stream of description, wit, and both general and cricketing erudition that remains unsurpassed. Unfortunately, Gibson had the same weakness as Arlott without the same capacity to conceal it. Finally, the incidents of drunkenness on air became too reckless, and he was dropped - without ever being told why. He did, however, have a second flowering as his county match reports in The Times attained cult status. He described his experience at or going to the cricket with occasional, tangential references to the actual game. There was generally some disastrous experience to report from Didcot Station, where he usually had to change trains. There was the mysterious GRIP (The Glorious Red-headed Imperturbable Pamela), the barmaid in the Hammond Bar at Bristol. And he baffled Peter Lees, who ran the press bar at Lord's, by rechristening him Bardolph. The overall result was usually uproarious. He was, however, capable of ignoring some peripheral event like a century or a hat-trick; and as the years went by, humourless sub-editors lost patience.

Despite his taste for drink - perhaps a reaction against his Nonconformist background - Gibson was not a clubbable man. He rarely went into press boxes, and would sit alone, fending off bores, writing his copy in fountain pen while nursing a gigantic whisky, cleverly diluted so that it looked like a half of lager. Eventually, after his second marriage had broken down, he drifted into a nursing home, and in the last years the shadows took over. Much of his life - Didcot might have been a metaphor - was a source of torment as well as humour. He had a spell in a psychiatric hospital, which he wrote about in his autobiography A Mingled Yarn. His history, The Cricket Captains of England, was a wonderful read. He was a Liberal candidate in the 1959 election and remained a Baptist lay preacher. Gibson spoke at Sir Neville Cardus's memorial service in 1975 and read from William Blake:

Joy and woe are woven fine

A clothing for the soul divine.

Under every grief and pine

Runs a thread of silken twine.

It perhaps summed up Alan Gibson's own life better than Sir Neville's.

GREENE, EDMUND ARNOLD, died on May 20, 1997, aged 76. Soldier Greene was a Barbadian bowler who was surprisingly quick off ten paces and dismissed four batsmen, all of whom played Tests, on his debut for Barbados against Trinidad in 1943-44. He played eight first-class matches in all.

GUY, JOHN BERNARD, who died on February 7, 1997, aged 80, was a batsman who played six matches for Oxford University in the two seasons before the war, without getting a Blue, and one match for Kent in 1938. He also appeared twice for Warwickshire in 1950.

HAMPSHIRE, JOHN, who died on May 23, 1997, aged 83, was a fast bowler who played for Yorkshire Second Eleven for many years in the 1930s but got only three chances in the first team, all in 1937. He took five wickets in all - the last of them Denis Compton's - for only 109. Hampshire became a police sergeant in Rotherham and captained Rotherham Town in the Yorkshire League. His son John played for England.

HANLEY, ROBIN, was found dead in a hotel car park at Eastbourne on September 12, 1996, aged 28. He played five matches for Sussex between 1990 and 1992 as a middle-order batsman. His highest score in county cricket was 28, but he was a prolific scorer in both second-team and club cricket, making three hundreds for Sussex Second Eleven in 1990, and a double-century for Eastbourne in the Sussex League in 1992. Hanley was working at the hotel as a waiter when he died and apparently fell from the fourth-floor window of his room. At the inquest, the coroner, David Wadman, recorded a verdict of accidental death, having found no evidence of heavy drinking or drugs, nor any reason why Hanley should take his own life: he had been looking forward to going to Spain to be with his fiancée. I suspect Robin went to the window to open it further ... Whether this is what happened, or he leaned out to take the air, we will never know, but he lost his balance.

HARBOTTLE, BRIGADIER MICHAEL NEALE, OBE, who died on May 1, 1997, aged 80, played one innings in his only first-class match, and scored 156, for the Army against Oxford University at Camberley in 1938. Harbottle emerged as a talented left-handed batsman at Marlborough. He was rejected by the Navy because of bunions, but these did not bother the Army and he became captain of the Sandhurst XI. In the 1960s he became chief of staff for the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus and was later an organiser of Generals for Peace and Disarmament.

HARRIS, WILFRED ERNEST, who died on December 4, 1996, aged 77, appeared for Glamorgan in 1938 while still a schoolboy. He played only five games in all, the last in 1947, but was an all-rounder for the powerful St Fagans club for half a century.

