Sandy Scrimgeour
9th January, 1940 - 19th March, 2013

JOHN PICKUP'S TRIBUTE TO SANDY SCRIMGEOUR

It is an honour to have been invited to pay a tribute to Sandy's lifetime contribution to the game he loved so much, namely cricket.

A funeral is, of course, a sad occasion where we mourn the passing of a loved one, such as Sandy, but it also provides an opportunity to celebrate Sandy's life and my particular task is to talk about his affection for and dedication to the game of cricket, typically epitomised by his request that we should wear our cricketing ties here today.

Sandy's playing days were principally at Heaton Mersey Cricket Club and in those days I did not know him that well but what I do know is that he started as a bowler and also took up wicket keeping as well, which one would imagine suited his profile, and doubtless afforded him the opportunity of giving the opposition batsmen some advice! Sandy has always been a mainstay of the Club both on and off the field of play.

However, It is not for what Sandy got out of the game that Sandy will be mainly remembered but rather for what he put into the game.

After ceasing to play he took up Umpiring, joined the Cheshire County League Umpires panel and, in an age when the questioning of an Umpires decision is not unknown, it would have been a brave, not to say foolhardy, player who would seek to question one of Sandy's decisions. Perish the thought! Yet when the game was over Sandy liked nothing better than to socialise and would always journey back to Heaton Mersey to be with his cricketing colleagues there.

But Sandy's greatest talents were to come to the fore in his part in the administration of the game. Sandy served as the Fixture Secretary of the Cheshire County League for 28 years, from 1983 - 2010, when he retired because of illness. His contribution to this complex job in a very progressive League was recognised when in 2011 he was appointed an Hon. Life Vice President of the League.

This was, however, only one string to his bow for at the same time he served on the Cheshire County Club Committee. Firstly he acted as Team Manager of the Cheshire Association team playing in the then NCA Competition which evolved into the County "2nd XI", later called the "A XI" team. Later Sandy became the Team Manager of the County 1st XI and indeed for a while did the job for both the "A XI" and the 1st team.

All these jobs Sandy did with typical vigour, energy and efficiency. It is not to say that, just occasionally, he did not upset somebody for he was, if I may be excused for saying so, a typically feisty Scot. We got on well together during the time he was Team Manager of the 1st XI and I was Chairman of the County Club. If I said something which was contrary to his opinion he would acknowledge my point of view very politely, go off and then do what he wanted to do anyway!

But I would forgive him because I knew his heart was in the right place, that things would be done efficiently and on the Sunday morning of a match, when I was eating my porridge, I had absolute confidence that he would ensure Cheshire had eleven players on the pitch, all properly registered and the requisite average age met. An absolute priority for the Chairman's peace of mind! Of course, it was not always the XI the Chairman of Cricket had expected!

During Sandy's tenure as 1st XI Team Manager the team enjoyed considerable success reaching two Minor Counties Championship Finals and a Knock Out Final but I am sure his proudest moment was when the County won the Championship in 2007 by beating Northumberland, on their own ground at Jesmond, by an innings and 4 runs. Not only that, but Sandy's insistence on the team being immaculately turned out in their blazers at the Trophy presentation earned him accolades from the Minor Counties Officials. His smile that day was as wide as the River Tyne.

For Sandy standards of team dress and good timekeeping were non-negotiable. It might not have always endeared him to the players but none were brave enough to complain. Even the Chairman felt compelled at away games to come to breakfast wearing Blazer and County tie.

After the close of play Sandy was always at the centre of any social evening at away games, whether it had been a good day or bad, it did not deter him from encouraging other Officials from joining him in seeking to expand their waistbands, albeit we came a poor second.

Both Sandy and Elise were appointed Hon. Life Members of the County Club in recognition of their services to the County, whilst in 2008 both Sandy and Elise were nominated to attend the OSCAs Award lunch at Lords in recognition of their contribution to Cheshire cricket.

There is a saying that you do not know how much a person is missed until that person is not there. It is certainly true that Sandy's absence through illness highlighted how immense was his contribution to club, league and County cricket in Cheshire.

Sandy became ill in the Autumn of 2009 since when the cricketing fraternity has admired the great courage and determination he has shown in adversity whilst at the same time marvelling at the fortitude and bravery in very difficult circumstances shown by Elise. It difficult to find words adequate to express our admiration.

It is a mark of the affection for a person when he becomes widely known within his fraternity by one name without the need of the use of a surname. Whenever anyone enquired how "Sandy" was there was no ambiguity as to whom they were referring. This was a tribute to the mark of the man, well loved and known not only within Cheshire but within the wider cricketing fraternity.

Cricket in Cheshire misses Sandy not just for what he contributed but because he was a character. A character of whom his family can be justly proud. He always greeted me with "Good morning Chairman" accompanied by a lovely but mischievous smile

When St Peter welcomes Sandy through "the Pearly Gates", St Peter will know that his Heavenly Premier League fixtures will be impeccably arranged for the season, that he will have a Team Manager who will ensure that the St Peter's team is a competitive XI, well behaved and immaculately turned out and, of course, if an Umpire was needed who better! No one there will argue for the use of DRS.

Sandy, we will miss you but all of us thank you for your contribution to our enjoyment of cricket.

Our deepest sympathies go to Elise and her family.

May Sandy "Rest in Peace".

John B Pickup.
Chairman of Cheshire County Cricket Club and Minor Counties Cricket Association.