Tributes have been paid after the death of one of local cricket’s most dedicated and respected administrators.
Universally known as ‘Captain’, the former Clipstone, Thoresby Colliery, Papplewick and Linby secretary Ray Elvidge passed away last weekend.
Aged 80, he had not been well since suffering a stroke about four years ago.
Elvidge, who devoted much of life to cricket, joined Papplewick in 2001 and was at the club for six seasons.
He presided over their entrance into the elite Notts Premier League (NPL) where they became one of the leading clubs in the county.
“Ray was Mr Cricket,” recalled Papplewick stalwart Robin Rhodes this week.
“He approached us to join the club and was appointed by our former chairman, Steve Charlesworth.
“He came in, got involved and was brilliant. He did a grand job.
“He was the heart and soul of cricket. Clubs and games don’t run without people like Ray Elvidge.
“It is ironic that his death coincides with the state the Notts Premier League is in at the moment after the resignation of most of its management committee.”
Elvidge himself was associated with the NPL at its inception in 1999 and remained on the management committee as league statistician until 2008.
He also twice served as vice-chairman and although ill health forced him to stand down from office in 2010, he was elected as league president in 2011.
“It was my great pleasure to take Ray to matches during this period,” former NPL chairman Pete Johnson said this week.
“His knowledge of all matters cricket is something I will always remember. Despite his infirmity, he was determined and managed to visit all 12 league grounds during the course of the 2011 season.
“Captain was a man of cricket. He never married, and told me on numerous occasions that it would have been unfair for a member of the fair sex to share his life because cricket would inevitably come first.”
Elvidge first got involved in the sport on his seventh birthday when he joined his home village club, Clipstone.
At the age of 12, he became Clipstone’s scorer, and at the age of 17, he joined Clipstone’s committee. Then at the age of 21 in 1954, he was appointed the club’s secretary -- a post he held for 38 years.
After resigning in 1992, he became assistant secretary at Whitwell Cricket Club and then secretary of Thoresby Colliery CC for six years.
After joining Papplewick, he worked closely with the club’s long-serving president, Colin Tinker (76), who also lavished praise on Elvidge this week.
Curously, Elvidge only ever played cricket once -- for Clipstone against Annesley Woodhouse.
“I didn’t bat or bowl, Captain,” he once said. “I didn’t have the co-ordination to play. I am a cricket adminstrator -- and a damn good one!”
Elvidge’s remarkable career in cricket was recognised in 2004 when he was summoned to Lord’s, the home of cricket, to receive an Oustanding Services to Cricket Award (OSCA).
Nominated for the award by the Notts Cricket Board, he was treated to an ‘appreciation lunch’, drinks, a keynote speaker and a tour of the famous ground’s museum.
“It was an honour to be invited to go,” he said.
Elvidge filled numerous other roles in local cricket. He has been fixture secretary for the Bassetlaw League and was hugely influential in the development of youth cricket and Sunday cricket in Nottinghamshire.
In 1968, he was even the chief instigator of the first youth-cricket league in England, the North Notts Youth League. “They thought I was crazy,” he once recalled.
Concluded Johnson: “The game of cricket, locally and nationally, has lost a very dear friend,
“Clubs, officials and players are deeply indebted to everything Captain did for the game of cricket.”