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Bob Llewellyn

Rob Llewellyn 2011

RIP Rob (Bob) Llewellyn
West Chiltington & West Chilt & Thakeham CC

We usually try and keep these articles concise but on this occasion, just keep scrolling down...

On Friday afternoon, the club took a call from an old friend of Bob’s who relayed the sad news that he had passed away. Although his friend said they had been close, he added that the circumstances were still a mystery but we agreed it could have been a consequence of his throat problems which first manifested themselves in early 2013.

Since the news broke on Facebook and Twitter, messages have been received on social media, text and via e-mail from many current and former players whose lives were touched by the way the Welshman conducted himself on and off the pitch. He shunned club events especially award ceremonies at which he won at least one award a season every year; this wasn’t his scene. With Bob, it was all about the team and if he could make a contribution batting at his favourite position of #3 on Saturday or Sunday, even better. Saturdays were about winning with the 1st XI and then when he felt (not the club!) that he wasn’t good enough for the 1s at the start of 2009, he became a tremendous asset for Martin Glover in the 2s. Sundays were a bit more relaxed (although one former Sunday player can recall fielding with Bobby and Jim barking at them from every angle!)

Bob was always extremely honest about his batting style. He certainly favoured the “bat outside the crease and use the pad until I’m in” school of thought. He didn’t care and it was mightily effective. He wasn’t a natural athlete but you underestimated him in the field at your peril as he was a strong as an ox and uncompromising. He never gave his wicket away cheaply whatever the state of the game or whether it was a friendly or league match. He was the perfect foil again batting at 3 for the old West Chilt CC 1st XI to the more aggressive shot making of the likes of Brian Chambers and Matt Hennings. As a bowler, he used to charge in with steam coming out of his ears and shattered many batsmen’s stumps. He kept wicket many times on Sunday too.

Bob didn’t like it when he felt people were taking and not giving enough to the club as a whole. He was Club Secretary for a time for the merged club and his views were always worth listening to (and sought after) in any circumstance - be it at committee, after a game with a Strongbow in his hand or during the game after making his usual 70 odd with a Strongbow in his hand. Over that white line, he demanded everyone gave their all on the field of play and virtually carried the Sunday side before Mick and Dave appeared from Oz in 2009. He was as pleased as anyone to play with our two colonial cousins as he was no longer the overseas player! He used to love batting with Dave and one legendary Sunday game at the Ruins, Midhurst saw them hit 230 runs for the second wicket together after Scott Pulling had gone early. Bob said he learned so much just watching Dave bat and Mick bowling.

All 3 league XIs played with black arm bands in his memory this last weekend as well as Findon 3s when fielding against our 2s as several of them remembered him too. We need to think how we will pay tribute. Maybe an annual game in his memory. We’ll see. Mick’s certainly keen that we get people down this Sunday against touring side Acton and perhaps we’ll use the Club Day on August 31st too. Tributes have come from other clubs as well as from Chilt players past and present. Here are just some of those comments relayed to the club below as we remember him – Haggart & Bundock’s words about how welcome he made new players feel is important to remember and Dave Rob’s final comment below is also especially poignant; it sums Bob up and why so many of us play cricket which may be his biggest legacy. If you want stats, just check all seasons under batting on Play Cricket where he reigns supreme or bowling/fielding where he also features near the top of the charts.

Storrington CC  RIP Bob Llewellyn. A WCTCC and cricket legend. Many battles vs him in all forms of the game. You will be missed hugely. #ripbob
Chippingdale CC So sorry to hear your news - always a very tough competitor, condolences to you all. 
Findon Cricket Club. Sorry to hear this. I remember playing a bit of evening league with Bob for St Mary's. Lovely bloke.

Rob Llewellyn Goodwood 2011
Bob dancing with the ball at Goodwood

David Hardisty: Just caught up with the awful news about Bob which is both shocking and sad.  Bob was one of the key people that helped start the revolution, that turned WCTCC from a small village cricket team with below average facilities, into the fantastic Club it is now.  Always great fun to play alongside with, normally near me in the slips, and full of helpful hints to us lesser mortals - one day when faffing around with the bat at Slinfold, big Bob's tip was "Just hit the bloody thing!". Good advice.  Sad day - will miss you. 