HARVEY-WALKER, ASHLEY JOHN, was shot dead in a bar in Johannesburg on April 28, 1997, aged 52. A gunman apparently walked in, shouted his name and fired when he responded. It was a bizarre end for an engaging cricketer associated with the good humour of the Derbyshire dressing-room in the 1970s. Harvey-Walker made an immediate impact when he became the first Derbyshire player to score a century on debut. This came on the less than fierce occasion of a match against Oxford University at Burton-on-Trent in 1971 when he was already 26. Though he played 81 matches over eight seasons, he was rarely sure of his place, and his successes were spasmodic. He was a fine striker of the ball and once hit Pat Pocock on to the top deck of the Oval pavilion; the fast bowlers, however, usually found him out. John Arlott once christened him Ashley Hearty-Whacker, though the Derby press box usually preferred Ashley Harvey-Wider, a reference to his occasional off-breaks. These, however, came good spectacularly at Ilkeston in 1978. Derbyshire went into the match without a recognised spinner and found themselves on a disintegrating pitch; Eddie Barlow gave Harvey-Walker the new ball, and he took seven for 35 as Surrey collapsed for 77 - though Derbyshire still lost. Harvey- Walker will be best remembered for the incident in the famous match at Buxton in 1975, when Derbyshire were caught on a snow-affected pitch with the ball bouncing dangerously. He handed something wrapped in a hanky to umpire Dickie Bird: his false teeth. As the ball looped to short leg when he was seven, Harvey-Walker is supposed to have let out a gummy cry of Catch it! After retirement, he played in the Bradford League then emigrated to South Africa. He worked as assistant groundsman at The Wanderers and only a month before his death helped prepare the pitch for the Test against Australia. He also had an interest in an inner-city bar, a business prone to produce murderous disputes.

HAYNES, MICHAEL WILLIAM, who died on September 18, 1997, aged 61, played nine matches for Nottinghamshire as a batsman between 1959 and 1961.

HURST, GORDON THOMAS, who died on July 5, 1996, aged 75, was a leg-spinner who played nine games for Sussex between 1947 and 1949, but was then much troubled by a shoulder injury. He took six for 80 against Warwickshire at Hove in his first season.

JAGDISH LAL, who died on March 3, 1997, aged 75, played for six different teams in the Ranji Trophy: Northern India, Hyderabad, United Provinces, Services, Patiala and Railways: he was a railway official, frequently transferred. He shared an opening stand of 273 with Nazar Mohammad against North-West Frontier Province in 1941-42, which remained a Ranji record for 28 years. Jagdish's son, Arun Lal, played 16 Tests for India in the 1980s.

JAYARATNE, MAHINDA PARAKRAMA, died on March 15, 1997, aged 29, two days after being shot by a gunman who arrived by motorcycle at his home in Sri Lanka. Jayaratne was a medium-pace bowler for North-Western Province and Kurunegala between 1989 and 1993, and when he was killed was running the campaign for a candidate in municipal elections.

JENNINGS, JACK, who died on April 11, 1997, aged 94, was Northamptonshire's travelling physiotherapist for many years. He was also the masseur on England's tour of Australia in 1965-66 and to the UK team at three Olympics. Jennings had particular faith in the restorative properties of sherry and raw egg. Before concentrating on cricket, he had been trainer of Northampton Town FC and was caretaker manager for the club's first three games ever in the Second Division after they were promoted in 1963: they won them all.

JEPSON, ARTHUR, who died on July 17, 1997, aged 82, was a miner's son who left his pit village to play for Nottinghamshire just before the war and rapidly established a reputation as a medium-paced bowler and lower-order slogger. He mostly bowled at the other end from Harold Butler and, though he could not match Butler's pace, swung the ball sharply enough to take 1,051 wickets before he retired in 1959. He switched to umpiring the following year, and that was enough to turn Jeppo into a minor institution. He umpired four Tests, and controlled games with a booming voice and a lugubrious air - half-weary, half-humorous - that was all his own. The most famous Jeppo anecdote concerns the 1971 Gillette semi-final at Old Trafford which went on past nightfall. Jack Bond, the Lancashire captain, complained about the light. What's that up there? asked Jepson. The moon, said Bond. Well, how far do you want to see then? came the triumphant answer. David Lloyd was once bowling for Lancashire when Jepson said to him: I hope you don't mind me mentioning this but you're the worst bowler I've ever seen. Fred Price was a bad'un, but you're worse.

KEITH, HEADLEY JAMES, who died on November 17, 1997, aged 70, was a left hand batsman, strong off the back foot, who was an important component of the powerful Natal batting line-up of the 1950s. Keith failed to make a successful transition into Test cricket, though he toured both Australia and England, and in 1952-53 became the first South African to score two centuries in a match in Australia: against Victoria at the MCG. He made his debut in the Melbourne Test, scoring 40 not out to seal victory and square the series; he also made 57 in the Lord's Test of 1955 and 73 at Leeds two Tests later. Both times he was watchful rather than dominant. Keith played eight Tests in all, but did little in the others. He was a useful slow left-armer at Currie Cup level.

