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COWBRIDGE CRICKET CLUB


Sadly Departed

IAN CRAN


In the summer of 1984 the Cran family joined the Club having recently moved into Llanblethian from Dundee. For the next seven years the Crans were at the heart of everything that happened on and off the field. For those that were part of the Club in those days the news of Ian’s passing at the age of 76 in May 2017 was met with a sense of sadness and yet also with a smile that recalled the times we spent together.

Ian Cran was born in Belfast and moved around following his father who was a civil engineer. They stayed long enough in Edinburgh for Ian to attend the Leith Academy and after a spell as an Air Traffic Controller Ian then furthered his education at Ruskin College, Oxford before his career in airport management eventually resulted in the move to Wales. Wherever he had been domiciled, Ian once remarked, the local cricket club had turned out to be a source of fun and instant camaraderie. So it proved at Cowbridge.

Perhaps it was because Ian had moved around so much that the family fitted so well into the Club. However It’s more likely that Ian and Katherine were such a straightforward ‘get stuck in’ sort of couple though that meant they fitted in so well.

When Ian began playing at Cowbridge the 1st XI had an established seam attack of Alan Wilkins, Andy Morris and Gus Baty. This meant that the newcomer had to work his way into the side. Initially bowling off a lengthy run in a pair of we described as ‘moonboots’, Canadian baseball boots in fact, Ian’s lovely action allowed him to bowl long spells but the slow track at Cowbridge did not really suit his bowling. Ever resourceful Ian then abruptly changed his style and began bowling cutters off a very short run. The change was an instant success.   Ian was soon to become a 1st XI regular and even though he perhaps never got the chance to bat in places in the order he might have felt he deserved his newfound bowling style served him well. Indeed Ian’s enthusiasm for cricket meant he was still playing into his seventies.

During the eighties the teams invariably ended up in The Mughal, Ian’s party piece of ‘There was a lassie…’ taking its’ place amongst the games of ‘Cardinal Puff’ and ‘Mrs Mc Kenzie’. It was a happy if not particularly successful era for our Club and the mix suited Ian.

After seven years in Llanbethian the Crans moved to the Cotswolds and on retirement back to Scotland. Happily they were not lost to Cowbridge as they rarely missed the Scotland game at Cardiff and Ian and Katherine travelled south to attend the 175th Anniversary Dinner.

During the period of Ian’s ill health Collin White and I went up to Edinburgh to see Ian. Over an excellent lunch at The Café Royal there were flashes of the Ian we knew so well. The ‘loony left’, players who behaved badly, Mrs Sturgeon and general management of all things aeronautical were among Ian’s targets. It could never have been said that Ian kept his opinions to himself and he wasn’t going to start then.

The Wales game at Murrayfield proved to be Ian’s last hurrah. On the Sunday, Andrea and I had told Ian and Katherine our plans for an event this summer. ‘I’ll be there’ said Ian but sadly that will not now be the case.

Ian wrote a piece for the 175th Anniversary book which we reprint below:


Ian Cran joined Cowbridge CC in 1980 on moving to Llanblethian form Dundee as Managing Director of Cardiff Wales Airport. ‘Crannie’ bowled quickly on his arrival before switching to a short run and cutters which he delivered very effectively a rapid over rate. In this typically idiosyncratic memoire Ian Cran recalls the 1980’s at Cowbridge where he and his wife Katherine were very popular figures, playing their full part in the Club’s activities. Ian and his family moved to Gloucestershire in 1991 and then on retirement back to his native Scotland where he became Chairman of the Strathmore Cricket Union.


One of the advantages of playing cricket at Cowbridge in the nineteen eighties was that the ground conveniently combined the propinquities of a west end address with a plentiful supply of Brains SA. Not that the cricket was alcohol inspired-indeed it was not inspired by anything. As I remember it, fixtures in May were often early season relegation tussles whilst August often saw us requiring to win six of our last three matches to avoid relegation!

 Other matches were memorable for non-cricket reasons. A whole game at Cefn Forrest was played to a recording of Pavarotti singing “Nessan Dorma” non-stop for six hours and the post-match hospitality in the 'stute at Mountain Ash was enlivened by a hen party was mustering for drinks prior to going clubbing. I’m not sure all the Cowbridge lads got home that night!

Conversation in the clubhouse was often difficult because everybody was usually talking at once, but the character assassinations were cutting and non-attributable and the fault of everything was invariably laid at the feet of a committee member. Fraternal bonding though was enhanced with a tour to Brighton in the 80's where one member was pushed into the marina (he could not swim), entrance into the hotel was achieved by scaling its front to get through a first floor window (the front door was locked at midnight) and one member worked out how to operate the switchboard and called all the residents with their early morning wake-up call at 2.30 am.

The club had several memorable characters, but the libel laws deter me from recounting their antics. For myself I cannot remember ever being drunk at Cowbridge although I can recall a few awful hangovers. It was a poor match if I got home before midnight and that was before getting up to do it all again on Sunday.

 If one paid ones sub, it was all great value for money!

 


GODFREY MEGGITT


When Godfrey Meggitt joined Cowbridge Cricket Club in the early 1990s he was already well known to the club’s players having been ever-present in the South Wales Hunts (SWH) team that traditionally played the Club each year. To a man, the teams were delighted that he had joined.

A member of a prominent Cardiff business family, Godfrey was a most accomplished artist. Indeed, art was his calling and it was inconceivable that Godfrey could have held down a job in an office for any length of time as it would have provided insufficient challenge for his fertile mind. He loved discussion and debate as much as visual stimulation.

However, Godfrey was somewhat unusual in that he was both an artist and a competitor. Perhaps that’s why he "fell" into Cowbridge Cricket Club so easily. Many SWH members had joined Cowbridge over the years but few really enjoyed their cricket within a league structure. Yet, Godfrey loved it. Competition in the raw was the reason he played cricket.

He batted around six in the 1st XI but was never afraid to play his shots. Indeed, he batted like a man refreshed on champagne and bowled his dastardly leg breaks with aplomb.

There is no doubt that Godfrey was regarded by many as "posh". He was, after all, an Old Marlburian but his charm and good manners gave him a natural grace. A proper gentleman, he was always the first to thank the tea ladies. That Godfrey was a charming man who lived a charmed life was undoubtedly true.

Godfrey Meggitt passed away in his late fifties. Sadly, there are generations of cricketers that will never have enjoyed spending time with him.


JRB