1993 Notice – Cedric Gunnery
After the heady successes of 1992, 1993 was only an average year for the Club on the field; we won 14 matches, drew 15 and lost 15. Of the 9 which did not take place, rain accounted for most but there was one unusual disappointment when a touring side, although known to be in England, failed to arrive on Agar’s. Students of the actual scoresheet for the match shown in the enclosed statistics as a tie might query the arithmetical skills of the (non-professional) scorer: the official explanation given by the host is that the sides’ scores were within half a dozen runs of each other and that there had never before been a tie on that ground.
Rory Macleay was once again the leading run scorer, but there was a new name at the head of the batting averages, representing the over-40s, that of Bruce Powell. Andy Watt was handily placed, even if he was aided by no less than 7 not outs, and it was good to see a return to serious run-making by Charlie Birch-Reynardson.
Rupert Gouriet, as usual, bowled the most overs and took the most wickets; like many Rambler opening bowlers, past, present and no doubt future, he considers his batting to be seriously underrated by all match managers, and his claim to be considered a genuine all rounder was enhanced by an innings of 43* — by some way his highest to date for the Club. The bowling averages were headed by Tom Parnell, closely followed by Richard Farquhar, Tom Fleming, Andy Watt and two newcomers, Alex McGougan and Piers Millar; the latter played a few games for Cambridge earlier in the summer and will surely take a lot of wickets for the Ramblers in the future.
In the twenty five or so years since we started keeping a record of catches and stumpings there have been some very high totals, many of them achieved by the new Sunday Telegraph Crossword Editor, but 1993 provided a record of a different kind; the leaders were the Hon. Sec. and two others, each with a mere 6. Match managers are notoriously bad at ensuring that such details are entered on the scoresheet — unless, of course, they feature personally — and ‘catchers’ are advised to check for themselves.
I am very sad to report that 1993 was the last year of the Yorkshire Week, revived 24 years ago by Kenneth Hedley and run for the last 16 by John Consett. Many of us who played regularly in the Week, from David Macindoe to Harry Steel — a span of nearly 60 years in age — had a wonderful time and some very good cricket; but unfortunately it did not throw up any Yorkshire Rambler of cricketing age to take it on. John found it increasingly hard to run the week after he himself had stopped playing, and when his Recruiting Sergeant Rory Macleay, who in recent years produced six or more of the younger generation — and made most of the runs himself — was posted to the Far East on business, he decided (with the full support of the Hon. Sec. and me) that the time had come to call a halt. In recording the thanks of the Club to John and Heather Consett (and not forgetting John’s father Peter in the early years, in whose case it was all the more remarkable as he had been at Dartmouth not at Eton), for their splendid hospitality at Brawith, may I express the hope that it is not too long before one of the many Rambler families in Yorkshire produces a son who will want, once again, to revive the Week.
The hostage I gave to fortune in these notes last year, by saying “… we may of course lose in the first round next year — we only just beat Bradfield in 1991” may not have been wholly responsible, but lose we did. The weather was wretched, and if it had not been a knockout competition everyone would have gone home immediately after lunch, but the two captains decided, quite rightly, that they would get a result that day if it were humanly possible. The start was delayed by heavy overnight rain and the number of overs was reduced from 55, by two bites, to 40. The sun came out once or twice, but the rest of the day varied between sharp showers and light drizzle, and hardly an over was bowled, by either side, with a dry ball. The Ramblers made 193/7 and the Waifs won by 5 wickets in the last over, but it was not actually quite as close as that might suggest; at any rate from the boundary the Waifs looked to have their noses just enough in front for at least the last hour.
It was not the note on which John Barclay would have wished to bow out, but he had already decided that 1993 would be his last year. I am sure that all Ramblers will wish to join me in thanking him for doing such a fine job during his 5 years in charge – not just in winning the Cup, but also in bringing on such a good set of the youngest generation.
The Committee has appointed Michael Brooks to take over as captain, and he does so with our best wishes. In the first round we have been drawn away to Dulwich on Sunday 29th May.
As a footnote to our victory in 1992, the Cricketer Magazine very kindly presented a bench, which can be seen on Upper Club.
