The chance discovery of an old North Devon CC team picture from the 1960s has brought back stacks of memories for cricket-loving Gazette readers.
North Devon CC groundsman Andy Cameron asked for help from readers identifying the mystery men in the photo, which was among a heap of club memorabilia kept by former treasurer Roy Staddon.
Roy, who was 91 when he died in March this year, was a life member of the club and his family were heavily involved as players and supporters.
Sons Dave and the late Chris both played for the club and Dave captained the second team for a decade. Roy’s wife Pat was a team scorer for more than 30 years.
Dave Staddon, Roy’s son, helped Cameron identify some of the players in the picture. But there were plenty of A N Others. Not any more. Thanks to Gazette readers every player in the caption has been identified.
First to get in touch was Barry Braunton, who spotted himself in the front row of the picture.
“I was thrilled to see the photo in this week’s Gazette as I am the third player in from the bottom left, with Rodney Beer to my left next to Chris Staddon,” said batsman Braunton, who had four seasons with North Devon in the 1960s.
Braunton, known as a big-hitter in his playing career with North Devon and later Barnstaple Raleigh, said it was a strong side with some accomplished players.
“Mike Jaquiss and Michael Barnes were a formidable opening pair of bowlers, well supported by Chris Fear.
“Bob Staddon and Max Lloyd were our opening batsmen and both played for the Devon county side.
“Bill Shepherd was an exceptional left-arm spinner and a lot of cricketers felt he was a better player than his brother, David, who was playing for Gloucestershire at the time and went on to become an international umpire.”
Braunton, a teenager at the time he was with North Devon, played as often as he could during the holiday season
“I played there between 1966-69, especially in the many summer touring games, when we were matched against some really good London sides,” said Braunton.
“Two of the characters I remember were Pop Evans, the umpire and Sidney Gear, the groundsman.
Sidney prepared some wonderful pitches during the late 60s and Pop was a real character with his decisions
“I believe it was a Southampton side who visited Instow and were all out for 23, with Chris Fear taking eight wickets, and Pop’s decisions ‘made all the difference’”
Fear was a well-known North Devon journalist who graduated from weekly newspapers to become sports editor of Westward Television. He died of cancer in Cheshire in 2002.
Charlotte Beer also saw the photograph and noticed her late father Rodney Beer in the front row, next to Barry Braunton.
“It was a surprise to see a photo of my father, who died in April 2017,” said Charlotte.
The identity of one player in the photo had several correspondents puzzled. At first the player on the far right of the front row was named as Peter Corney by some, but disputed by others.
The mystery was finally solved by 84-year-old former Westleigh player Mike Snell, who buttonholed Cameron on the ground at Instow.
“Mike played for years and he was in no doubt the player concerned was a chap called Len Dawson,” said Cameron.
Cameron’s trawl through the memorabilia kept by John and Pat Staddon has thrown up another piece of memorabilia with a forgotten story attached.
“Among all the bits and pieces is a what looks like an plinth that was attached to a ball commemorating something unusual during a match against Ilfracombe in 1912,” said Cameron.
“Two players – W F O Faviell and D Scott – both took hat-tricks in the same game, which was on July 31, 1912.
“D Scott was the Honourable Denys Scott, who was a son of the third Earl of Eldon. He lived in Appledore played for North Devon when he wasn’t away with the army.
“W F O Faviell as also a soldier, but has no obvious connection with Denys Scott or North Devon CC.”
Lt Col William Faviell’s life (1882-1950) can be traced on Google. However his connection with North Devon CC is a mystery. Anyone who can shine some light on the subject is asked to contact Conrad Sutcliffe by email to firstname.lastname@example.org