The cricketing world is greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Simon Porter, on 9tth February aged 66. He was one of the leading figures in Oxfordshire cricket for over 40 years, a senior member of the Minor Counties Cricket Association, and major contributor to Oxford University Cricket Club. Simon was deeply respected by those with whom he came into contact. All groups praised him not only for his diverse efforts in the cricketing community but also for his high values and his gentlemanly conduct on and off the field.
Simon was born in Oxford in 1950, he was exceptionally bright and, having attended Littlemore GS, he went up to Oxford University aged only 16. He secured a first class honours degree in Engineering and completed a doctorate at 22. He then became Bursar at St Cross College and later assumed a similar position at Nuffield College. He retired at 46, and subsequently devoted his time to his coin business and his many cricketing roles
Simon was a notable cricketer, winning an Oxford Blue in 1973 and playing 127 matches for Oxfordshire from 1971-88. His total of 355 wickets places him seventh on the list of all time wicket-takers for the County and he was a useful batsman too, scoring 1840 runs with a top score of 76.v Wiltshire at Devises in 1981. His best bowling performance was 7-38 against Buckinghamshire at Christ Church in 1977. He was part of the Oxfordshire championship winning sides in 1974 and 1982 and was selected to tour Kenya with the Minor Counties in 1982. e was elected the Minor Counties’ President from 2009-11 and was greatly admired for attending so much minor counties’ cricket in different parts of the country during his three summers in that position.
Simon’ played club cricket for Headington United, captaining the side from 1973 to 1985,and leading them to the Cherwell League title, which he had helped to found, in 1974, 1977, and 1981 and to success in the national indoor competition in 1977. He also captained the OCCA representative team and led them to the national title in 1979.
Throughout this period Simon was also managing cricket in The University Parks in his role as Oxford University Cricket Club Senior Treasurer, and latterly Chairman. He would generally be in the pavilion on match days, ensuring all ran smoothly and entertaining officials and guests. He was also Secretary of the Oxford University Authentics from 1973-2013.
Simon's catch phrase during tense times on the cricket field was always 'peace and love'; It is to be hoped that he has found the former, and the latter will live on in abundance through his family – his wife, Rosalyn, and cricket playing daughters Genevieve and Eloise, and all his many, many friends.:
NWG February 2017
CRICKET’S STALWART SERVANT
All associated with Minor Counties cricket will have been shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Geoff Evans last September at the age of 77. At the heart of everything that set Devon cricket in its pedestal over the course of the last 38 years, no less significant has been his work as Secretary of the Minor Counties Cricket Association. Indeed, the very continuation of competitive cricket at this level bears testimony to his quite remarkable talents.
A proud Devonian, the only son of a petroleum salesman, born in Exeter in April, 1939, Geoffrey Rossall Evans was educated at Hele’s Grammar School. While there, his prodigious talents, both sporting and academic, rapidly came to the fore. After a brief stint working for the library service, he later worked as a stock taker and valuer in the licensing trade. Joining locally based Heavitree Brewery in 1968, he retired in 2001.
As a cricketer, Evans first made his name as a talented wicket keeper and doughty lower order batsman, playing league cricket for both Exeter and Exmouth. An earnest and hard-working student of the game, he also toured with the Gentlemen of Devon. Both in front of, and behind the stumps, he played the game exactly as he lived his life-with a modesty and charm, yet with great dignity. Winters were invariably spent as a combative half back, playing soccer for a number of local teams.
He made the first of 20 appearances for Devon as they took on Dorset in the Minor Counties Championship at Queen’s park, Paignton, in August, 1972. Like many before and after, he made a duck on his debut. Six years later, he was an ever present as the county laid claim to their first championship title. Capped in 1979, that year marked his highest score at this level, 21, made against Somerset Second XI at Taunton. In all he claimed 34 victims: 25 caught and 9 stumped.
As his playing days wound down, Evans began to make an even deeper impression on the game as an administrator. Devon Secretary, from 1986 until 2009, his input off the field was mirrored by the county’s remarkable renaissance on it. Enjoying a close and productive partnership with captain, Peter Roebuck, during the 1990s the team collected a remarkable seven trophies in seven years. Between 2004 and 2011, his successors, Bobby Dawson and Neil Hancock added a further five.
Further afield, Evans’s expertise was also in demand within the management structures of minor counties cricket. In 2001, he proved a popular choice to succeed David Armstrong as Secretary of the Association. In the interim, having also successfully overseen the replacement of the old Devon Cricket Association with the fledgling Devon Cricket Board, he later succeeded Roger Moylan-Jones as Chairman of Devon County Cricket Club.