KISCHENCHAND, GOGUMAL HARISINGHANI, who died on April 16, 1997, aged 72, was a small right-handed batsman, with an ungainly stance, who was a prolific scorer in Ranji Trophy cricket but had a disastrous record in Test cricket. He played five times for India, and on every occasion was out for a duck. In Australia in 1947-48 he was out for nought in each of his four second innings; recalled at Lucknow against Pakistan five years later, he got nought in the first innings. He did score some runs, including 44 in the low-scoring and rain-ruined Test at Sydney, but his Test average of 8.90 compares oddly with his overall average of just under 50. He represented Sind, Saurashtra, Baroda, Gujarat and Delhi in the Ranji, and also played for Hindus in the Bombay Pentangular.

LAMB, DAVID, who died on October 15, 1997, aged 58, after being mugged in Paris, had been secretary of Cumberland since 1992.

LEABEATER, LEONARD RAYMOND, died on June 1, 1996, aged 89. Len Leabeater scored 128 in 146 minutes, including 100 between lunch and tea, on his first-class debut for New South Wales against Tasmania in 1929-30. He played three Shield games in 1931-32 when the Test players were away, and scored two fifties, but work demands prevented him playing any more, and he finished his first-class career with 315 runs at an average of 45.00.

LEDWARD, JOHN ALLAN, MBE, died on July 22, 1997, aged 88. Jack Ledward was secretary of the Victorian Cricket Association for 20 years, and of the Australian Cricket Board of Control for six, from 1954 to 1960. He captained the Richmond club and played for Victoria for five seasons before the war, scoring 76 on his debut against Tasmania in 1934-35.

LEESON, PATRICK GEORGE, who died on May 12, 1997, aged 81, played one match for Worcestershire in 1936.

LITHGOW, Lt-Col WILLIAM SAMUEL PLENDERLEATH, who died on August 8, 1997, aged 77, played for Oxford in 1939 but did not gain a Blue. Later, asked what he had read, he said cricket and rugger. He became a highly successful chef d'équipe and chairman of selectors of the British Olympic equestrian team.

LORD, REGINALD ARTHUR, died on June 10, 1997, aged 92. Rex Lord had a 50-year association with St. Bede's Prep School, Eastbourne - he was still teaching four mornings a week when he was 88 - and developed the cricket interests of generations of boys. He played a single first-class match in each of the three years he was at Oxford, though the last was against the university, for H. D. G. Leveson Gower's XI.

MACPHERSON, ARCHIBALD IAN STEWART, who died on April 20, aged 83, played four times for Scotland in 1934 and 1935. He was a well-known surgeon.

McWATT, CLIFFORD AUBREY, died on July 12, 1997, aged 75, after a car crash in Canada. Cliff McWatt played for British Guiana from 1943-44 to 1956-57, and was one of the wicket-keepers tried by West Indies after Clyde Walcott injured his back and was forced to give up the job. McWatt was a useful left-hand batsman and a nimble keeper, who was Walcott's deputy on the 1948-49 tour of India but did not get his Test chance until five years later. Then he played in all five Tests against England in 1953-54, making some useful runs at No.8, though his chancy style led one headline writer to call him McCatt - for his many lives. In Georgetown, his eighth-wicket stand with J. K. Holt (who was to die a few days before him) might have saved the follow-on. But with the stand on 99, McWatt was run out. Though McWatt himself later said he was out by about two yards, the crowd began hurling missiles at the umpire, Badge Menzies, and play was halted for ten minutes. McWatt was chosen once more against Australia a year later. He emigrated to Canada in 1986 but remained a close follower of the game.

MAKHIJA, SEWARAM MULCHAND, who died on October 27, 1997, aged 78, was a well-known umpire in Indian domestic cricket in the 1950s and 1960s.

MANLEY, MICHAEL NORMAN, who died on March 7, 1997, aged 72, was prime minister of Jamaica from 1972 to 1980 and again from 1989 to 1992. Cricket was one of his many enthusiasms; he was present at Sabina Park as a ten-year-old when Manny Martindale broke Bob Wyatt's jaw. While out of power in the 1980s, Manley wrote A History of West Indies Cricket, which was factually flawed but notable for its understanding of the game's cultural context.

