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Abbots Langley’s Manor House hosts Brian Crook Memorial Match

 Published on: 20th October 2017   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category: Watford FC

A memorial cricket match for Brian Crook who passed away in 2013, was played recently at the Manor House ground. Brian was a regular player for Abbots Langley for many years, where he served as their wicketkeeper, holding the records for most catches and stumpings. Brian was also a past Chairman and senior official, having supported the club in many ways over the years. The game was played between the senior players and youth players of Abbots Langley Cricket Club, with Lew Hodgins and Dave Crancher as umpires. A fixture to include the youth players was apt as Brian was a strong advocate for sport being a positive influence on children’s lives. Prior to the game pictures were taken by the bench which has been dedicated in memory of Brain and his playing career, which also included many appearances for Hertfordshire. Speeches were given by Allister Pope, Brian’s son-in-law and Lew Hodgins on behalf of the club. In honour of Brian, Nick Hodgins placed on the bench a can of coke, which had ‘Mate’ printed on the side and a bar of chocolate. Nick said he had fond memories of these being Brian’s favourite snack and beverage in the clubhouse after the game. Brian’s gloves were placed behind the stumps during the game. The Senior team was captained by Nick Hodgins and the Youth team by John Battams. The Senior team opened the batting and with some excellent fielding and skilful bowling, together with youth on their side, they held their opponents to 150 runs off their 20 overs.  This included Jack Pope – one of Brian’s three grandsons – bowling to his Dad, Allister. With both giving a good account of themselves, even though this was Allister’s first outing on the cricket pitch for a number of years In reply, although at one stage having to bat with eight slips and a  gully surrounding them, the young players managed to make the game a tie.  There could be a number of reasons for this fielding set up, however the suspicion is that none of them wanted to exert themselves too much! The match was played in a great atmosphere and the weather was kind. The winning captains Nick and John accepted a match trophy in good spirit, which now resides in the Clubhouse, and an annual game is to be scheduled, hopefully to include those youth players who were too young to join in this year as well as Brian’s two younger grandsons Frank and Archie, who he has proudly supported along with their older brother Jack. Everyone retired to the Clubhouse afterwards and enjoyed a tea prepared by Brian’s family.  A few ales were enjoyed and happy memories relived. A fitting end to a great day, one which Brian would have enjoyed himself (including the tea!). Brian’s sporting career didn’t only include cricket………….. Brian was a keen sportsman and supporter of sport all his life. He believed sport gave you a good outlook on life. He was also a keen football player, playing for Harefield FC, which was close to where he grew up in Maple Cross. After retiring from adult football, he took up refereeing and approached this with the same enthusiasm that he approached everything. Being a member of the Hertfordshire Referees Association for many years. After his retirement from work Brian was a fitness instructor at the YMCA Woodlands Gym in Leavesden where he specialised in the over 50s fitness sessions, which he enjoyed very much and looked forward to spending time with his ‘regulars’. Brian was also a keen supporter of Watford Football Club, and cycled with his Dad, from their home in Maple Cross, to every home game, holding a season ticket and keenly following results all his life. Brian will be remembered for his love of life. ByTracey Pope and Julie Clayton  

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