Roffey mourn stalwart player and much-respected coach

Roffey CC have paid tribute to legendary bowler, opening batsman and much-respected coach Les Reed.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 12:48 pm
Les Reed with his wife Pranee. Picture courtesy of Martin Read

The Boars' club captain Matt Davies said: “Everyone at the club is very sad to hear the news.

"The club owes him a lot, not only for his playing achievements, but for the help and encouragement that he provided to bring players through to the first team, coaching and mentoring – latterly including our chairman, Josh Fleming, and myself.

"He was a lovely man and impossible to replace.

"There is little doubt that the Club’s success over the last decade has been in large part down to the work done by Les in the 1990s and 2000s, greatly contributing to our on-field success.

"Our thoughts are with Les’ family at this difficult time.”

Sport had always been an important part in Les’ life, beginning his cricket career in the West Country, for Wiveliscombe, and continuing with Wellington, following four years with the RAF in the UK and Australia.

Back in the UK, he also enjoyed playing football for Dulverton Town and coached youths at Wellington FC.

Then, in the late 1960s, the company he was working for – Walter Gregory – was taken over by Upjohn of Crawley, bringing Les to West Sussex, where he joined Roffey.

After qualifying as a coach, Les played a pivotal role at Roffey and at primary schools in the region.

Then, having retired from playing, following a few years’ gap, Les resumed by joining Somerset over-50s, despite the lengthy commute.

After finally hanging up his boots, Les returned to live in Wellington, at the same time buying a house in Bangkok, to where he subsequently moved permanently, and recently died.

Former Roffey president, Peter Cheesman, told the County Times: “Les was a really lovely chap, having known him for over 50 years.

Apart from being a very good cricketer, Les was an excellent organiser, over the years introducing many splendid fund raising schemes into Roffey CC.

He was also a very good darts player, captaining the successful darts side at Roffey during the seventies and eighties.

However, his finest ability was to spot above average cricketers at an early age, Bruce Pike, Darren Dance, Darren Webb, Paul Harrison and Matt Davies immediately spring to mind.

Les’ general view on colts’ sides was simple: have a few stars in the team, but never forget those who just make up the numbers, always finding a way to make certain all 11 players had a game, sending them home smiling.

"And, Les also coached England wicketkeeper batsman Sarah Taylor at a very early age, around 10.”