Geoff Slipper tributes

In memory of Southgate CC stalwart Geoff Slipper who died on 22 July.

Thanks to all those who have contributed.

To those who haven’t, you can still leave your comments in the space provided – just scroll down to the bottom of this section.

Many thanks.

The Tributes

Dyann and Steve Rowe So sorry to hear of Geoff’s passing. Sorry, too, that we will be on holiday during the funeral, otherwise Dyann and I would definitely have been there.

Geoff was the welcoming and laidback face of Southgate when I joined in 1975. There were still a few (metaphorical) retired colonels from Tunbridge Wells around the club at that time, but Geoff was most definitely not one of them! Always immaculately-attired, always relaxed, always smiling. The Extra Firsts were a pleasure to play with and Geoff was a stalwart and Pat a virtual ever-present. Good company and good cricket was the order of the day. Take away the cups and the trophies and those were the times I remember with most fondness. Please send our condolences to Pat and the rest of the family. Our thoughts will be with them on August 5th.

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Geoff Slipper – The Cricketer, by Geoff Burton Geoff joined Southgate CC in 1970 on the same day as our current President, Peter Chadwick. Geoff had previously played for Old Stationers CC but moved in order to play on a proper cricket pitch rather than a playing field.

Geoff quickly established himself in the old Extra 1st X1 (who played exclusively in friendlies and cup matches and continued so to do even when the leagues were well established). His ability to bowl straight, and even more importantly to bowl to the field set for him, made him a great asset and was much appreciated by his captain (invariably Bob Cole). Geoff was a safe catcher either close to the wicket or out in the sticks; his batting, which in his youth had been his mainstay, was in later years generally rather belligerent – he certainly favoured the midwicket area. His other trick was the ability to shut up shop if it was necessary to play for a draw.

1983 saw a change in both Geoff’s and Southgate’s cricket: the Saturday Extra 1st were abolished and a new team, Southgate A X1, were created. The A team aimed to play village-style cricket mainly in Hertfordshire, and the bulk of the players chosen were approaching middle-age who had perhaps left their very best cricket behind them. Peter Chadwick captained this team for its entire life (just under 20 years, by which time the Hertfordshire villages were going into leagues) and Peter, like Bob, used Geoff as his dependable bowler.

Geoff’s bowling changed very little throughout his long career. He had two stock balls: an inswinger that he started on off stump and virtually forced the batsman to play to leg; and the other, which probably got him more wickets, was a leg cutter that started on middle and off, and in the right conditions moved sharply towards the slips. His pace was really slow medium, but there were subtle changes of pace and the ability to bowl a 23 yarder. After 1983 Geoff played in any of the Sunday teams (we put out four Sunday sides up to 1990) and he would regularly take 70 or 80 wickets each season.

Geoff played some cricket for other clubs: he always played in the Old Stationers Presidents X1 at Botany Bay and he usually went with the OS on their day match at Hambledon. He played for the midweek Malcontents and occasionally the Dales. He toured Devon several times with Southgate Compton and took a hat trick at Seaton. In recent years Geoff match managed and usually played in the Veterans game at Southgate Compton, which has been a fixture for many years now.

Geoff’s passing will leave a big gap at Southgate. He was a real cricketer and a gentleman. RIP.

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From Ricky Gunn Southgate Cricket Club is deeply saddened to learn that Geoff Slipper died on 22 July following a courageous fight against prostate cancer. Geoff joined the club in 1969 having previously played cricket and football for Old Stationers. A medium-pace bowler who could move it in the air and get deviation off the pitch, he was difficult to score runs off. In addition he was capable of entertaining “cameo” innings lower down the order. He was a regular in the Extra 1st XI throughout the 1970s and achieved his best return of 7-17 in a National Knock-Out match against Hurlingham Oddfellows in 1977, a year in which he took 76 wickets.

Amongst numerous 50s, his best were 79 against Aspenden in 1987 and 72 out of a seventh wicket stand of 109 against Kings Langley in 1980. Although he played for the 3rd XI league side in the 1990s he was not a fan of league cricket, preferring the camaraderie of the club’s Saturday “A” XI where he was equally popular amongst the oppositions. More recently he organised the annual Veterans XI match against Southgate Compton in which he played his final game in 2008.

Southgate Cricket Club has lost a very dear friend and keen supporter and he will be much missed. Our sincere condolences go to his wife Pat and the family.

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From Chris Sexton Very sad to hear to hear this news. To me Geoff was the epitome of an English gentleman and will be greatly missed. As well as his playing career at Southgate, so well described by Geoff Burton, he made an important contribution to the Colts section, coaching and driving kids to matches. I also had the pleasure of going to White Hart Lane with him occasionally when his great sense of humour and realism brightened the mood, whatever the result.