Jim Gee (who probably played with Bob more than anyone): “Rob was a great servant to the club both on & off the field for over 20 years - sometimes travelling huge distances (e.g. from South America where he was working for a while) to get back for games. Our record run scorer, hard batsman to dismiss (huge front pad - was he really playing a shot!?), determined bowler, good catcher and tough competitor, though he always gave the oppo respect and liked to share a joke with their players. Almost single-handedly kept the WC&TCC Sunday side competitive for a number of seasons. Great guy”.

Tracey Glover (former colt parent): “Very sad news. Bob was a true gent. Very supportive in the early days to Big Fingers (Martin Glover) and the creation and development of the 2's. And what a character on a Sunday - the colts learnt so much from him”.

Ailsa Tavares (former colt parent): “Sincere condolences, very sad news - The Tavares household will raise a glass with fond memories this evening”.

Martin Glover (Academy manager and former 2nd XI captain/colts’ chairman): “Bob the master of foot fielding. Devastated. RIP my old friend”

Matt Goring: “RIP Bobby, a true stalwart of the club from the start. Diolch yn fawr”.

Craig Pulling: “RIP Bob. Loved his competitive spirit”

Iain Haggart: “RIP Bob. Such sad news. He was one of the first people to welcome me to the club during my first season and in my debut match at Arundel. In fact in that game he performed one of the most interesting shots I've ever seen against Neil Chitty where he virtually played a French cricket shot that he missed and then proceeded to look quizzically at the Arundel track! Whether it was playing against and then with him he'd always stick about for a drink and a chat after a game. Was also a regular badminton player on a Monday at my work so I'd see him on those days and always have a nice chat when my dad or I would see him. A great bloke who is going to be hugely missed by everyone at the club but also by other clubs who played against him. Thank you for the memories Bob”.

Aran Kay (another long-time West Chilt./WCTCC player with Bob): “Stalwart of the club both new and old versions over more than 20 years though both good and lean seasons sometimes appearing spiky due to his competitiveness but never for long. He was great bringing on the colts with the Sunday side. Sad to think no more 50 plus partnerships with me hardly troubling the scorers. Good guy, good company, sadly missed”

James Hussey (former player and Sunday captain): “A true gent and a great Sunday player, who never let me down and was so encouraging to so many young players. Also the only man to hit the ball through the back window of a moving car - the policemen in it were very understanding. He will be sorely missed.”

Charlie Reeves: “Sad sad news! West Chiltington has lost a club legend! I remember watching him bat and field majestically when I was younger (even bowl on occasion), an all-round fantastic block (sic). RIP Bob you will be missed!”

Steve Ward (former Sunday captain and Club Secretary): “Wow - really affected by this this evening. Very sad to hear. 5 mins after I'm handing my boy Conor his u9s player of the year award for our club now (Burgess Hill), a notification comes through that Bob has died; the man who taught me so much how to play the game and leant me an ear and wisdom so often when I was captaining the Sunday team there. Seemed like as one came into the light, another went. A fierce competitor, a fierce critic, a fierce captain, and a fierce man (especially when I didn't pick him one Sunday!!) but wholly inclusive and encouraging to those around him, particularly the kids. Fondly remembered. RIP Bob. Marking his stance 12 inches outside the crease somewhere out there or up there right now”.

Welsh Flag

Dave Bundock: “Skippered by Bob on my debut for Chilt on a Sunday. I only knew Pawel Aftanas who took me to the game at Hurstpierpoint. Bob was great. Greeted me with open warmth and seemed to be genuinely excited about a new arrival to the club. He captained the Sunday side making sure everyone enjoyed themselves and everyone had a go be it batting or bowling. Such a lovely man and actually a great first impression for West Chiltington. RIP Bob you will be missed”.

Caroline Morley (Callum’s mum): “Sad sad news indeed, such a lovely man. Rip Bob”

Jean Daniels (Callum’s gran): “Very sad news we have lost a great player and I loved to watch him play he will be missed Rip Bob.”