As a game of cricket this was a non-event. From the moment that Harrow won the toss and elected to field they played for a draw, and in the end they achieved their aim quite easily.
Simpson, the Eton captain, who had made runs all summer, took the relatively unknown Machin in with him; Simpson batted very well, but when he was out for 52 Machin was already into the 80s, and went on to make 150*, the highest score made by an Etonian at Lord’s since NS Hotchkin’s 153 in 1931. His innings enabled Simpson to declare at 254/2, just about at half-time.
Douglas, who bowled a very lively opening spell, and Lightfoot, whose slow left armers brought him 1 for 16 in 15 overs, caused some early Harrovian anxiety: but on a good wicket it is not easy to bowl out, in half a day, a side which makes no attempt whatever to score runs. 17/2 after 17 overs became 67/4 from 30 and ended at 114/4 from 57, by which time Simpson had tried no less than eight bowlers. Strangely, two runs per over was exactly the same scoring rate as Harrow had managed in the first 80 overs of their innings the previous year (when they should have been trying to win); at least this time it did not last so long.
The attendance in Q Stand, particularly of Ramblers, was noticeably down on 1992; perhaps more Ramblers had taken private boxes. In any case the same arrangements have been made for 1994 when the date is Tuesday 28th June.
DINNER 18th OCTOBER 1994
This will be held in our usual rooms at the Savoy. The Committee is all too conscious of the cost of dinners, particularly for younger members. The Hon. Sec. has had fruitful discussions with the Savoy and is confident that the ticket price can be kept down to a more than reasonable level, and that, as an alternative to their normal list, there will be available a limited selection of decent wines at an appreciably lower price than in the past. There will be a general mailing about the dinner during the summer, but please put the date, TUESDAY 18th OCTOBER, in your diary now.
SOUTH AFRICA TOUR
The Committee has decided to postpone the next Rambler tour from 1995 to 1996 so as to coincide with the MCC tour which will, non-cricketing considerations permitting, take place that year. All playing members will receive details during the summer. It may be possible for a few non-playing members to join the party: would anyone in this latter category who might be interested please contact the Hon. Sec.
After 10 years in the Hon. Treasurer’s chair, Philip Remnant has, to our great regret, decided to retire. His quiet efficiency during that time has been of great benefit to the Club, and he has handed over to Michael Brooks at a time when the finances remain in a sound state as a result of the measures Philip urged on the Committee two years ago. I know that members will wish to thank him for all that he has done, and to send to his successor their best wishes in this most important, though largely unsung, office.
BA Johnston. Sir John Hogg writes:-
“One of the few great disappointments of Brian’s otherwise happy and successful life was that he never got into the XI. He would undoubtedly have done so had not AM Baerlein, wicket-keeper in 1929 and 30, decided to stay on for a third year. So Brian had to make do with Captain of XXII. He was a good wicket-keeper but an indifferent bat; however he taught himself to become master of the Short Single – almost Tip and Run. It was all right if you knew about this, but woe betide you if you didn’t know his form, or were a slow starter.
This disappointment at Eton did not prevent him from becoming an active and enthusiastic Rambler both before the war and again for some years afterwards, until his BBC duties made it difficult for him to play regularly. In those days Rambler cricket was full of hazards: in Brian and Tom Foley the Ramblers had two of the most fertile-minded practical jokers that I have come across. No one could feel himself secure from their activities – not even Buns Cartwright. However Brian had a miraculous gift in that he never seemed to give offence by his jokes, practical or otherwise: if anything his victims seemed to enjoy being part of the game.
I think that the secret of Brian’s success was that, with all his infectious vitality, and behind his wisecracks, his laughter and his leg-pulls was a man of high principle. He would not willingly accept anything second rate or underhand for himself or from others. He was a marvellous friend and if you were in trouble you did not have to be a friend in order to get his help. He was a very self-controlled man: he never smoked, he drank very little and liked simple food and not much of it: hence, no doubt, his astonishing vitality in what, for other people, passes as old age.
He had, too, the great fortune of a very happy marriage and a large and united family. He and his Pauline had one sadness, which was handled, as you would expect of them, with love, with compassion, with common sense and with absolutely no fuss at all.
