The Club was saddened to learn of the death in December of long-serving Thursday XI captain and supporter, Eric Neale, at the age of 96.
Eric ran and captained the North Oxford CC Thursday XI side for many years, and took over the reins of the BNOCC Thursday XI following the merger of Bicester Town and North Oxford. Eric ran and captained the BNOCC Thursday XI with great success until his 80th birthday when he retired, after which he remained an active supporter and fixture secretary for the side.
Three of Eric’s friends and former team-mates share their memories of Eric below.
The Club extends its sympathies to Eric’s family.
From Len Payne
“Eric was one of the nicest people I have ever met; always polite, courteous and friendly. His organisation was efficient and friendly, ably assisted by his wife Doris who remarked how she had spent a full season jointly providing teas for the team in a time where we still had a full Thursday fixture list. Considering that was nearly 20 years ago it shows the mutual affection and enjoyment they gave to all aspects of the game.”
“Eric’s approach to social cricket was to first of all make sure that all the team had a part to play in the game, and secondly to win with good grace, and he rarely made a mistake. It was a considerable privilege to know him and play with him.”
From Peter Fenn
“Eric was held in great affection by those of us who enjoyed Thursday XI cricket under his direction. Always quiet and unassuming, his thoughts were always for his fellow cricketers and the game itself, and I recall from many a Thursday XI match that, although he might not have played what could be called an active part in the game, it was obvious that the pleasure he gained from it stemmed from the enjoyment it gave others.”
“Ever unassuming, Eric was a gentleman both on and off the field; it was a privilege to have known him.”
From Phil Mist
“When Bob and I agreed to amalgamate BTCC and North Oxford CC and form BNOCC, obviously many of our discussions centred around the perennial question which faces all volunteer led organisations: ‘Who does what’.”
“Being a cricket club, of course the decisions as to who ran each side and who was to be Captain was at the head of the list – Saturday and Sunday fixtures obviously caused some contentious issues, however Thursdays were never a problem. Eric simply told me he would handle Thursdays so I was able to I sit back and let him get on with it. He ran the side brilliantly – there were never any problems and everyone who played for Eric on a Thursday seemed to delight in the occasion.”
“Eric was a true gentleman a trait which is not often in evidence in today’s game. I was raised in senior cricket a very long time ago when the game was played by a large number of gentlemen and Eric was one of the few that remained in the game until his retirement some years ago. It was a pleasure to have known him – he did the newly formed Club a great service for many years, and he made my tenure as the new Club’s first Chairman much easier than it could have been.”