Richard Austin Cricket Picture Gallery            


July 7th 2013 - a tribute to Richard Austin

HHCC players and supporters met this weekend devastated and in a state of shock. It was perhaps the saddest week of the club’s history, as on Saturday morning we received the shattering news of our friend and team mate, Richard Austin’s, sudden death. The chairman broke the news to the team and a consensus of whether we should play the next day was taken. It was decided that, in Richie’s honour, we should. And that we would meet at the ground early, to remember him with a minute’s silence before the match.

At 2pm on Sunday, with the flag at half mast, Chairman Matt gave us some simple and beautiful words, about a great club man, an excellent all-rounder, and one of the nicest guys you could wish to have a beer with on Sunday evening. The crowd of the entire team, committee members, our families, former HHCC players, regulars from the plough and Lynne, Richard’s widow – those that knew and loved him, who he knew and loved – said goodbye to our friend. (written by Dom Haddock)


Thursday 18th July 2013-07-17

All of the Hyde Heath community-not only the cricket club but also villagers and the Plough’s darts team are still shocked that we have lost such a popular, respected and wonderfully entertaining man.  We were lucky to have Richard at Hyde Heath Cricket club-not only for his undoubted talents-but also because he was just a lovely guy.  It was only 11 days ago that he played his last game for us.....most of us are still able to recall their last conversations with him..whether it was about the joy of spin bowling or  congratulating Nick and Emma’s young son Stanley on his performance.

Richard had played at a good level for Stevenage cricket club before joining Hyde Heath. He made an instant impact-taking 3 wickets on debut and winning the bowling cup in 20002.  He was a really  good pace bowler who regularly put in match winning performances and was a considerable asset to our club. Charlie-our captain always wanted him in the team as he was a proven match winner with both bat and ball. Richard had some self belief and always believed that he could make a difference Despite much mocking from his team mates  Richard decided in 2011 that he was no longer fit enough to bowl fast and re-modelled himself as a spinner-to great effect-winning the bowling cup for the last 2 years.

Cricket reveals many aspects of our personalities and in over ten years at the club Rich revealed many sides to his. Going away on tour together means one gets to know your team mates and find out new and interesting aspects of their personalities.  I had the misfortune to share a room with Richard and can confirm that he snored horribly after a few pints of lager and a curry.

It was on tour in Kent that he volunteered to don the wicket keeper’s gloves and then promptly dropped the easiest catch ever seen..Widen reports;

“Richard called confidently for the ball, settled himself under its trajectory, steadied himself, and missed it completely. (refer to Ashes- as supportive team mates..) We all howled with laughter...Richard appeared rather puzzled..” and was eventually able to see the funny side.  However he could get quite grumpy on the field if catches were dropped off his bowling or if he disagreed with the captain’s field placings-and the club recognised this in 2008 by awarding Rich a place on an Anger Management course.  Richard accepted this ridiculous award with great good humour.

Richard and Lynne both came on the club’s tour to Menorca in 2003. Richard unwisely used his suitcase for all his clothes and cricket kit.  He rather foolishly told Charlie and Jan’s 8 yr old daughter Harriet the combination.  She thoughtfully emptied his case of all his kit and replaced it with a concrete umbrella stand.  Rich was briefly in a state of complete bewilderment.....

It was on tour that we first encountered egg throwing as a form of post match entertainment and Richard thoughtfully decided that this should be introduced to Hyde Heath.  He proudly appeared at a game with 2 dozen eggs which then ended up being splattered all over the common as many cricketers demonstrated their lack of talent in the skills of throwing and catching  eggs.

Richard was always a bit of a stats man and this manifested itself in several ways.  He created the Hyde Heath fantasy League on 2011. All the players were rated at varying and often unflattering values-I was worth only £1.50 (probably overpriced).  I am not sure that we all understood Richard’s complex rules but his league did provide us with a lot of entertainment over the last  2 years. Last year he wrote a marvellously entertaining match report and used Google Earth to measure the length of 2 sixes hit by the same batsman on different grounds.

Richard was a great asset to the club off the field.  He served on the committee for many years and used his design skills to draw up some beautiful pavilion plans.  Just a few weeks ago his witty and original designs adorned the barrels at our club beer festival.  I think Rich loved playing for Hyde Heath as well as a pint and a fag after, and sometimes during, a game.

He loved bringing Rosie to the club where she helped on clear up days and she proudly followed her dad around the ground.