Rob Emms (former colt parent and occasional player now living in Dubai): “Very sad news indeed. A great loss”

RC-P: “Gutted, rest in peace Bob "the pad", the only man I knew who actually managed to wear out his pads”.

Scott Pulling: “Played with Bob on a number of occasions, great player and great bloke. Sad to hear this news”

Judi Chaloner (colt parent): “So very sad. I'll always remember his deep, booming voice and Welsh lilt. He was charming, smiley and a gentleman. Rest in Peace, Bob. X”

Shaun Tavares (former player and colt parent): “This is very sad and shocking. I like so many others, spent a lot of time at the crease with Bob and he was a great cricketer and a fine skipper. He led from the front and always offered heartfelt encouragement to his team mates. He will be sorely missed - RIP my friend”.

Charlie Carter: “I remember first playing against Bob for Amberley years ago... batting halfway down the track, impossible to get out... He was a great player and a charming man. RIP”.

Claire Goring (former press officer and colt parent): “Very sad news and a real shock. A big presence on and off the field. I'm sure Bob will be missed by his many friends and fellow cricketing players”.

Dave Robinson (former overseas player now back in Victoria, Australia): “Just horrible news, can’t believe it! Many fond memories of the big Welshman, great batsman, loved a bowl and a fierce competitor on a Sat for the 2's. Sundays were slightly different as he loved to win but not at the cost of giving the kids a go! Will sit and enjoy a cold cider and reminisce about the "old guard" (you know who you are and yes I called you old, sorry) sitting around the (old) bar after a day’s play talking causally about the result and next week’s challenge with the odd one liner thrown in by Bob generally at Jim's expense which always brought a grin too everyone's faces, even Jim’s! Times like that were the most enjoyable time I have ever had with any cricket team/players and he was a big part of that. Glad to have met him and happy to have called him a mate. RIP Bob.

Mick Armstrong (on hols in Malta): “Fair to say I’m pretty shattered. Well said David Robinson. I remember a night a few years back on the cricket tour (traditionally what happens on tour stays on tour, but this was hilarious). We'd been out for a late night curry and a few of us decided to kick on in Exeter, So off we went, of course Bobby joined us. We started the route home and ended up in this weird bar, a few of remained and Bob had his customary cider, and sat on a stool by the bar... Anyway before you know we turn around and Bob is sound asleep, cider in hand, didn't spill a drop. We let him be, perhaps for half an hour? A little later, he awoke, didn't hesitate and skulled the cider and off he went home for bed. Was brilliant. And I reckon he got runs the next day too!”

Will Hasler: “Where do you start? A huge void yet to be properly replaced every weekend since he stopped playing for us. He was big, he was Welsh but above all as much a part of our club as anyone who bridged the gap between the old club and the new. I loved that first Devon cricket tour and he was one of the first who put his name down. Only one game at Sidmouth due to rain and typical Bob, he wanted to make sure the like of the Reeves twins and Gabriel whom we had smuggled down played rather than himself. As it was, I scored and he played which was probably the correct decision… My other memory was at Ashurst about ten years ago when I captained on a Sunday. Bob made a few as did Shaun Tavares from memory but they were chasing us down quite comfortably despite Denton and Bob taking wickets (yes we were quite an elderly side in those days!). The scores were level as I threw him the ball. From my position behind the stumps, he summoned an extra ounce of pace on the first ball and shattered the stumps of their last batsman who was a lot not out. That beaming smile on a hot day as we all jumped on him sticks in the mind before we all descended on the Fountain to discuss the game. Shame he never saw the new pavilion (and bar!). Despite the fact he has still played twice as many games as the likes of James Chaloner, it's crazy that he just vanished two years ago and just shut his door on the world because so many of us were genuinely concerned for him. Great to hear from those who gave up playing for us years ago like the Tavares and also that he created such an impression on former colts like Reece Collins Powell. RIP RIL”

Chris Mustchin (former player): “I just wanted to say how saddened I was to hear of Bob's untimely death. As has already been voiced, a fantastic bloke who was always good company. Shared many an after game pint at the Ellie (former WC village pub the Elephant and Castle) and Rising Sun usually in the company of Mr Kay and Chaloner. My most bizarre memory of Bob was dancing in a Worthing nightclub alongside Peter Jones! Bob managed to dance with pint still in hand. He danced much like he played cricket, shimmy forward then thrust out a leg!! Fond memories, Thanks Bob”

Matt Hennings (on holiday): “That’s terrible news!”