MANT, GILBERT PALMER, who died on February 16, 1997, aged 94, was the last surviving journalist who covered the Bodyline tour in 1932-33. He was Sydney-born but working in London for Reuters, who chose him ahead of the future Wisden editor. Sydney Southerton, to cover the tour for both them and the Press Association. With few newspaper correspondents there, he was thus the major source of information for people in Britain. Unfortunately, Douglas Jardine ignored him; when Mant introduced himself on the Orontes, Jardine simply said I see and returned to his book. Mant's Australian accent did not help and, as the tour developed, he did not have enough of a reputation to break out of the factual straitjacket of the agency reporter and denounce England's tactics. He wrote a book, A Cuckoo in the Bodyline Nest, which Reuters refused to let him publish when he told them it would be anti-Jardine. It finally appeared 60 years later, when he was in his nineties, by which time it added little new information. When Mant returned to Australia, he had a successful career as a war correspondent and columnist: The Way I See It appeared in the Sydney Sun for many years.

MARKS, LYNN ALEXANDER, who died suddenly on December 7, 1997, aged 55, was a hard-hitting left-handed opener. His finest hour came when he made 185 for New South Wales at the Adelaide Oval in 1964-65 and shared a second-wicket stand of 378 with Doug Walters. He played the next year for South Australia, then returned to New South Wales, and was close to selection for the 1968 tour of England. The following season Marks was hit in the face by a bouncer from Laurie Mayne of Western Australia, suffered a fractured cheekbone, and retired from the game. His father Alec and his brother Neil also hit centuries for New South Wales. Neil said: Lynn believed the opener's job was to wear the shine off the new ball. He tried to do it by bouncing the ball off the roads outside the oval.

MILLER, Dr HAMISH DAVID SNEDDON, died on April 24, 1997, aged 54; he had had a history of heart trouble. Miller was an English-born, South African-bred, quickish out-swing bowler who played for Glamorgan from 1963 to 1966 in between spells with Western Province and Orange Free State. Peter Walker recommended him to Glamorgan after watching him in South Africa. Miller was a sort of prototype one-day cricketer, a good lower-order hitter and field. He became an expert in mining engineering, and eventually head of the mining department of the University of Missouri.

MUZZELL, JACK KENDALL, who died on August 11, 1996, aged 90, was a fast bowler for Border from 1928-29 to 1934-35. He took 11 for 109 against Natal at Queenstown in 1929-30. His sons Peter and Robbie were also first-class cricketers.

NAYLOR, JOHN EDWARD, who died on June 26, 1996, aged 65, was a slow left-arm bowler who played once for Yorkshire in 1953.

NAYUDU, PRAKASH, who died on March 12, 1997, aged 60, played 14 matches for Madhya Pradesh, making his debut in 1957-58, with a score of 64 against Vidharba. He was India's junior table tennis champion and the son of C. K. Nayudu, the country's first Test Captain. He later became a senior police officer.

NYALCHAND, SHAH, who died on January 3, 1997, aged 77, was a left-arm medium-pace bowler who had remarkable bowling figures in his only Test for India. He was chosen to play at Lucknow against Pakistan in their second official Test and, on a jute-matting pitch, bowled 64 overs and took three for 97. However, Nazar Mohammad carried his bat and Pakistan won by an innings. Nyalchand never played for India again. He remained a stalwart in the Ranji Trophy for more than two decades, making his debut for Western India in 1939-40, going on to play for Gujarat and then captaining Saurashtra. In the last match of the 1961-62 season against Baroda he took 11 for 64, including a hat-trick spanning both innings. Frank Worrell once called him the king of matting wickets.

OAKES, JOHN YPRES, died on July 4, 1997, aged 81. Jack Oakes was born at Horsham, where his father was groundsman, on March 29, 1916, as the British struggled to hold on to the town that gave him his middle name. He grew into a burly cricketer, who bowled off-breaks and hit the ball hard, though more often for quick forties than for major scores. He joined Sussex in 1937, and returned after the war, but often lost his place when there was a surfeit of amateurs, and he left acrimoniously in 1951 after he was accused of not trying in a Second Eleven match. He went on to play for Northumberland and became groundsman at Tynedale. He and his brother Charlie constitute one of the many pairs of brothers to have played for Sussex.

OSBORNE, HAROLD, died on November 9, 1997, aged 87. Ossie Osborne was Sussex's honorary librarian and archivist for 21 years.

PARKER, ANTHONY JOHN, died on October 30, 1997, aged 71. John Parker was a gregarious broadcaster and journalist whose varied career included being locked up by the Rhodesian government, a spell as sports editor of Independent Television News, and reporting county cricket for the Sunday Times. He wrote the Tillingfold series of novels, updating Hugh de Selincourt's classic, The Cricket Match. The fourth of his six children was Paul Parker, who played one Test for England.

