Northwood Town Cricket Club lost a wonderful servant on Monday 14th December 2015, when Richard Robbins passed away at the age of 33 following a bravely fought battle against leukaemia. A truly irreplaceable and special individual. Our hearts and thoughts go out to his wife Lindsey, his two boys Oliver and Thomas, his parents and the rest of his lovely family.
The huge turnout to Richard's funeral spoke volumes about how loved and cherished he was and still is. The club will be staging a special event in honour of the legendary Rockin' Robbins this summer – and we hope to announce a date and details soon.
Below, you can read tributes to Richard from his teammates and friends at the club:
Michael Lister, Club Captain:
"I have many great memories about Richard’s time at Northwood Town Cricket Club. He had his most successful season in 2010 when he scored 298 runs for the first team, averaging almost 30. This was a fantastic achievement, rarely equalled or bettered in the history of the club. Richard was hugely proud of topping the averages that year and, without exception, we were all delighted for him. He was someone that all his team-mates got on with – everyone wanted him to succeed.
Whenever I played alongside him that year, Richard would rack up runs for fun. Rarely would he need to run between the wickets, preferring to smash the ball for four or six – leaving the running around to the rest of us who didn’t have the skill or power to reach the boundary with such consummate ease. Over a beer after the game, we would often share a joke about the comical way that one or other of us had thrown our wicket away or sneaked our way to a fifty. With a wry smile, he would also take great pleasure in reminding me about how far behind him I was in the averages. Whilst my failings with the bat has never been my favourite topic to discuss, the big irony now of course, is that I actually miss Richard winding me up about my scores, and certainly hearing him laugh.
Richard was always generous with his time. Many of you will undoubtedly have been touched and inspired by his selfless nature, and to all of us at the cricket club his generosity was boundless. He gave up his evenings for committee meetings, he spoke with great passion and authority at club events and he would always be the first man there at working parties, clearing the ditch or doing some other mucky job that others might shy away from. Usually with a smile on his face, always with a positive attitude. Even this summer he made it down to watch and support us, despite being unwell. We will remember him for that and will celebrate his enormous contribution to the club.
Richard was a tough and committed cricketer, a loyal and dedicated club man. He was a genuine and reliable friend. He will be greatly missed but his fighting spirit and generosity has inspired so many of us – and I would like to thank him for that."
Ben Rawson-Jones, Chairman:
"Richard Robbins made a difference. But there's something wrong about that statement. We need to remove the past tense. Richard Robbins makes a difference.
In so many areas of his life, Richard made good friends and inspired those around him to be better. To smile more. To laugh more. To improve the lives of others. To put your head down and crack on with things with minimal fuss and maximum effect.
This was certainly the case at Northwood Town Cricket Club, which Richard joined in 2009, soon taking over as Secretary. He was rebranded 'Rockin' Robbins and bashed plenty of runs in his trademark flamboyant style. I can just imagine him chuckling away at the fact I've referred to his batting as 'flamboyant'. He'd love that.
As a club, you could not wish for a better member. As a cricket player, you could not wish for a better teammate. As a person, you could not wish for a better friend.
His contribution to life in our community was nothing short of incredible and played a staggeringly huge part in turning a crumbling club on the verge of extinction into a thriving place with vastly improved facilities. His smart and selfless work behind the scenes was nothing short of miraculous.
Massive projects like the new outdoor nets, a new artificial wicket and the almost completed clubhouse renovation were down to him. His work is still bearing many fruits and will continue to do so. We want his wonderful family to be able to walk around the club and feel so proud about everything he achieved. Not in just the physical things you can see, but with that good nature and temperament of his that has proven to be so influential to so many members. His legacy is simply immense.
There is so much to be said about Richard's greatness. He really cared about others and would always lift your spirits when down. His sparkling sense of humour had the power to shine through the darkness. I'll never forget how, when in hospital during another round of chemotherapy, he went on Twitter to tell one of our 1st XI batsmen that he could still score more runs than him.
Whether as a father, husband, cricket club member or human being, Richard did so much good in his life and will always be an inspiration to so many. We must all strive hard to respect his memory and work by treasuring all he did for us and building on it. That brave, caring and generous spirit will live on and remain a part of our lives.
Richard Robbins. A real life superhero. He makes a difference."
Akshay Loomba, 1st XI Vice Captain:
"Rich was one person who would carry himself with a smile on his face and was always thinking about his next joke, be it out on the pitch or in and around the club. He was incredibly witty, smart and a great laugh. Between Rich and I there was a constant battle between us of him taking the mick out of my batting and me trying to prove to him that I am as good a batsman that I say I am. Even when he was recovering in hospital he sent me a tweet saying he can score more runs than me from his hospital bed.
For me this summed up the man he was. Even in such tough circumstances he wanted to be involved with the club he loved and even such a horrible illness couldn’t take that mischief and wit away from him. He had a real love for the game, something that we all share at this cricket club. However, his love for the game went a little further.
He was an incredibly hard working member of the committee and I was lucky enough to be a part of that committee that did some amazing work for this club, often led by Richard. He never wanted any praise or recognition for what he did for this club and went about his business with little fuss.
As a cricketer he was hard hitting, explosive and fearless, I have had the best seat in the house on the other end on a number of occasions to watch the Rockin' Robbins show. Owning the heaviest bat in the world, he made the game look so easy. I remember in the most recent interclub game for the club, which was the last game Richard played, he opened the batting for the opposite team and as usual got the team off to a cracking start going at about 10 an over.
He smashed a ball at me at mid-off, which I tried to stop, but it was hit too powerfully and went through my hands for four. A real stinger that was causing me a lot of pain! I knew the pain would go away after a couple more deliveries but to my bad luck, the very next ball he hit even harder straight at me! I didn’t have the courage to put myself through that again and let the ball go past me for four runs. As you can imagine, Rich was on the floor laughing and didn’t let me forget that moment for the rest of the day! A great human being, a great cricketer and a great friend."
Sumeet Khetia, 2nd XI Captain:
"I really enjoyed general banter with Rich and can't add any more superlatives to the great man. My standout memory was Rich thanking me for bowling to him in nets once, because I was "his favourite brand of medium pace". I got taken apart for the next 15 minutes…"
Kyle Lawrence, Sunday Captain:
"Richard was one of the first people to make me feel really welcome at Northwood Town Cricket Club. He was kind and warm hearted. Richard was a truly gentle man with a brutal side when it came to batting. He was a passionate man who always thought of others before himself and his passion for Northwood Town Cricket Club will be missed both on and off the pitch.
A true gentleman and my words don't even come close to the man he was."