Its with great sadness that we have just heard of the passing away of Alan Phillips or “Ace” as he was known to everyone at the cricket club.
Alan’s association with Northwood Town Cricket Club started in 1973 when the present club was formed following the amalgamation of Northwood Hills and Central Northwood cricket clubs. Alan had been a member of the latter club for some years previously.
During his time with Northwood Town Alan fulfilled many roles which included the occasional donning of whites and playing for predominately the 3rd or 4th XI’s in the 70’s and 80’s when the club was ever struggling to make up a team.
In playing in a match – Alan showed great courage and determination because being born with cerebral palsy he had always been restricted through the ensuing physical affects to run and even walk in a normal manner.
Despite this physical handicap Alan loved playing cricket and whilst as a left-hand batsman did not have the flair of the likes of a David Gower – he never gave his wicket away cheaply showing an extreme doggedness when batting. Those who played with him would not only remember his huffing and puffing whilst running between the wickets but also the perpetual need for him to reposition his glasses on the bridge of his nose after every run he made. Alan would occasionally turn his arm over to bowl off breaks if the need arose in a game and he was well known for adopting a fearless position close to the bat when fielding and often being hit. On this happening he would just have a great laugh and keep smiling and stay in the same position.
Alan was also a regular member of the Northwood Town famous cricket tours to Somerset in the 1970’s.
When Alan finally hung up his boots in the 80’s his contribution to the club turned to other areas which included helping for many years on groundsman duties when he would be seen happily sitting on the roller and rolling the main square at the club. He was a very practical man and therefore often lended his hand to repairing any of the ground and clubhouse bar equipment when needed.
Alan will be most remembered though by those associated with the club since the 1990’s with his help and assistance with the Northwood Town Colt section at that time. This was a period when the cricket club first engaged in having a Colts section to “bring through and teach” both children of playing members and other local teenager’s the fundamentals of cricket in the aim of ensuring the cricket clubs future. Alan was a committed member of the Colts section and would be seen at most of the training sessions and Colts matches including on many occasions providing a taxi service for some of the players to take them to away matches.
Again, those who remember Alan will not forget seeing him sitting at the bar in the clubhouse having his pint of bitter and smoking (when indoor smoking was allowed) his passionate Hamlet cigar and sharing many a cricket story with anyone who was around. He was a regular attendee to any social event held at the club and greatly enjoyed joining in with any singing at musical evenings hosted by Mike Fidler.
Unfortunately, in the last 10-15 years Alan’s association with the cricket club became less and less - in part because of the previously mentioned physical restrictions meant he found it very difficult to combat the stairs up to the first-floor lounge bar and seating area. He would though occasionally drive down and sit outside the pavilion and watch a game of his beloved cricket.
Alan assisted in compiling over 10 years ago a brief history article of the cricket club with Ben Rawson Jones which is still posted under the History tab on the club web site. This not only identifies the Town’s history but also goes back to the original formation of a cricket club playing in Northwood Recreation ground way back in 1937 i.e. Northwood Hills Cricket Club.