A former Lymingtonian reports from New Zealand...

Derek ThomasLymington's Bicentenary brochure - 'A Most Glorious Double Century' - received a good write-up in the Lymington Times a couple of weeks ago, but a favourable review from rather further afield recently arrived via email. It came from Derek Thomas who played for the club more than 40 years ago before emigrating to New Zealand. From his home in Auckland he wrote, "it is brilliant to be able to reminisce about the period when I was at Lymington. I'm so glad to see my great mates featuring prominently, in print, in pubs, and even in cricket! The club has had an illustrious time and I am engrossed reading all about it. Absorbing reading."

Derek actually got a name-check in the brochure thanks to the time he got rather tipsy at a club dinner at the Solent Court Hotel in Milford on Sea, and was found wading in a fish pond before eventually being carried all the way back to Lymington by teammates Robin Goff and David Henry!

Although Derek didn't mention this incident in his email, he did talk about his time at Lymington and about his new club in Auckland. "My early memories go back as far as the late 1940s as a small boy, watching the cricket and hoping to be invited to be scorer! A much treasured autograph book from 1952/53 contains the signatures of not only Benaud/Davidson, Trueman/Wardle, Edrich/Compton, etc, but also Lymington players CSB Green, Mike DuPre and Eddie Saunders, apparently from a match against Winchmore Hill.

"Round about 1955/56 I made it into the Second XI alongside Robin Goff. Cricket is such a great sport for making lifelong friends, and more than 50 years later I am still in regular contact with Robin, as I am with Chris (CJ) who I have known for almost as long.

"I have so many memories of playing on the picturesque New Forest grounds. During the 60s it was a thrill to play against Hampshire Club & Ground, Deanery, etc. I think the scorebook will show that about 1962 yours truly held on to one at leg slip (much to Eddie Saunders' astonishment!) to dismiss a certain Lloyd Budd off Tony Rollett against Deanery. (Others from that time may remember Tony's party trick in the clubroom in The Hearts of Oak...)

"I also vividly recall losing my off stump very quickly as the First XI were all out for about 30 versus the Club & Ground around 1963.

"Prior to Sunday cricket for Lymington, many of us used to play for other clubs on that day, and Brian Hobby, John Chidsey and co will remember some good Hordle v Pylewell clashes! I have so many good memories of Lymington CC: the friendship, watching, playing, umpiring the Stone Cup - no chance of LBW on the front foot in those days!

"I have lived in New Zealand for 40 years, and have always had a passion for cricket. For many years I have been involved with Auckland's oldest club, Parnell CC, and for a decade or more junior coaching and admin took up all my spare time. The set up is so much different in NZ, with far fewer - but much larger clubs. For several years Parnell had more than 50 junior teams!
600-700 active players - an administrative nightmare before the advent of cellphones, laptops etc. Even last season the club had just as many junior players, and it is a shame that the majority do not pursue cricket after school or university.

"Anyway, enough from me. I do wish Lymington CC all the best for the future, and every success for all the celebrations and events planned for its bicentenary, Also my kindest regards to all my teammates from 40/50 years ago."

Copies of Lymington's Bicentenary brochure are still available, priced £10, from Lymington Sports Ground or via email: trev76@live.co.uk.



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