Sadly, on the 21st of February 2021, yet another bright star in my life, in all our lives, was extinguished.
We knew that Nigel Dawes who had been a daily presence for me and everybody else at Newquay cricket club in his all too brief twelve years with us was gravely ill with the cruel and oh so rare disease afflicting him and that his star was waning fast, but nothing can detract from the grief we all felt as the news filtered through that his suffering had come to a merciful end.
Appearing one sunny cricket afternoon 12 years ago from over the bottom field at the Newquay Sports centre, Nigel announced to my predecessor he was keen to get involved in the cricket club, almost as a self-introduction, and as anybody who has been involved in running clubs and societies knows, this type of person is generally to be grabbed with both hands, feet, collar and anything else available… and bingo, my first secretary in my first year as Chairman was appointed.
It did not take long for us to twig that when Nigel did something, he did get on with it. And not long after not taking long, I was finding that not only was he prepared to be involved in every aspect of the club, to the point of silliness, it was quite difficult to stop him as he always figured he would do the job better than anyone else anyway. Those of us who are part of running clubs can moreover recognise, the more one person is prepared to fill the gaps to get the little and probably irksome jobs done (clearing up after the match on Saturdays being a case in point!), the more the others sit around letting it happen! We had on several occasions, as inoffensively as we could, to apply the ND brake to encourage the others, although over the past couple of years there was noticeably more of his putting his own foot down – maybe someone somewhere was having a word?
In his time in the club, he worked as secretary and then treasurer, which were vital to me, but of much higher priority to him, Nigel, without making a fuss, attended all the ECB coaching courses, got qualified and dedicated himself to the future of the club, the junior section. Judging by the tributes paid on the club’s social media areas, both when the nature of the illness and then his passing was announced, he really touched all sections of the club, but the heartfelt comments from parents and juniors, past and present, were particularly poignant.
On top of the Secretarial and Treasury duties and coaching the juniors, Nigel also turned himself into a top-class groundsman and he was a familiar sight pushing the mower up and down the square to achieve perfection! And on we go…organising the Scorebox, organising repairs, servicing and buying all the grounds’ goods necessary for a season, working on projects by committee (and to be fair, the monthly Zoom meetings will not be the same without Nigel’s struggle with technology) and then, just generally being on hand for a chat…
And then… there was, of course, cricket. Known affectionately as dot ball Nigel due to his parsimonious bowling, Nigel graced the 4th team and inevitably was the perfect club man by playing where selected and leading by example by his on and off field manner. Nigel was a decent cricketer and he certainly, on occasions when he did play up to a higher team, was more than able to hold his own, although, his illness notwithstanding, the advancing years relative to running around a cricket field were starting to hold sway.
So, to his Cricket Stats: 2009-19:
In 116 games – 547 runs averaging 9.1 with a top score of 33; 90 wickets at 23.1 with an economy rate of under 3 per over. His best performance was an astonishing return of 5/2 (away to Gunnislake and off 10 0vers) and he held 34 catches. This was a fine record by any standards.
And then… his photography which developed beyond an interest to almost professional proficiency and which provided many outstanding pictures of match days that members of the club will cherish.
And then… on top of all that he found time for his family, who were so very important to him, caring for them in the good times as well as in sometimes difficult times as ill health appeared and reappeared all too often.
And then… we are all still finding the many other activities unrelated to our own particular cricket -sphere where Nigel was involved and as we know when Nigel got involved…boom! The passing is not fair.
At 68, Nigel was still a young man, but for all the way he packed his life with the Cricket Club, he might just as well have been 168. So, Nigel, farewell as you make your way back over that field and when you get to heaven, make sure the records are straight and the subs are paid. Thank you.