Chairman's Blog

It is with very great sadness that we have learnt of the death on Boxing Day 2016 of Jimmy Cox, one of the Straggler stalwarts, and a former President of the Club.
Jimmy’s Straggler career spans some 37 years as a player (more than half of the life of the Club), and another 17 years as a member of the committee and generous supporter of the Stragglers.  Jimmy made his Straggler debut in 1962 against Davington Priory on 26th August 1962 and scored an undefeated three runs in what looks like a gritty draw (Davington 178 for 5 dec: SS 150 for 4), and went on the play in the final games of the season.  Jimmy was awarded his cap, and invited to become a full member of the Club at the end of the 1963 season.
The commentary on each season in the first five decades of the Club “books” are short on detail, so mere mention is significant.  In 1971 Jimmy warranted a “played good innings,” and was second in the averages for the season, scoring the first of 9 half centuries (55).  1974 saw recognition for Jimmy’s supporting role with the bat, again second in the averages, this time behind brother-in-law Peter Canney (in 1979 they were referred to as “the backbone” of the batting).  1976 saw Jimmy as leading run scorer with 288 runs for the season, and in following year Jimmy set his then personal Straggler best with 68 against Detling.  He went on to better this twice, with 77 in 1986 (opening the batting with Bobby Neame at Kenfield) and with 72 at Bossingham in 1989 .  Through the ’90s until his retirement from playing in 1999, Jimmy continued to contribute regularly amidst a side full of more youthful vigour.  Jimmy’s final games were a robust rearguard action at Bishopsbourne (15*) to secure a draw, and in a close run defeat at Eastry.  Jimmy stands at number 9 on the all time list of Straggler run scorers, with 2,543 runs from 173 innings and a career average of 16.51.
Jimmy was invited to join the Committee in 1977, when the Club was still very firmly run by founder Wyndham Fletcher, and, after 20 years of service, succeeded Wyndham as the second President of the Club following the 50th anniversary celebrations.  Jimmy saw the Club through a challenging period of rebuilding, before standing down as President in 2007 to pass the baton to Peter Budden.  Jimmy finally retired from the Committee in 2014.  His wise counsel, depth of experience and great enthusiasm for the Club has been welcomed by members of the committee and Match Managers over the decades.
Jimmy was an occasional bowler for the Stragglers, albeit with sufficient regularity and success to be one of the 40 bowlers to have taken 50 wickets or more.  Jimmy secured 54 scalps in 374 overs, and at a very respectable career average of 24.50.  Jimmy bowled his first overs without success in 1962, before having a couple of his more successful seasons in 1966 (4 for 21 vs. Saltwood) and 1967 (4 for 44 vs. Stowting), with 8 victims in each.  Jimmy’s “annus mirabilis” of 1976, saw him not only as leading run scorer, but taking 11 for 184 from 57 overs with his career best figures of 4 for 17 against Evington.  He clearly relished the conditions presented by the drought of 1976.  Jimmy continued bowling into the ’90s, taking his final three wickets in 1996.
With 39 catches in the outfield, Jimmy is at number 12 on the all time list.  He was also a useful wicket keeper, often standing in when the Club was in one of the regular periods of reliance on keepers with metallic nicknames.  With a career total of 16 catches and 2 stumpings as keeper, Jimmy peaked in 1978 as leading keeper with 6 catches and a stumping.
For many years, players in the Bishopsbourne fixture enjoyed the considerable hospitality of a Cox barbecue before the game, not always to the benefit of subsequent performance in the field.  And more recently Jimmy and Libby have generously hosted a lunch before the Standard Athletic Club fixture, an early season highlight, and memorial to Toby.  After 54 years of commitment to the Stragglers, Jimmy will be very greatly missed.