PARRIS, JAMES LAMBERT, died on May 29, 1997, aged 91. Puss Parris was a Barbadian leg-spinner who was highly successful in club cricket and played 15 matches for the island over a 21-year span from 1925-26.

PARTRIDGE, REGINALD JOSEPH, died on February 1, 1997, aged 84. Reg Partridge was a stalwart of the Northamptonshire attack throughout the worst years of the club's history. Partridge, from Wollaston, took a day off from his boot factory to attend a trial in 1929, only to discover that no one from the club had turned up to watch him. He came back a second time, more successfully, and began a career more wearying than work in any factory. He finally retired from first-class cricket in 1948, just before the club's revival, having played 277 first-class games for a team that had won only a handful of them. Partridge bowled medium-pacers, sometimes varying them with off-breaks, which provided his best figures: nine for 66 against Warwickshire in 1934. He took 638 wickets, one of them the most prized of all - when Bradman came to the County Ground in 1938. The Western Brothers, a variety duo who wrote topical songs at the time, marked the occasion:

Partridge must feel such a cocky young bird

Bradman is out for two!

He batted as dependably as anyone in the team's continual crises. Partridge remained a local celebrity: he became groundsman at the well-appointed British Timken company ground outside Northampton and led the firm's team to six County League titles in eight years in the 1950s.

PRATT, DEREK EDWARD, who died on January 10, 1997, aged 71, was a batsman and leg-spinner from South London who played club cricket for Banstead and got nine games for Surrey between 1954 and 1957, some of them alongside his brother Ronnie. He later played for Bedfordshire.

PRICE, CHARLES FREDERICK THOMAS, who died on January 19, 1997, aged 79 was a member of the Australian Services team of 1945. He was a with the team throughout its exhausting schedule, including the tour of the Australian states. Price was an unorthodox left-arm bowler, who bowled quickish chinamen and kept a very steady length. He played in the first two of the Victory Tests in England, took seven useful wickets for 99, scored 35 in the first innings at Lord's from No.10 and was batting with Cec Pepper when the Australians completed their thrilling win. Price played 14 first-class matches for the Services, but moved upcountry on his return home and never appeared in a major fixture for his home state, New South Wales.

PROVIS, THOMAS ANTHONY JAMES, died on June 8, 1997, aged 77. Tom Provis was born in Birmingham and flew into Denmark with the liberation forces to settle and become one of the country's most prominent cricketers. He was the only non-Dane to play in the so-called continental Tests against Holland before 1983, and he took 1,371 wickets in Danish cricket at barely nine runs each. He served in many roles as an administrator and co-wrote The Story of Continental Cricket in 1969.

PUTNER, FRANK WILLIAM, who died on March 25, 1997, aged 84, played 11 games for Middlesex in 1933 and 1934. In 1934 he scored 126 not out for the MCC Young Professionals in the annual fixture against the Young Amateurs. He later ran various pubs in London and the Home Counties.

RAPER, JAMES RHODES STANLEY, died on March 9, 1997, aged 87. Stanley Raper ran a West Riding wool business and was captain of the Yorkshire Second Eleven from 1939 to 1948, in an era when that was a position of some prestige and authority in itself. He also captained the first team in one of his three first-class appearances: he led a weakened side to Yorkshire's first defeat against Nottinghamshire in 24 years, at Bramall Lane in 1947. Five of his grandsons played for the Harrow XI, and four of them captained the side against Eton at Lord's, as did his son Brian.

ROBINSON, GLENN, who died on January 19, 1997, aged 16, from meningitis, was one of the most promising young players in County Durham. He was a first-team player for the Durham Senior League club Philadelphia and was expected to represent the county Under-17s in 1997.

ROY, AMBAR, who died on September 19, 1997, aged 52, from malaria, was a left-hand batsman who played four Tests for India, against New Zealand and Australia, in 1969-70. He scored a fighting 48 in his first Test innings, but did little thereafter. However, he was an effective Ranji Trophy player for almost two decades: perhaps the most talented left-hander to come from Bengal. He was a Bengal selector for 15 years and was credited for spotting the talent of Sourav Ganguly. He was also a national selector from 1984 to 1986. Roy was a nephew of the Indian opening batsman Pankaj Roy.

SCHOFIELD, BRYAN, who died on October 27, 1997, aged 62, had been sponsorship manager of Cornhill Insurance since 1983 and an important figure in Cornhill's continuing support for Test cricket in England.

SCOTT, Lt-Col HAROLD ELDON, who died on January 29, 1997, aged 89, was an all-rounder who played four matches in 1937, two for the Army and two for Sussex. His father and brother were also first-class cricketers.