Over the years I have read Obituary Notices about many distinguished Old Etonians, some of them Ramblers: but until Brian died I have never found one who had the unusual tribute of a kindly and charming little cartoon in Private Eye. Of the more normal tributes, I thought that the Daily Telegraph got it just right when they headed their leader about him `A Gentleman among Players’.”
Sir Tom Hare Bt. (XI 1946-48, Captain 1948). To any drybob in his first summer the Captain of the XI seems a giant among men. Tom Hare had all the necessary qualifications: he was good looking, invariably courteous, immaculately dressed – and successful. Of course I did not know him in those days, but in later years I never had occasion to change my opinion.
Living in Norfolk he played all too little for the Ramblers, but he was still playing cricket until very recently, and had resurrected his own cricket ground, which had not been used since, I think, before the war. He had hoped that it might be possible to arrange a Rambler match there, a hope of which his wife Rose has reminded me. I do not know whether this will be possible, but I hope so for it would be a fitting tribute and memorial to a fine Rambler.
Although Sir Martin Gilliat had the distinction of being in the team which won three Finals of the House Sides, he never received a cricket colour. As a soldier, and later as a courtier, he had all too little time to devote to Rambler cricket, but he always managed to come to Rambler dinners, and to Lord’s, and the Rambler fixture card always occupied a prominent place in his office.
DJ Graham-Campbell was better known in his schooldays as Keeper of the Field, at which game he was reputedly one of the best players ever, than as a cricketer. Whatever his skills on the cricket field, however, his House (1950-1964, when he left to become Warden of Glenalmond) produced as good a stream of Ramblers, from Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie at the beginning to Peter Lowndes at the end, as any at Eton.
George Pike, another devoted Rambler, introduced many a future Etonian to cricket at Cothill – including ‘The Gemini’, who have kept the torch burning and are handing it on to many more future Etonians at Sunningdale.
I regret to say that I made an error in these notes last year when I reported the death of my old friend Lance Aubrey-Fletcher. He, and others, pointed out my mistake and I hasten to make at least partial amends. It was his elder brother John (XI 1931) who died and I owe Lance a particularly good dinner when next we meet, as well as my sincere apologies.
It has been another bad year for our diminishing band of present and past Lords Lieutenant. Not long ago nearly half those (of English counties) were Ramblers, but today the number has dropped to single figures. 1993 saw the deaths of one present, Sir James Scott Bt. (Hampshire for eleven years) and two past, Sir John Carew Pole Bt. (Cornwall for fifteen years) and Sir Andrew Martin (Leicestershire for 24 years).
Among other Rambler deaths were Lord Grimond, better known in other walks of life and to whom wide tribute has been paid elsewhere, and Colonel George Kidston-Montgomerie, whose reputation as a commander of a cavalry regiment, during and shortly after the war, was so high that many of those who served under him, including not a few Ramblers, remain convinced today that he was the best of all.
Those who collect such pieces of information may be interested in what I believe to be a ‘first’. We have had a number of members who had been Captain of Boats at Eton, one of whom (by no means a bad cricketer either) was also Captain of Boxing at Oxford; but I think that Mark Davies is the only Rambler ever to have coxed the Goldie boat.
After the December Committee Meeting we were joined for dinner as usual by a number of Match Managers and other Rambler supporters, including some faces from the past. Before dinner I was talking to Bay Hodgson who suggested that, should I be looking for material with which to pad this Notice, I could mention his final retirement from the field at the age of 69. We were sitting close enough to each other at dinner for me to overhear a few snatches like “… the last Rambler player over 70” … and “… not since Buns Cartwright …”. As we were leaving, Bay came up and asked me not to include what he had said earlier: he thought he might play for one more year.
After Ken Hedley’s death, his cricket papers came into the possession of John Farmer, including an almost complete set of post-war Rambler statistics. These have sparked John’s interest, and he is at present engaged in some detailed research, aided by the Hon. Sec. (to whom as always our thanks are due), as a result of which many facts and figures are emerging which will, I feel, be of interest to a number of members, and perhaps a spur to some younger ones. I hope to have more to report next year.