Tributes paid to cricket-loving Ron

TRIBUTES have been paid to Ron Noyce, one of the founder members of the Two Counties Cricket Championship.Noyce, who was 84 and died in Colchester General Hospital on Sunday night, was the league's first chairman and first president.

Nick Garnham

TRIBUTES have been paid to Ron Noyce, one of the founder members of the Two Counties Cricket Championship.

Noyce, who was 84 and died in Colchester General Hospital on Sunday night, was the league's first chairman and first president.

An opening batsman with Mistley and then Brantham, Noyce helped form the league in 1971 and was chairman from then up until 1982. He held the position of president up until his death.

Norman Atkins, who succeeded Noyce as chairman, said yesterday: “He was the face of the Two Counties Championship.

“The standards he set were high and were maintained so that the championship was in the position it was from when it started up until now.

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“I was on the original committee with him and you could not wish to meet a nicer person.

“I spoke to him two weeks ago and he was very bright and cheerful and looking forward to the new season.

“So it came as a surprise that he had died following a fall at home that caused him to be taken into hospital and from which sadly he never recovered.”

Noyce, who was born in Manningtree and attended Colchester Royal Grammar School, was married to Hazel for 63 years until she died, aged 83, last September.

The couple had one daughter, Tina, who flew back with husband Julius from Australia, where the couple have a house in Perth, arriving on Saturday to spend time with him before he passed away.

Son-in-law Julius Stephens said: “Cricket was his passion. He really enjoyed his role as president of the Two Counties, and when the Over-50s representative side started up he had a new lease of life. He loved turning up to watch the matches.

“He was a wonderful man with a dry sense of humour. He was a man's man and enjoyed a beer.

“Losing Hazel was a big blow to him. They had been married 63 years and lived in the same house for 60 years.

“He had never cooked anything in his life until after Hazel died and he was very proud when he cooked some lamb chops.”

Geoff Newman, match manager of the Two Counties Over-50s and 60s sides, said: “Ron and Hazel used to come to all our games and he was looking forward to the new season. He said 'I will see you at the first game' as it is at Mistley, near to where he lived.

“Ron and Hazel would go to a different club every weekend to make sure their faces were seen. He was welcomed with open arms everywhere.

“He was just a very, very nice man. He was so supportive of every thing we did. I can't speak too highly of him. He was a good friend of everybody and no-one had a bad word to say about him. It is a very sad day.”

As a player Ron was an opening batsman and formed a prolific partnership with George Lambert at Mistley for 10 years before joining Brantham in the late 1950s.

Neal Manning, who played at Brantham under Ron's captaincy, said: “He was the inspiration behind Brantham both on and off the field.

“Brantham had a very strong side with the likes of Peter Hudson, Paul Dale, Bill Martin and Rex Tarbard and Ron improved the quality of the fixture list to match.

“Ray East joined the club as a youngster and Ron was instrumental in helping him to join Essex after just one season.”

Noyce, who was also a member of the Hoboes, the Colchester-based touring team, retired from playing in the mid-1970s.

He worked for Edme Ltd, the maltsters in Manningtree, joining as a 16-year-old and working his way up to become a director of the company.

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