SCOTT-BROWNE, IAN FREDRICK BACHE, who died on January 4, 1997, aged 69, after many years of illness, was a businessman and Surrey committee member who moved over to become secretary of the county from 1978 to 1988. He was among the pioneers of modern cricket administration, placing emphasis on the need for commercialism - though he was still paid an old-fashioned, uncommercial, salary. He had been captain of Streatham CC and a four-handicap golfer.

SEEDAT, DAWOOD MOHOMED, who died on May 1, 1997, aged 71, captained Natal in the segregated non-white tournaments of the 1950s. He was a fast-medium left-armer who once took six for ten, including a hat-trick, against Eastern Province.

SEWTER, JAMES WALTER, died on October 26, 1997, aged 81. Jim Sewter was a genial pipe-smoker who brought an air of relaxed calm to county scoreboxes for most of his 19 seasons as Worcestershire scorer, though the calm dissipated after the introduction of computers. He continued scoring until the month before he died, and recorded the unbroken partnership of 438 between Graeme Hick and Tom Moody in his final match. He had previously been transport manager for the British Sugar Corporation in Kidderminster. This job was busiest in the winter, when the harvested sugar beet came in, enabling him to have time off for cricket in the summer, when he bowled fast for Kidderminster in the Birmingham League.

SHEFFIELD, JAMES ROY, died in New Zealand on November 16, 1997, aged 90. Roy Sheffield was probably the only Essex wicket-keeper ever to be arrested on suspicion of being a Bolivian spy. He was a small, agile man who kept wicket in 177 games for Essex between 1929 and 1936. Though he was an efficient keeper, Sheffield's batting shone only intermittently - he scored 85 not out on his debut against Warwickshire, and made a century at Hove in his last season, but did little in between. Sheffield was more notable for his off-season adventures. In 1932-33, while England's most famous cricketers were involved in the Bodyline series, he was working as a cowboy in South America and trying to canoe down the River Paraguay. There was a war going on between Paraguay and Bolivia, and the Paraguayans arrested Sheffield and locked him up until a British businessman intervened. He later wrote a novel based on the incident, entitled Bolivian Spy? A year later he spent two months walking through the Drakensberg Mountains and Basutoland. Essex did not retain him after 1936 and he left for New Zealand, meeting his future wife on the boat, and never returned to England. He played three games for Wellington in 1938-39, but later concentrated on his canoeing. He competed in the 50-mile Waikato River Marathon when he was well into his eighties; the Essex secretary Peter Edwards visited him in 1992 and described him as astonishingly fit. He died a few days after his daughter, a BBC producer who had been visiting him, was knocked off her bike and killed.

SHERRARD, PATRICK, who died on January 11, 1997, aged 78, was a first-class cricketer for one week in May 1938. He turned out for Cambridge against Northamptonshire and, on finishing there, set off for The Parks, where he scored 53 for Leicestershire against Oxford. He also won a rugby Blue.

SKINNER, ALFRED GRAHAM, who died in 1997, aged 86, played for Buckinghamshire between 1928 and 1952. He also served in India and scored 125 for Bengal against Nawanagar in the 1936-37 Ranji Trophy final.

SMITH, CYRIL GERALD DOUGLAS, who died on December 7, 1997, was a member of the Worcestershire committee from 1926 to 1976 and a club trustee until he died. He helped guide the club's finances through some very difficult years.

SMITH, FRANK BRUNTON, died on July 6, 1997, aged 75. Brun Smith, otherwise known as Runty, was a small, aggressive batsman who was a crowd favourite in Christchurch and played four Tests for New Zealand, two of them on the England tour of 1949. He made a vital 96, full of wristy square cuts, in just two hours at Headingley, and an unbeaten 54 in the second innings. During his 96 he is supposed to have warned the slips: I'll hole out to one of you jokers before long. He often did, but not that time. After scoring 23 at Lord's, he lost his place to John Reid. Smith had reached his peak the previous season at home when his three Plunket Shield matches for Canterbury included 153 in 163 minutes against Otago and 146, only slightly slower, in Auckland. He was principal of various primary schools in Christchurch. His father Frank and son Geoff also played for Canterbury, making them the province's only three-generation family. Dick Brittenden wrote of him: He was often lucky, if the failure of a startled slips fieldsman to catch a crimson blur soaring overhead can be regarded as luck for the batsman ... Brilliance in stroke production, eagerness to get on with the game, beautiful fielding and a cheerful and engaging personality made Smith one of the most popular players of his day. He would have been remarkable in any generation.

