Stevenage Cricket Club chairman pays tribute to ‘sporting giant’

Cyril Hammond, 2nd along from left, front row

Cyril Hammond, 2nd along from left, front row - Credit: Archant

A Comet country sporting legend passed away this week.

Keen footballer and cricketer Cyril Hammond died on May 16 aged 89 at Elizabeth Court in Hitchin.

Born in 1924 Mr Hammond served in the British Army in Italy during WWII.

After being demobilised he took up playing cricket for Arlesey Cricket Club with his brothers’ Ken and Peter Hammond between 1948 and 1953 before moving on to play for Stevenage Cricket Club (CC).

Peter Gill, chairman of Stevenage CC, played the sport with Mr Hammond and fondly remembers what kind of man he was.

The 77-year-old said: “He was one of those people who does everything. He would be looking after the grounds and cutting the grass.

“Every club has one person who does all the jobs necessary to keep it from collapsing and he was that man.

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“He was friendly and was always helping younger players. He was an ordinary person as well. In those days there was a lot of snobbery in cricket but he made you feel at home and got normal people to play the sport.”

After playing for Stevenage CC Mr Hammond moved on to become club secretary for Gloucester Cricket Club in the 1950s until he retired aged 65.

During his time at the club England international players such as Roland Butcher – the first black man to play cricket for England – and Tony Wright – who scored more than 10,000 runs for Gloucester – were mentored by him.

He arranged for Mr Butcher to have his trial at the club in 1968 after playing for Stevenage CC and he went on to play for club and country.

After his retirement Mr Hammond took up the role of secretary of Baldock Town FC until it’s collapse in 2001.

His brother Peter, Hitchin Town FC’s first England international, said: “He was a much loved brother and a sporting giant.”

He is survived by both his brothers and leaves behind children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren.

Mr Hammond funeral service will be held at Harwood Park Crematorium on Tuesday.

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