James Brown (occasional player):  “Really sorry to hear. Do let me know when you know more”

Ned Brown (occasional player living in London):  “That is terrible news. Please keep me posted and let me know if you find out anything more.”

Iain Jeffries (former player and colts’ coach): “Katherine and I are shocked and saddened by the sad news regarding Rob. We first met him when I started playing for the club in 2001. In the good old days, it was definitely beer *(or cider in Rob’s case) before cricket. I played with Bob for a number of years. Frequently batting 3 & 4 together we had a lot of laughs trying to hit as many boundaries as possible to avoid running at all costs!! He was a good friend to my wife Katherine & he was always winding my son up in the early years. Many a happy hour post match spent in the "Ele' over a cider or three, trying to work out how we lost again! In those days it wasn't very serious, so we just agreed we lost and got another round in!! From memory, my last match for Chilt was in 2011 at Fittelworth where Bob & I both got a move on in a partnership of 150 ish. I shall remember the two of us hobbling between the wickets & our efforts to lose as many of their balls as possible. Last count was 4 between us! The Saturday and Sunday evenings post match in the pub garden behind our house are things of legend (Elephant & Castle). The sound of Rob’s good humour and laughter will echo with Katherine and I for many years to come. We will reminisce.”

Jake Hodgson (& Will Chambers has the same memory): “Bob’s influence on and off the field was exceptional as he gave myself and many current league players there first senior appearances on a Sunday. Bob was involved in the first WC&TCC game I witnessed as an 11 year old spectator. He took a nasty blow to the head on a dodgy wicket at Lancing Manor; covered in blood he momentarily left the field to grab a small bandage and a painkiller (Strongbow) before returning to the wicket and scoring a further 80 runs. This moment epitomised a man who wore his heart on his sleeve, played hard but fair and always put the club first... Well maybe second just after his pad”.

Stephen Hodgson: ”I think we all had expectations that we would one day see him back at our club… My first ever game was at Lancing (as Jake recalls above). Bob never wore a helmet and had just come to the crease (I was umpiring). The astro was in appalling condition and Bob was hit on the head and suffered a nasty cut. Never flinched. Off he trots, blood everywhere, back to his ice box and some Strongbow. They found a bandage that was too big for the job but there was no question of hospital, stiches etc. Within 5 minutes, the next wicket had fallen and Bob was back at the crease wearing an oversized turban. He looked ridiculous but I think he scored 50+ (give me a few months and it’ll be a 100). My first impression and it never changed. A lovely man, tough, stubborn, belligerent but incredibly fair and generous. You knew you had made it when he offered you a can of cider from his icebox (took me 2 years at least). However above all I think it was his commitment to the club particularly the Sunday XI and the fantastic way with the children. When he talked… they listened.”

Neil Miller: “I am really saddened to hear the news of Bob’s untimely death. During my time at the club, he was such an important and well respected player and committee member, and a genuine character. Although he was a very private man, he made a huge impression on everyone he met, in particular the junior players at the club. Indeed, my own children all have very fond memories of how he always encouraged them and was always pleased to see them. He will be missed by everyone involved with the club”.

Bruce Fryer: "Just back from WOMAD to this awful news. We've all feared this and now... So very sad - great player and friend"

Brian Jeffries (Fomer Colts Manager): "This is sad news indeed of the passing of a man whom I recall and respected as a wise counsellor during committee meetings. He was a a true club member who will be remembered by me for many reasons but most of all for embracing the furtherance of encouraging young players who had or were progressing through the club's junior section. This without doubt assisted greatly in retaining some of these youngsters at the club and helped them to enjoy the game of cricket and to play it In the right spirit".

