The cricket season ended on a sombre note at Hobbs Lane with the sad news that club stalwart, Rod Reeves had passed away.
The following article was prepared for the Barrow Gurney Parish Magazine. A fuller tribute with stories from Rod’s many cricketing friends will follow shortly.
Rod was still playing in his seventies, a doughty left-handed batter and a deceptive (very) slow left armer who was described by one player as the “ultimate clubman”.
For many years he had organised the club’s legendary annual tour, most often to Devon, and he was a permanent fixture at junior matches and training, always keen to inspire the next generation of cricketers. His support of the younger players often resulted in him giving them employment in his carpeting business, giving them the chance to earn a few pounds whilst learning the value of hard work. A committee member and a keen skittler too for the Club’s team, there was little he would not turn his hand to.
He was outspoken occasionally but never unkind, and he just loved watching and playing cricket, and many players and former players will have fond and amusing memories of him. He had a special connection with players of Sri Lankan heritage, many of whom played for Barrow over the years
Tributes poured into the club from former players, from as far away as New Zealand, as many recounted what an influence he had had on them. It was so good to see him at Hobbs Lane only a few weeks ago when many friends and colleagues were able to speak to him, and, despite his failing health, he was still willing to give some pearls of wisdom to the current players.
The season ended on the last weekend of September (unusually late due to Covid ruining the first part of the season), The highlight being a fantastic win against Bedminster with Guy Fisher making a personal highest score of 133. Guy (632 runs) was the top run scorer in the season, ahead of another Rod Reeves’ protégé, women’s county player Bernie Forge (540). Frank Forge (29 wickets) was top wicket taker and he also learned his cricket under Rod’s tutelage. Kian Ware (20 wickets and maiden hundred) also had a good season and memorably dedicated his first hundred to Rod despite having only known him for just over a season. Many other Barrow players have been supported over the years by Rod in similar fashion.
Many of us will never live to see the impact that we have on others. I am pleased to say that Rod did, and I fervently hope that this will be a comfort to Rosemary, Rod’s wife, to whom he was devoted.
As well as publishing further tributes in the coming days, BGCC will be looking at longer lasting ways to have a proper memorial to one of their finest over the coming months.