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From Southgate CC President Peter Chadwick I was introduced to Geoff by Jim Stokes, another sadly departed Southgate stalwart, at the Adelaide in April 1970. This was the first game either Geoff or I played for Southgate. It certainly was not the last as Geoff and I formed a bowling partnership that lasted going on for 20 years. Together we were the backbone of the Extra First bowling attack, although “attack” is a bit of a misnomer as persistent “strangling” was our method, relying on batsmen’s patience to run out before ours. Geoff did this with immense grace and courtesy to opposition and umpire, smiling equally at success and setbacks. I never saw him show any anger or heard him raise his voice on or off the field.

Later, Geoff and I were stalwarts of the A XI, the roving team of ageing and coming-of-age Southgate CC ambassadors to the Hertfordshire villages. As an example to the youngsters in our side, Geoff was a model of how to be a gentleman when playing and winning at cricket. Our arch rivals were Hertingfordbury, with multiple matches each season. Geoff was so well liked and respected by the Hertingfordbury club that he was elected a Vice President and turned out regularly for them in their cricket week.

We will all miss Geoff, one of the nicest and most modest persons I have been lucky enough to know as a friend on and off the cricket field.

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From Alan Jenner Geoff and I joined Southgate at more or less the same time, but our paths rarely crossed in those early days. For me it was about learning the game within the culture of competitive league and cup cricket, while Geoff much preferred the more traditional customs of friendly, but still competitive, Extra 1st fixtures. But as the 1970s ended so I found myself playing on Sundays for Bob Cole and there my connection, friendship and affection for Geoff began.

He was a permanent fixture in the Extra 1st X1, always to be relied upon to bowl as many – or as few – overs as was wanted; always relied upon to bat at whatever number the captain decided and also to bat in a way whatever the captain required of him. Others have talked about his batting prowess, but I can only remember Geoff having a penchant for clouting it in the direction of the church – and not on the ground either! I remember him most for his bowling, seemingly innocuous from the ringside but there was much more to it when out in the middle. During the late 1970s and early 1980s we played a lot of cricket together, particularly enjoying the cut and thrust of the Bertie Joel Cup where we enjoyed three or four great cup runs and even winning it in 1982. Geoff could always be relied upon to bowl his nine overs quickly and economically, often finishing his spell before the ‘oppo’ had worked out what to do about him.

We also had the shared pleasure of working for Peter Jouning and Adam Removals – indeed, Geoff jacked in his previous career (whatever that was?) to become some sort of partner. Lumping heavy furniture around North London would not immediately be thought of as a job that Geoff with his immaculately coiffured hair would have easily turned to. But Geoff was perfect in the role, paying great attention to detail and smoothing over any potential tensions with the customers. He was never afraid, either, of getting his hands dirty when he had to.

When I returned to the club in the early 1990s I took on the role of Colts’ Chair and will be forever indebted to Geoff’s support and his sterling work with the Colts for so many years. He became my right-hand man, never comfortable in taking the lead but very happy to stay in the background and do whatever was needed. By then Geoff had joined the police as a civilian and as we both used to be in the office before 7:00am. I often used to phone him and discuss the various colts and the matches. Although he was not blessed with children who had his love for cricket and football he got a real pleasure from running colts’ teams and had a particular love of one Under 13 X1 that included the likes of Jamie Thorpe and Matthew Feeney. Both have gone on to become excellent club cricketers and Geoff would have been quietly very proud of their achievements. Geoff had always promoted the idea of a Colts’ Dinner and with a little persuasion he organised the very first one with his usual quiet attention to detail. It was a roaring success and I am pleased to note that it still continues to this day.

In later years I have seen less of him but we have kept in touch through email and the occasional sighting at the Walker Ground. He was able to talk about many subjects, but he was also a great listener – not something that can be attributed to many sportsmen! He was particularly passionate about football and cricket and was very comfortable standing with a crowd of blokes reminiscing about the Spurs Double side or cricket matches he had played in or grounds he had played at or watched from. Geoff was always so good with people and he enjoyed, respected and appreciated the company of the ladies. He was always guaranteed to speak to Sally whenever the situation arose and was always prepared to listen to William!

Following a thoroughly dreadful experience with cider in the 6th Form I was never convinced by Geoff of its merits, but he was always the first to offer to buy me a beer, talk about cricket and have a laugh. I am so glad that I knew him. He was an absolute decent fellow and will be sorely missed by his family and friends.

From Geoff’s daughter, Helen Mum has asked me to forward some photos to go on the tribute website which give a sense of how “Dabs” enjoyed life and his cricket. We thank everyone for the tributes that have been put up.



New club coaching guide launched

In a tense press conference at the Walker Ground today, club captain Rob Johnson launched the new Southgate CC coaching guide. Through gritted teeth he was almost heard to say, “The standard of cricket this year has been simply awful. Tucked in shirts, proper flannels and good old-fashioned manners have been in short supply. And no one seems to have heard of Brylcreem or a proper hair parting.

“Now I’ve decided to do something about it. All players are required to stare at the attached coaching guide for no less than 12 hours every day, including Saturdays. Anyone who fails to do so is an absolute bounder and a cad.”

And with that he was gone. So, gentlemen of Southgate, the hard work begins right here.