January 31st was a truly sad day for The Cricket Writers' Club, following the news that we had lost both Terry Cooper, who reported on rugby, as well as cricket, for the Press Association over many years; and Charles Randall, who was a mainstay of the Daily Telegraph's cricket coverage during the 1990s and 2000s. Two wonderful colleagues and companions. Our thoughts go out to their families at this incredibly difficult time. David (Toff) Lloyd), Ivo Tennant and Mark Baldwin pay tribute below.

Charles Randall's funeral will be at 12.30pm on Monday, 24th February at Christ Church, Radlett (Watling Street, WD7 7JJ) and after at Porter's Park Golf Club, Radlett (Shenley Hill, WD7 7AZ). Dress code will be club ties. No flowers please. Donations if desired to MCC Foundation.

The funeral for Terry Cooper will be at West Herts Crematorium, North Chapel, High Elms Lane, Watford, WD25 0JS on Thursday 27th February 2020 at 2.40pm; afterwards at Tabard (Radlett) Rugby Club, Cobden Hill, Radlett, WD7 7JN. Everyone welcome. Family flowers only. Details Will be supplied later for anyone wishing to give a donation to specific charity. To help give Terry’s family an idea of numbers please letting
Will Macpherson know so he can pass on.

TERRY COOPER - by David (Toff) Lloyd

It was the summer of 1986 when two wide-eyed, (relatively) young and hopeful hacks were let loose on the England cricket circuit. Not long up from the sticks, luckily they had a couple of things in their favour: a three-page ‘document’, closely typed on an old Olivetti, entitled “How a Test match fortnight works” and the company, for three internationals apiece, of that guide’s author.

Mark ‘Stanley’ Baldwin and I have re-read Terry Cooper’s words of wisdom on a good many occasions over the past 30-odd years, enjoying yet again his colourful turns of phrase and reminding ourselves how different the game of cricket reporting was before mobile phones, laptops and social media changed everyone’s world.

But what neither of us would ever want to alter, I know, is the experience of having had TC as our mentor - both in the press box and, arguably even more enlightening, out of it - during that international season of ‘86.

Cooper was made for agency work. And, more particularly, he was in his element ad-libbing copy over the phone at a time when the Press Association served dozens upon dozens of evening papers, regularly updating and renewing stories from the dreaded ‘0430’ through to 3 in the afternoon - or maybe even later if it was a really “zonking day’s play”.



If anyone had wanted to bet on a cricket writer having the longevity of, say, John Woodcock, Charlie Randall would have been a good call. He was slim, wry, seemed to eat and drink little, did not smoke, and, as he once demonstrated when covering Hampshire at Bournemouth, had evidently been a fine club cricketer for many years. He collected the ball on the boundary and, to the irritation of the fielder who had pursued it, fizzed it in over the stumps and into the wicket-keeper’s gloves

So his death from pneumonia, when only in his early ‘seventies, comes as a shock. He worked for the Daily Telegraph for 32 years, firstly on the sports desk and then as a cricket writer for a quarter of a century. Thankfully he, and his long-serving colleague Dicky Rutnagur avoided the unforgivable culling of several of their colleagues three weeks before the start of the 2010 season.

I happened to be in the press box, the old - and preferable - box at Lord’s with Charlie in 1989 when he was relatively new to cricket writing. It was early season and Yorkshire were giving a debut to a young fast bowler called Darren Gough, who took three Middlesex wickets for 44, coming on first change. Neither of us had heard of him. Charlie, diligent and polite as ever, asked the travelling White Rose correspondents - at least four in those days - if they could fill him in as he had a lengthy piece to write.


TERRY COOPER by Mark Baldwin

Well, TC, what can I say? You were the best of colleagues, and the perfect mentor to Toff and I when we joined PA (or The Joke Factory, as you called it).

By the time you guided me through the second half of that summer of ‘86, which featured England’s 1-0 series defeat to New Zealand - whose off spinner, John Bracewell, responded to one of your searching questions at an after-play press conference, to general hilarity: “Gee, mate, you’re a bit of a shit-stirrer, aren’t you?” - I had already had the pleasure of reporting several of England’s Five Nations matches as your ‘No 2’.

Indeed, we used to chuckle for years afterwards at my response to your very first ‘on-the-whistle’ instruction to me at Twickenham. You had just finished your run of play copy (‘cuffed’ on an open line to 85 Fleet Street) and were dashing off to conduct in your inimitable style the press conferences with the coaches and captains of England and Ireland. (There were no media relations officers in those days so, when England were the hosts, you just did it simply because everyone expected you to do it).

“Just give the desk a quick nightlead, will you? Wrap it all up. Say, eight pars or so... 300 words??”

Dutifully, and keen to show that I had indeed learned at the Western Daily Press that I could write to order under pressure, I constructed a concise and, if I may say so, perfectly-executed 300-worder on what had been a dramatic international in which Dean Richards had scored a hat-trick of tries from No 8 for England.


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20/08/2019: Is Steve Smith The Ronaldo Of Cricket? Australia Odds Drift For Third Test

William Hill have been inundated by England cricket fans over the last 24 hours as Steve Smith was ruled out of the Third Test of the Ashes. Originally priced at Even money, Joe Root's men have been backed in to 8/15 via a bit of 4/5. Australia, on the other hand, have drifted from 11/10 to 11/8.

"There are only a few sportspeople in the world whose absence can cause their team's price to drift so much,” said William Hill spokesman
Rupert Adams. "In the past, Ronaldo's absence for Portugal and Jonny Wilkinson's for England have done just that and now Steve Smith has joined the list."

Third Test winner:

8/15 England; 11/8 Australia; 13/2 draw

Man of the match:

6/1 Joe Root, 6/1 Jofra Archer, 9/1 Ben Stokes, 12/1 Stuart Broad, 12/1 Nathan Lyon, 12/1 Pat Cummins, 12/1 Mitchell Starc, 12/1 David Warner, 14/1 Chris Woakes, 14/1 Josh Hazlewood, 14/1 Rory Burns, 14/1 James Pattinson, 14/1 Jack Leach, 16/1 Usman Khawaja, 16/1 Travis Head, 16/1 Jonny Bairstow, 18/1 Jason Roy, 18/1 Peter Siddle, 20/1 Mitchell Marsh, 20/1 Marnus Labuschagne, 20/1 Sam Curran, 20/1 Cameron Bancroft, 20/1 Jos Buttler, 25/1 Matthew Wade, 25/1 Marcus Harris, 25/1 Joe Denly.

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