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Friends pay tribute to Lordswood Cricket Club stalwart Colin Gardener

By Luke Cawdell

Lordswood Cricket Club have been mourning the loss of vice-president Colin Gardener.

Mr Gardener, known to many as CG Old Boy, played in Lordswood’s first-ever game and was instrumental in finding them a home to play their cricket.

He died earlier this month aged 76 at Medway Hospital. He had major heart surgery last year and, according to his friends, had been suffering from ill health for some time.

Colin Gardener had a decades-long association with Lordswood Cricket Club Picture Steve Crispe

Colin Gardener had a decades-long association with Lordswood Cricket Club Picture: Steve Crispe

“He was Mr Lordswood,” said current chairman Richard Cross.

Mr Gardener will be missed by many, none more so than his good friend, fellow founding member and club president Peter Edmonds.

Mr Edmonds said: “Colin was an absolute top gun. He was a dear friend and every Sunday morning (in the cricket season) he would phone me up at 10.30am, without fail and say ‘hello old boy! What did you think of the game yesterday?”

Mr Gardener, a former MCC member, scored 60 not out during Lordswood’s first-ever match, against Tenterden in 1967 and continued to be a regular big hitter. He played 968 innings – 123 of those not out – his best an unbeaten 154. He scored a total of 25,130 runs, including 20 100s and 135 half-centuries.

He could also bowl, taking 292 wickets, with a best of 6-9 while also claiming 266 catches.

Lordswood have been playing at Martin Grove since 1976 and Mr Edmonds was delighted to see the club blossom from the days in 1966, when the club were formed, helped greatly by his friend.

Mr Edmonds said: “He was a councillor and a dedicated cricketer and he did everything he could to get us the land. He helped me lay the cricket square, which has been there ever since. We now have a massive sports club at Lordswood and it is all down to people like Colin.

"He was instrumental in getting us our first seven acres and now we have around 20, with two cricket pitches, two football pitches and two rugby pitches."

Mr Gardener stopped playing in 1995 but then umpired and continued scoring whenever he could. 

“He was a larger-than-life character,” added Mr Cross. “He was old-school, ridiculously intelligent, a brilliant cricketer and a real gentleman. He was the heartbeat of the club. He was Mr Lordswood.

“He loved the club, he loved cricket and was always on hand to offer advice – to the young or old.”

Many former players and those who knew Colin posted messages on the club’s facebook page when the club announced his passing.

Ex-Kent, Leicestershire and Essex bowler David Masters was one, saying: “Colin has been a massive part of my life from an early age, taking me to cricket games, always encouraging and telling me how good I was.

“Colin was a massive part of my success and I will miss him so much. Thank you. RIP Mr Colin Gardener.”

Amjad Khan, the 1st XI captain, wrote simply: “Mr Lordswood, RIP sir.”

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