STAN RUDDER – THE END OF AN ERA By Mike Vimpany Hampshire cricket legend Stan Rudder has died, aged 75, after a brave and courageous fight against a debilitating illness. Despite being diagnosed with cancer several years ago, Rudder carried on playing cricket, turning out for both Waterlooville and the Hampshire Seniors until earlier this summer. His long and distinguished career ended in May, the veteran West Indian seam bowler taking a wicket and snapping up a slip catch in what turned out to be his final match for the county vets against Surrey at Liphook. Despite the deterioration in his health and mobility, Stan continued to support his team-mates from the boundary throughout the past summer, but last week was admitted to hospital. Geoff Owen, who captained Rudder during Havant‟s glory days in the 1970s, said: “Stan was the most respected and popular cricketer that I have known in club cricket and certainly never forgotten by any opposition who had the privilege of playing against him. “He was always totally concerned with behaving immaculately on and off the field of play. “His willingness to pass on his knowledge about the art of bowling, especially to youngsters, was totally admirable but he always maintained he had the best teacher in Malcolm Marshall, the Hampshire and West Indies fast bowler, whom he idolised.” In an astonishing league career, which spanned over half a century, Rudder sent down 4,029 overs, of which 1,173 were maidens. His 535 wickets came at an economy rate of just 2.53 runs per over. His career-best bowling performance was 8-13 for Havant against Waterlooville in 1977. He won Southern League championship medals with Havant and South Hants Touring Club and, despite being well into his 40s at the time, was an automatic choice for the league‟s successful representative side. In late August, Stan left his wheelchair to fulfil his most endearing ambition by bowling his maiden delivery at the Rose Bowl, the home of Hampshire Cricket. It was a poignant and moving act by an inspirational character. Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove said at the time: „It was a real pleasure for us to be able to recognise Stan and his incredible service to cricket in our region for over half a century. “As well as his performances on the field, Stan should be recognised for his devotion to the game off it, including his work to encourage thousands of youngsters to take up the game. “It is people like Stan who make cricket so special.” He graced the cricket grounds of Hampshire and beyond for over 50 years, stifling countless batsmen in the process with his economical, spearing off- cutters. Born and bred in Barbados, Rudder was among the many immigrants who left their homeland in the late 1950s, settling in Portsmouth, where he married and raised a family. He was later joined by his younger brother Cleighton (a left-arm spin all- rounder). Together, they were a formidable bowling force for EEM, an HM Dockyard side playing on the local parks pitches in Portsmouth. Equally generous in victory or defeat – he always played in the true spirit of the game - Stan went on to become arguably the most respected bowler in the Southern League. Quietly spoken and a real gentleman, Stan was a real character both inside and out of the dressing room, living life to the full. He made a number of return visits to his native Barbados, the last being in November 2009 for an International Seniors‟ Festival. Recounting his career, Stan charted his 'finest hours' in cricket in 1979 and 1980, when he played for the Southern League team which won the Club Cricket Conference Inter-League Cup and, as the Hampshire Cricket Association, won the National Inter-County Championship in consecutive seasons. Stan played his Sunday cricket for Zombies for many years, ending his career at Waterlooville. For the past two decades Stan had been a regular in the Hampshire Seniors' cricket team, playing for both the Over-50s and Over-60s teams. He was honoured by selection for England Over-60s against Australia in 2009. Alongside his family and church, cricket was Stan's life and, after retiring from work, he helped out with playground sport at St Edmund's RC School in Portsmouth, introducing many youngsters to cricket and teaching them proper cricket etiquette. Until his illness took a grip, Stan was happy to play 3rd XI cricket at Waterlooville and help youngsters into the game. He thought nothing of bowling his stint and then standing at mid-on, passing on tips not only to younger team-mates – but also the opposition! Whilst cricket formed a major part of Stan‟s life, he was a devoted church-goer and, some ten years ago, had the honour of being appointed the Church Warden at St Mary's Church in Portsmouth, the first black person in the country to be afforded such a position. The title “legend” is far too freely used these days. In Stan‟s case, it really was true. Local sport will not see his like again …. Details of funeral arrangements will be published as soon as they are known.
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