|HAMPSHIRE CHRONICLE, FRIDAY, JULY 21, 2000|
CRICKET: Half century of a different kind for village stalwart
Mike’s fifty not-out and still going strong for Compton
QUITE a number of cricketers can claim to have been playing the game for fifty years, but not many of them can have done so with the same club!
So the achievement of Mike Richardson, who reaches that landmark with Compton & Chandler’s Ford this summer, is remarkable, if not unique.
Mike, who celebrated his 60th birthday on July 19th, first played as a ten year old for the former Compton & Shawford club at their Shepherds Lane ground way back in 1950.
The club had been re-formed after World War 2 by Mike’s father Cyril, HF Igglesden (Derek’s father) and Bill Crouch. The young Richardson used to cycle to home matches.. something, he observes, that you don’t see much of these days!
A batsman of promise, he scored his first senior 50 at the age of 13 and his first century six years later.
“There wasn’t much of a colts set-up in those days, so I just graduated straight into men’s cricket from playing at Romsey Road (now Kings’) School,” he recalls.
Mike made his way up the batting order and also developed as a useful medium pace bowler, establishing himself in the club’s 2nd Xl.
With the arrival of league cricket in the early 1970s. Mike’s experience proved to he an integral part of the team which won the Hampshire South West Division 1 title in 1976.
It was a memorable year for him as he scored a combined total of more than 1,000 runs that season for Compton & Shawford and for Wayfarers in the Eastleigh Midweek League.
He went on to play for Compton in all the county divisions of the Hampshire League, chalking-up a top score of 134 not out against Michelmersh & Timsbury… one of four centuries achieved during the past fifty years.
On the bowling front. a league-best return of 8 for 21 was excelled by claiming 9 for 22 against Ford Sports.
As he recalls, he should have had all ten wickets!
“I’d taken the first nine and, when the last man hit the ball in the air off another bowler straight to a fielder, everyone shouted for him to drop it.
“Unfortunately, he hung on to it and was then thoroughly embarrassed about the whole thing”
Apart from the playing side, Mike has been at various times club secretary. chairman and, since 1976, the president. He assumed that role following the merger which saw his beloved Compton link up with Chandler’s Ford CC.
“It was the best move the club ever made he says, we would have folded up without it.”
“A lot of people say that mergers never work well, but this one has been brilliant. It’s helped both the former clubs, with our Shepherds Lane ground now home for the first team while the excellent colts set-up at Chandler’s Ford has breathed new life into us.”
These days, Mike is still playing for the 3rd Xl in the Hampshire Combination, with home games at the much improved track at Hiltingbury.
He’s also a stalwart of the Compton & Chandler’s Ford Sunday Xl and is looking forward to his “big match” on August 6th when the President’s XI provide the opposition.
“I’ve managed to round up a number of old friends from Compton & Shawford days to play for me… some of whom, like Colin James, are coming out of retirement to do so.
“Others like Neville Vokes, Nigel Chalke and Dave Savage are like me… still chugging along, although none of them has yet reached my great age!”
Mike says that any one who played for the old Compton & Shawford club will be welcome at Shepherds Lane on the day. as will interested spectators.
Play begins at 11.30 am and it’s likely there’ll be a presentation somewhen during the proceedings to this unassuming man.
He sums up his half century like this: “I’ve had a lot of fun and made so many friends that I never want it to end.
“I’m not even thinking of retiring from the playing side, although I realise I can’t go on for ever. But when the time comes, I know I’ll continue to he involved behind the scenes.”
Also a keen and accomplished table tennis player, Mike lives in Chandler’s Ford with his wife Margaret, the pair having seven grandchildren between them.
He worked for 36 years for the Hampshire Chronicle Group, many of them as Advertising Manager, before leaving the company for pastures new in 1991.
But he harbours no thought of retirement from work either.
“I just enjoy being fit and active and I’m very thankful for that.” he says.
Long may it continue.
Extracts from the Hampshire Chronicle reproduced by permission of the Editor