SPENCE, ROBERT, who died on February 17, 1997, aged 76, was treasurer of the Queensland Cricket Association from 1963 to 1988. He was also scorer in 150 first-class matches, including 16 Tests.

SPERRY, JAMES, died on April 21, 1997, aged 87. Jim Sperry was a miner at Bagworth Colliery who came up to bowl quickish left-arm in-swing for Leicestershire from 1937 to 1952. He took seven for 19 against Hampshire in 1939, but even as a 41-year-old in 1951 managed 62 wickets at 22 each. He appeared frail, but would bowl loyally until the point of fatigue, wrote Philip Snow. A rather lugubrious, pallid countenance hid unfailing amiability. He was a man of excellent team spirit. Sperry was the oldest Leicestershire cricketer when he died.

SPOONER, RICHARD THOMPSON, died on December 20, 1997, aged 77. Dick Spooner did not play first-class cricket until he was 28, but then established himself as Warwickshire's wicket-keeper/batsman for more than a decade. He was a wicket-keeper in the modern style, agile rather than elegant, but he also had the enormous plus of his no-nonsense left-hand batting. Usually, he opened the innings, and in Warwickshire's title-winning season of 1951 he topped their averages as well, scoring 1,767 Championship runs, with four centuries. He was picked for the 1951-52 tour of India, when England sent a substandard team, and played in all five Tests, scoring 71 and 92 at Calcutta. He had no chance of being picked ahead of Godfrey Evans, and played only two further Tests, both times when Evans was injured: at Port-of-Spain in 1953-54, and The Oval in 1955, when England wanted left-handers to counter Trevor Goddard's defensive bowling. In that game he got a pair but did not concede a bye. Contemporaries, however, considered him the perfect deputy, and in Cricket Cauldron Alex Bannister called him a grand team man, who was more concerned than anyone for Evans's welfare on the West Indies tour. Spooner was one of several north-easterners to join Warwickshire after the war. He was loud on the field, with definite views on most cricketing subjects, and a distinctive broken nose. In retirement, he became a groundsman in Devon.

SPRING, LEICESTER RUSSELL, who died on May 31, 1997, aged 88, was a fast-medium bowler who played three matches for Auckland in 1936-37 and twice dismissed Walter Hadlee. He founded the Whakatane Beacon newspaper and by 1953 was able to buy his first racehorse, Rising Fast, which won nine races out of 11, including the Melbourne Cup.

STOCKER, SIR JOHN DEXTER, MC TD PC, who died on December 27, 1996, aged 78, was an all-round cricketer who represented Westminster School and Wimbledon CC. He became a Lord Justice of Appeal and, in 1993, President of Surrey.

STOCKER, SIR JOHN MONTAGUE, GCMG KCVO, who died in January 1997, aged 85, was the last Governor of Barbados and the first Governor-General. As a colonial official in the Caribbean, his skill at cricket - as well as his deep distaste for racial barriers - made him a popular figure. He captained St. Lucia in the Windward Islands tournament of 1951-52 when he was the island's administrator. He had played for Harrow against Eton in 1930.

SUNNUCKS, PETER REGAN, who died in February 1997, aged 80, played 66 times for Kent in the 1930s and two more in 1946. He opened the batting at Colchester with Arthur Fagg in 1938, when Fagg scored two double-hundreds; Sunnucks put on 283 with him in the second innings before being run out for 82. Sunnucks himself scored just one first-class century, 162 against Nottinghamshire the previous season.

TATE, CECIL FREDERICK, who died on August 7, 1997, aged 89, was a slow left-armer who played four matches for Derbyshire in 1928 and seven for Warwickshire in the early 1930s. He was the younger brother (there was a 13-year gap) of Maurice Tate and son of Fred, both of whom played for England.

TAYLOR, NORMAN CYRIL, who died on April 20, 1997, aged 90, was a member of the Worcestershire committee for about 40 years, and was one of the instigators of the tradition of tea in the Worcester ladies' pavilion. He claimed to have seen all or part of every Worcestershire home match since 1926.

THOMAS, JOHN BRINLEY GEORGE, OBE, died on April 11, 1997, aged 79. Bryn Thomas was probably the best-known journalist in Wales. He was chief rugby writer of the Western Mail for 36 years; his prose was knowledgable, if verbose, but he was known everywhere as simply JBG. In the summer he wrote widely about cricket, partly as Arthurian of the Daily Telegraph, and as the Glamorgan correspondent for Wisden from 1979 to 1984.