James Kowszun (Former WC & WCTCC player): "It shows how out of touch with the club I have become - this is the first I heard of this. Shocking and upsetting. So, a long long time ago when I turned up for my first game at what was then West Chilt CC, I found myself batting with this big, lumbering Welshmen who I didn't know from Adam. No backlift, but boy could he hit it hard. Fortunately for me, he wasn't too fond of running too many 3's. Anyway, he treated me like I had been there for years - and let me knick some of his Strongbow after the innings. Roll forward many years, and my last game at WC&TCC and I find myself batting with this big Welshmen, who treated me just as warmly as the first time I met him - and still let me knick some of his Strongbow.  I am properly upset about this - he was a lovely, albeit reserved man, with a quiet generosity of character that is all too rare. Unfortunately, we are on holiday this weekend, but will be there on 31st".

Chris Akers (former player): "Absolutely devastated to hear the sad news re Bob. In all my years of playing club sports of various types in different locations, I have never known anybody as nice as Bob on or off the field of play. He always had time to offer constructive comments to everyone encouraging people as he did to improve but never lost sight of ensuring everyone involved enjoyed the game. I know I have not been around the club (or the UK for that matter) for a few years now so did not know Bob had stopped playing but I simply cannot imagine WC&TCC without out him being around. I remember fondly the Sunday matches and the evenings in the Elle after the game with Bob’s ever present sense of humour, with cider in hand. He will be sadly missed by everyone that knew him".  

Simon Jones (son of the President and former player): "I have just heard from my old man the very sad news about Bob. I've then been on the website and read all of the fantastic tributes. I am so very saddened to hear of this news. Here in Singapore when I think of coming back home to visit, I always aim to pop down the club and one of the faces I always expect and look forward to seeing is Bob's. I have so many memories of playing with him over the years. He used to go in and hit the ball out of the park. Latterly, the front pad sometimes dominated for the early part of his innings, but he always batted doggedly, never giving his wicket away. The sight of the big Welshman steaming into bowl had many batsmen in fear.  More importantly, his smile and big booming welsh voice were always prominent in the bar after the game. Never normally one to express his true feelings, I even remember him telling Chaloner he actually quite liked him after James had hit a six to win the match! I think Bob was also there on the long trip to The Long Man at Wilmington (after Hasler told us all that we had to drive to a pub after the game near Eastbounre when the pub was actually in the middle of Brighton... Steve Tuhey's car lost some kit as we charged back up the A27 to meet everyone else). I can verify that Chris Mustchin's description of Bob's dancing in that club in Worthing is absolutely spot on! Yes, I admit I was out clubbing with my dad, although dad was wearing shorts and knee length socks at the time having played golf in that outfit in the morning, before cricket in the afternoon...A situation I remember Bob laughing at no end! I hope he's enjoying a giant esky full of strongbow in the sky. I'm sorry not to be there to pay tribute to Bob, but thoughts are with you from here".

Peter Jones (President and U10's coach): It is only a couple of days since I heard the sad news. Bob was a remarkable cricketer who was largely self-taught. I do not remember how he came to join us as he never lived in this area. I think that perhaps he was a work colleague of one of our players (possibly Mark Tuppen?). He quickly realised that you could not bat or score runs if you were out early in your innings. Therefore he concluded that if the ball was going to miss the stumps and it hit the pads well down the wicket then you could not be caught or bowled out and were unlikely to be LBW . Hence his early innings lunging pad play. If the ball was straight then it would be met with a straight bat with the top hand behind the handle to avoid any possibility of the ball going off the ground. This method enabled him to play himself in with minimal risk. Then when he had played himself in and the team needed quick runs, he would change to an orthodox grip and hit the ball with great power and score runs at a phenomenal rate. I have no statistics available but doubt whether anybody has scored anything like as many runs for the Club as Bob did. What always stood out was his friendliness to his team-mates and to the opposition. He would always want a chat and a joke over a glass or two after a game. By the way, the stories told by Chris Mustchin and my son, Simon, about the night club are perfectly true. I remember that when we left the club, the management gave me some tickets to enable me to return on a future occasion free of charge. They said that it was on condition that I wore the same shorts! I never took them up on this kind offer. I look forward to coming down to the match on Sunday and having a drink in Bob's memory"

bob findon 2
Bob not that long ago at Findon on a Sunday

#ripbob  #COYChilt

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