MATTHEW COX 1993 - 2015
Matthew Cox was sadly taken from us at the age of 21 recently. His sudden death has prompted many touching messages through Facebook & social media in general, relating not only to his sporting activities but also him as a person.
Matthew lived for his weekend & his cricket. He began his cricketing career as a junior at Edenbridge. During his time at Sackville School he captained the cricket team & also played football & hockey, as well as playing junior county cricket. Through the East Grinstead Academy & the Sussex set up he travelled to Cape Town & to Dubai to play junior cricket, as well as continuing his career at Edenbridge where he quickly graduated to the first XI. He was about to start his final year at Reading University where he also played for the University cricket club.
Above all, he loved playing cricket for Edenbridge, wore his cap with immense pride and so enjoyed playing with and against the many friends he made through his cricket. A hugely talented cricketer, he was sadly lost to us before he even moved into his prime, but he will always be remembered for ripping out stumps with his bowling & for smashing the ball through mid-wicket with his favourite shot. In Matthew’s memory we are raising money to purchase a new electronic scoreboard for the pavilion which will be dedicated to him & incorporated into a future rebuild of the old pavilion, which it is proposed will also be named the Matt Cox Pavilion in his memory. Our initial target will be to raise enough money for the new scoreboard, but will then go on to raise further funds in Matthew’s memory to help finance the new Matt Cox Pavilion & to create a genuine community facility in his name.
Jon Woodman, Edenbridge CC MICHAEL (MICKY) BELL - AKA MR BIG! 1962 - 2014
One of the genuine ‘big’ characters of the Stoner Mid-Sussex Cricket League and one of the few players to be regularly participating since the inaugural season was lost to us all and especially his team mates at Streat & Westmeston in March after a brave fight against cancer.
Micky was a fiercely competitive cricketer and sportsman who always had a witty remark for every situation and the village cricket fields of Mid Sussex will be a much quieter place without him.
He skippered Streat to victory in the Brian Christmas Insurance Cup at Ardingly College in 1993 and played a major part in drinking the bar dry in the post-match celebrations!
His funeral in April was hugely oversubscribed and he would have been thoroughly pleased to know that his friends and family drank The Thatched Inn (Hassocks) dry of Harvey’s Best in his memory and celebration of his life.
The Bell cricket dynasty will continue with his son Jack playing colts cricket at Keymer & Hassocks and making occasional appearances for them in the Stoner Mid-Sussex Cricket League.
RIP Mr Big.
David Christmas SWCC.
CRAIG BOTTING 1989 - 2013
Taken from us in the prime of his life, 24 year - old Craig died suddenly and tragically on 15th April, becoming yet another of the Stoner League “family” to pass away, about a year after Steve Singer. The popularity of them both was reflected in the huge attendances at their funerals.
Even more relevantly, Balcombe Cricket Club suffered a second loss in the Botting family, Craig’s grandfather Trevor -another delightful person having left us in 2003.
Despite his young age, Craig had packed in a lot - indeed, as was said in the church, “the reason he was taken so young was that he had already proved himself”. Delightfully, his transplanted heart was already helping a recovery from surgery…. Craig would have been as happy as his family are at that.
Taking up cricket comparatively late, he would have been a Balcombe C.C. stalwart (or at a higher level in the sport?) for years, but sadly those who shared a dressing room and their lives with him will miss his talent, his humour and his voice, (but possibly not his music!!).
We trust Craig will be playing up above, for, as Patrick Moore was quoted (also at the funeral) as saying “They must play cricket in heaven, it wouldn’t be heaven otherwise”.
Typical of the Balcombe cricket “family” was Sussex wicket-keeper and former Balcombe player Ben Brown organising Sussex players to wear black arm-bands at the first opportunity as a tribute in their Championship match against Surrey at The Oval. A total of some 25 members friends and family witnessed the day.
Craig was attended to once before by the Air Ambulance, which, on the second, ultimately tragic, time landed on Balcombe’s ground. How sadly poignant.
PHIL MATANIA 1961 – 2012
The Stoner League lost another of its stalwart characters at the end of the season, with Phil finally losing a battle of several months. He came from a family of sportsmen, going back to the late 19th century, when his great-grandfather was playing for Arsenal - who were founded in 1886! Obviously explained his support for The Gunners!
However Phil’s sporting expertise was largely through cricket and rugby, and began at a very early age with the remarkable game of hallway cricket -the mind boggles! -and continued at Lewisham-based Colfe’s School, strong in its games-playing tradition.
Some blazers were seen at Phil’s funeral (lovely touch!) as school-mates shared their fond memories. One reminiscence touched on a fee for Phil’s work of “Quarterly instalments of Guinness”……..the speaker “wished he could pay it now,” while this poem, also read in the service, said it all, JUST LIKE THAT!
Not how did he die, but how did he live? Not what did he gain, but what did he give?
These are the units to measure the worth Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
Not what was his station, but had he a heart? How did he play in his life-given part?
Was he ever ready, with words of good cheer,To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not how did the formal obituary run,But how many grieved when his life’s work was done?
The answer: a large number
STEVE SINGER 1953 – 2012
I've lost count of the number of funerals (several cricket orientated) I've felt complelled to attend in recent times to express sympathy and the hope that time will be a great healer but the celebration of and thanksgiving for his life will always be with me and I suspect will always be with all of the 450 or so who came on Friday 4th May last year.
The day of the week was crucial: Steve had requested his passing be marked on a Friday so that as many people as possible could celebrate his life and drown their sorrows. “Mr Colemans Hatch,” appropriately (!) had a wide-ranging circle of friends I found myself talking to someone from Sandwich in Kent and another from Bath (Avon), and I’m sure others had similar tales to tell.
A great tribute to him was the fact that his team mates were determined to keep the club going by filling all the roles he used to: captain, fixture secretary, team secretary, batsman, wicket-keeper and statistician. His daughter Abby, in a delightful tribute, was able, predictably, to give us his figures! When I used to collate the Stoner League results on a Sunday, his was nearly always the first call, at 8.30am with a cup of tea (he claimed).
Twelve hours earlier (and for some time after that!) he would have been drinking another amber liquid from a glass. Steve who never raised his voice, would have been as amused at the fact that I got lost on the way to his amazing wake as he was at my efforts to force him to declare when we were rival captains some years ago.
Steve, rest in jovial peace.