TOWNSEND, DAVID CHARLES HUMPHERY, who died on January 27, 1997, aged 84, was the last man to play cricket for England without ever playing for a first-class county. Townsend was picked for the 1934-35 tour of West Indies on the strength of his form for Oxford University. He played, opening each time with Bob Wyatt, in the last three Tests of the series, and top-scored with 36 in the second innings of his debut when England were all out for 107. But his highest score otherwise was 16. The Townsends were a cricketing dynasty: six members of the family have played first-class cricket, including David's grandfather Frank, his father Charles, and his son Jonathan; Charles Townsend also played two Tests, in 1899. No other family is known to have produced four generations of first-class cricketers. David Townsend was steady rather than outstanding amongst a gifted generation at Winchester, and was ill during his first summer at Oxford. But, in 1933, he blossomed with 734 runs, including 195 against the Free Foresters, and Wisden approvingly noted his fine physique, his patience, his power and his attractive range of strokes. The following year he hit peak form when it then mattered, at Lord's: his 193 remains the sixth-highest score in the 152 official University matches. In style and impact, it was overshadowed by a blistering hundred from F. G. H. Chalk, but it was enough to gain him an invitation from MCC for the winter. Thereafter, he went back to Norton-on-Tees, County Durham, where he was born and died, and took over the family law firm in Stockton. He practised as a solicitor for more than 50 years and played for the Norton club and Durham, whom he captained from 1937 to 1947.

VAVASOUR BT, COMMANDER SIR GEOFFREY WILLIAM, DSC, who died in July, aged 82, played one first-class match for the Combined Services, at Northampton in 1947.

WANSBOROUGH, SYLVIA NANCY, who died on August 13, 1997, aged 82, toured Australasia with the England women's team in 1948-49 when she was Nancy Joy, but played no Tests. She later campaigned on behalf of former mental patients, and for the provision of sheltered employment as part of their rehabilitation.

WARBURTON, ROBERT, died on June 17, 1997, aged 70. Bob Warburton was a member of the Lancashire administrative staff for 44 years up to 1991. He was assistant secretary for 35 years and developed the Supporters' Association.

WEBSTER, JACK, who died on October 25, 1997, aged 79, was a Harrow School master briefly elevated to be captain of Northamptonshire in the middle of the 1946 season when Peter Murray-Willis resigned. He led the team on his Championship debut. As a fast-medium bowler, he continued playing for the county in holiday time for the next ten years, occasionally deputising as captain. Webster had won Blues at Cambridge for both cricket and soccer.

WESTON, ALAN GIBBONS, who died on June 10, 1997, aged 89, played five games as an amateur batsman for Leicestershire in 1933 and 1934.

WHITTAKER, GEOFFREY JAMES, died on April 20, 1997, aged 80. Geoff Whittaker joined Surrey before the war and was still on the fringe of the team when they began to dominate cricket in the 1950s. He was a big hitter who struck nine sixes when he made 148 at Northampton in 1949; his highest score, 185 not out against Kent in 1951, took only four hours. That was his best year, and he scored 1,439 runs - with 32 sixes - but, as Surrey began their seven Championship seasons, his form fell away. He left in 1953 to become coach at Victoria College, Jersey, where he lived for the rest of his life.

WILLIAMS, ERNEST ALBERT VIVIAN, died on April 13, 1997, aged 83. Foffie Williams was a Barbadian all-rounder who played four Tests for West Indies, all against England: one in 1939, the others in 1947-48. He was primarily a bowler who could vary his pace quite markedly from very sharp to slow-medium, but his two most famous performances came with the bat. In 1935-36 Williams scored 131 not out and shared an eighth-wicket stand of 255 for Barbados against Trinidad with Manny Martindale. In 1947-48 he came into the Test team as a late replacement for Frank Worrell, and hit the first six balls he faced in the second innings for boundaries: 6644 off Jim Laker, and then two more fours off Jack Ikin. He reached 50 in half an hour, and finished with 72 in 63 minutes. Williams played football for Barbados and became the country's chief sports officer. He was a man of firm views on many subjects, and strongly opposed the life ban on West Indian players who went on the rebel tour to South Africa; he stopped going to Kennington Oval in protest.

WINWOOD, THOMAS LAWSON, who died in November 1997, aged 87, was an amateur who played 18 matches for Worcestershire in the early 1930s. Batting at No. 7, he made 104 in just two hours against Hampshire at Worcester in the county's last home match of 1930.

WREFORD-BROWN, ANTHONY JOHN, who died in 1997, aged 84, played a handful of first-class games for various teams in the 1930s, including Oxford University and Sussex. He was a well-known sociable cricketer and taught generations at Charterhouse, where he was a housemaster for 15 years. His father was one of the last of the great Corinthian footballers.

© John Wisden & Co