We are very saddened by the tragic news that our former player Andy Baker passed away suddenly on Saturday 25th July and as a club would like to offer our sincerest condolences to his family, his partner and two young daughters.
Andy, born in Grahamstown, South Africa in 1976, played for Northwood Town CC on and off between 1997 and 2009. His all-round skills with bat and ball created an instant impression – as did his charismatic character - particularly during a great run of games for our 1st XI in 1998/9 that showcased his huge talent. His abundance of energy and sense of fun endeared him to many teammates, who enjoyed much laughter with him on and off the field.
Andy took a total of 85 wickets for Northwood Town, with a best of 5-60, and scored 521 runs with a highest innings of 76. He will be very fondly remembered and sorely missed.
Below is a selection of tributes to Andy from former teammates. If you would like to add your tribute and memories of Andy to the page, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I remember playing Cricket with Andy. He was a very interesting character who I always got on with. I remember one match where we were under the cosh (4 wickets down for not many). Andy strolled to the middle like he owned the ground and proceeded to bash a quick 50. When he was eventually out he strolled back as he had strolled on stating in a loud voice that it was a fluke ball that got him out.
Another memory I have of Andy is on an end of the season bash (I use to fine the team for numerous misdemeanours > ducks, dropping catches etc > the money raised went to an end of the season meal). This particular event was in the Pizza restaurant in Northwood Hills.
I am almost certain that all of 2nd team boys were present. I recall we drank in excess of 100 bottles of Bud plus quite a few bottles of wine. I am not certain how it happened but on the way to the pub (after the meal) Andy ended up on top of the bus stop shelter!
I personally would like to pass on my deepest condolences and best wishes to Andy's partner and Family.”
- Mike Fidler
“So sorry to hear this news. A real NTCC personality. Thinking of his family tonight.”
- Robin Piper
“So sad....a real character.....RIP Andy”
- Aidan Pimm
“I first met ‘Bakes’ in the Northwood Hills pub and first impressions were that this is a ‘larger than life’ character. And I think that is how anyone who ever met him would describe him. He had a mischievous, infectious laugh and you always got the impression he was up to something even when he wasn’t!
It transpired that as an even younger kid than he was then he had played a bit of cricket at Eastcote so our obvious mission was to get him down to the Town. And there he would become a popular and long lasting character of Town lore.
The Town of the time was a hotbed of wind ups and Bakes fitted into that environment oh so well. He loved the laughs, the beers and the Bina and would regale us of the conspiracy theories he was so engaged with. On one visit to a pub in Rickmansworth he kindly informed me to be careful as agents were following us. He was great company either in a group or on a one to one basis and had great intelligence and knowledge that belied his exterior jokey persona.
But what about his cricket? He was one hell of a player when he put his mind to it. A fierce, fast opening bowler that kept many a batsman on their toes and a fantastic eye when crashing the ball to all parts of the ground. When he took his cricket seriously he was seriously good, but - like in life - he often preferred to have a laugh doing it.
His South African drawl never left him and would irate the opposition even more as he wound them up to the limit. He was a challenge to captain but equally a joy. And he was a loyal friend. Even when he wandered away from Town life like many of the old boys have, you would get the odd random text or call to see how you were doing. It was great to see he had settled down with a family and makes his untimely death even more tragic. We’ll miss you Bakes and be sure your presence at the Town enlightened all our lives in its boisterous heyday. Rest in peace friend.”
- Gerry Pimm
“Just heard this terrible news… RIP Andy”
- Adam Hills
“Andy was a great team player and a great laugh in the changing rooms. He was a very good player and it was a pleasure to play with him x”
- Simon Woodward
“I first remember meeting Andy as the new boy who had joined Haydon sixth form in around 1993. Straight away I couldn’t help but notice his colourful character, not to mention his colourful dress sense. Everything made sense when I heard the South African accent!
Although we went to the same school, I probably saw more of Andy down at The Northwood Hills pub at lunchtimes. I’ll never forget the time Andy showed me the big bag of 50 pence pieces he was feeding the fruit machine and then telling me to look closer at them. Andy taught me an important lesson that day - UK fruit machines accept Kenyan 50p pieces!
It wasn’t until a few years later that I got to know Andy really well when he became a member of NTCC.
Playing cricket with Andy would always add excitement to any game and you could never predict what might happen. He might hit a quick 50, he might bowl a bouncer and break the opening bat’s nose, he might take 5 wickets or he might even get sent off the pitch. Anything was possible.
Andy, Dan B, Dan P and myself often played down at the club on a Saturday which would then be followed by a night out. Like on the pitch, Andy was unpredictable. I have one clear memory of him jumping in to the vacant DJ stand in a pub, getting out the new CDs he had just bought and proceeding to mix them for the next hour or so. Andy entertained both the customers and staff that night and no one was gonna tell him to stop!
These nights out would invariably end up back at someone’s house listening to music together, talking nonsense and telling silly jokes. Andy was the king of silly jokes and no matter how many times we heard those same silly jokes, we laughed just as much, if not more.
The last time I saw Andy, I bumped in to him at Lovebox festival. I can’t tell you how appropriate it felt having not seen him for many years, spotting him smiling, cycling along on a large tricycle with a huge sound system strapped to the front.
Andy had passion. Whether it was cricket, music or politics, he went all in. I’m very sad to see Andy leave us so early when he put so much into the world.
Thanks for all the good times and making life much more interesting for everyone you came in to contact with. You left your mark and you will be missed x”
- Peter Hornett
“Though I only played cricket with Andy a few times, he was the kind of guy who stuck in your mind. An exceptional player on the pitch with a matching character off it. Lightning arm from the boundary. Even if the run out was the bowler’s end, I'd shout ‘keeper’ to save some digits!”
- Sumeet Khetia
“Andy was a real whirlwind of life, laughs and passion and will be hugely missed. I remember his first game and first wicket at Northwood Town very well. He’d come on to bowl down the hill and with his whippy action sent a couple of fast balls flying past the edge of the rather short old boy opening bat he was up against. Next ball came a cunningly disguised (very) slow ball out of the back of his hand, which the batsman ducked under before it collided with the stumps! The stunned batsman refused to leave the crease, but Andy helpfully let him know which way the pavilion was. That was Bakes, always trying something and not being fearful.
One game for the 1s in which he decided to play as a wicket-keeper – much to the hilarious consternation of Captain Carter – will live on long in the memory. As will a great swashbuckling counter-attack innings away to local rivals Northwood, when Bakes turned a disaster into something defendable with the help of a few innovative shots in our time of need.
There were a few times after his playing days were over when he’d call me up completely out of the blue from a mobile number I didn’t recognise and put on a funny accent, pretending to be someone else. It wasn’t too long before that familiar accent came through and we’d be laughing. He loved his cheeky wind-ups!
More recently on Facebook, there was a reminder of the passion Andy had over injustice. He cared deeply about righting wrongs and this came through so admirably during the pandemic, in which he took the government to task and called them out on a number of misdeeds. The world needs more justice, passion and fun – and a world without Bakes and his wide, cheeky smile feels much emptier. But his spirit will very much live on.”
- Ben Rawson-Jones
“RIP Andy, thoughts with his family”
- Daniel Groom
A fundraising page has been set up for donations to help Andy’s family with funeral and other costs at this difficult time: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-andy-bakers-family-fund