Some Personal Memories:
From Martin Granger Brown:
Bowdon has lost a star player, a staunch member and a most loyal supporter in Steve, one of the keenest competitive players I have ever met, and always an agreeable and magnanimous opponent. His warm demeanour and fortitude throughout a long illness were exemplary. A lasting legacy from Steve to the Club is worth recording, and may bring a smile to many who are unaware of it. In his earliest and keenest days as a player, he realised that shooting practice was the key to early improvement and used to drop in on his way to work for an hour or so! The sound of the hard-hit balls banging against the stops as early as 7.00am must have awoken one of our neighbours who wrote to the Committee seeking respite. As a result the Club rules were amended so that playing hours are now “09.00 to dusk” rather than “during daylight hours”, and we can all sleep soundly in our beds, without feeling guilty that we are wasting valuable time for practice with the larks!
From Barry Keen:
I first met Steve when he started playing Croquet after joining the nuclear design company at Radbroke Hall near Knutsford in 1971. He also played his first games at Bowdon that year when I organised a weekend tournament jointly between the Knutsford club and Bowdon. The Knutsford club ceased to exist in 1972 and Steve drifted away from the game until the late 70’s when he became a Bowdon member. He rapidly improved in the eighties, winning the Silver Box twice, and played in the Open Championships and the first World Championship. He then gave up croquet to spend time with his family having achieved a handicap of -1.
He took up croquet again when he rejoined Bowdon in 2003 and was soon playing at his old handicap of -1. Steve was a keen supporter of the Wednesday competition, winning the season competition three times. As his illness progressed his attendance on Wednesday dropped off until his last visits a year ago. Steve will always be remembered for his unique swinging style which allowed him to hit the ball probably harder than any other player. Woe betide anyone who put themselves in line with one of his shots. He had an intense will to win but belied it with a generous spirit towards his opponents. In all the years I have known him, I have never heard a cross word or negative comment from him, and when he lost a game, he always said, most sincerely, “well done”. The club has lost a fine player and a gentleman.
From John Saxby:
I write to you on behalf of myself, the committee and all our club members to offer our heartfelt condolence for your loss of Steve.
We will never appreciate how much suffering you and Steve endured in these last few years but we all witnessed Steve’s stoicism as he continued to join us every Wednesday despite being in such distress.
I must also thank you for allowing us to join you at his funeral last week it was a very moving experience and your floral tribute brought tears to our eyes.
Steve was a formidable competitor but his patience on a Wednesday when sharing a lawn or playing against fairly disorganized beginners was exemplary. He was unfailingly polite and usually managed to win even when deprived of his fair time on the lawn. I think all the Wednesday players would agree he was our favourite player, we loved him dearly and sorely miss him!
Our thoughts and prayers will be with you for some time to come.
John Saxby (Hon. Secretary)