Richard was an integral part of the club and the community and we will all miss him in Hyde Heath.  He will be long remembered by all of us.  Our love, thoughts and prayers are now with Lynne and Rosie and we will help and support you in any way we can in the future.

Matthew Sims

Chairman, Hyde Heath Cricket Club  


.... from Tom Jeffreys ...

Richie batting

It's difficult really to know what to write, if anything at all – especially on a flippant little cricket blog such as this. But it would be wrong, I think, not to mark the tragic event in some small way. To readers of Cricket Tragics, Richard Austin will be known as a classy batsman, one-time excellent seam bowler before turning cannily to off-spin, an endlessly thoughtful strategist of the game, and a funny and warm-hearted individual, who was always good company in the pub and whose entertaining writings graced these pages from time to time. Of course, his life involved much more than simply cricket (as it does for all of us) and it is his partner Lynne and young daughter Rosie with whom our greatest sympathies must lie.

But it is through cricket that we knew Richie, and so through cricket that we will remember him. The club held a minute's silence for him before our last match and we are privileged to be hosting refreshments in the pavilion after his funeral this week. I'm sure our warm and varied memories of Richie will live long into the future, and many a glass will be raised in his name.

The last time I saw Richie was in the Plough after we'd been thrashed by Great Gaddesden at the end of June. He was wearing his superhero t-shirt from the Kent 'Invicta' tour of 2010, during which he played a starring role with both bat and ball. It brought back some great memories of his highest score for the club (a dashing and extremely attractive 80-odd). Richie was one of those naturally talented cricketers, who could change a game single-handedly with either bat or ball. He was always a pleasure to watch, to chat to, and to play alongside – whether sending one of his signature pull strokes scorching to the mid-wicket boundary, finding extra bounce off a good length, or, in recent years, deceiving batsmen in the air with his flight and drift away.


Richie bowling

Richie was also a great thinker about the game, and always had a strategy or a plan of some kind up his sleeve. His attention to detail was to the fore when he produced a piece of analysis on the exact measurements of a 6 hit by Sohail in 2012, using Google Earth to compare it to a similar blow struck by the same batsman 3 years earlier. Only Richie would have gone to such lengths for a blog read by about 12 people.

Some of his ideas were less successful than others, however, and it is one such instance that is still one of my favourite things ever to have happened in my years at Hyde Heath. Back in 2008, away on tour at Harvil, Richie was bowling close to his very best, getting the odd one to bounce and really zip through. Frustration growing after repeated plays and misses from the batsman, Richie requested that the short leg be moved to second slip. Much to the bowler’s unconcealed annoyance, the captain, Matt Sims, refused. But what should happen two balls later? Richie pitched one up on middle and leg, the batsmen tried to flick it through midwicket, instead chipping it straight to myself, at the disputed short leg position, where I just about held onto a very straightforward chance. Magic.

Richie was an excellent cricketer, but the great thing about village cricket is that actually talent doesn't really matter very much at all. Richie was a pleasure to play alongside and to know and to call a friend. He will be greatly missed.

The picture gallery below is a record of the happy times Richard spent with the club

  Presidents Day - The Hyde Heath Team - Richard centre back row
  vs Abbots Langley
  vs Chartridge
  vs Woodley - Richard bowled a wonderful spell of 4-10. Hyde Heath won with 1 ball to spare in a bad tempered game with Will Reynolds scoring his maiden 50 for the club
  Presidents Day - Hyde Heath Team
  vs Warners End - Richard took the opposition apart with a spell of 4 wickets for 19 in 6 overs in a comfortable win for the Heath
  Presidents Day 2010 - playing for the Club
  vs Ivinghoe & Pitstone - this was Richard's first year of bowling spin and he finished the season by conceding 18 runs in his first three overs before taking 5-29 in a thrilling final match which Hyde Heath won by 1 wicket
  vs Ivinghoe & Pitstone
  vs Gamecox - a long spell yielded 2-40 as Richard skippered the Heath in a high scoring draw
  vs Petts Wood
  vs Ley Hill
  vs Ivinghoe & Pitstone
vs Ivinghoe and Pitstone - Richard recorded figures of 7-44. Tom reported that 'Richard relied on drift and undercut away from the record his career best figures.'

  vs Longwick - Longwick- Richard helped bowl the opposition out for 61 with figures of 2-0
  Presidents Day - Club team
  Presidents Day
  Presidents Day
  vs Gt Gaddesdon - Richard's  final game for the club