The Alastair Gordon Fielding Cup

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In the Cricket Pavilion during the luncheon interval on Speech Day, Saturday 2nd July 2022, the Alastair Gordon Fielding Cup will be presented by Clare Gordon to the 1st XI’s best fielder of the 2022 season. The Cup was presented to the school by his fellow teammates of 1971 in memory of Alastair who sadly died of pancreatic cancer in 2017.


Alastair Michael Gordon, affectionately known as Al, was a farmer of good Kentish stock.  He, like his father and grandfather before him, was educated at Repton and entered the same house, The Hall;

his grandfather Philip Leslie in 1909, his father Alexander Nigel in 1944 and Al in 1967.

Al, or AMG to his Kentish friends, played 1st XI cricket in 1970 and 1971 and was a leg-spin bowler and ‘agricultural’ tail-end batsman.  However he will most be remembered for his marvellous cover point fielding.  As the report in the Michaelmas 1971 Reptonian of a match against a Dutch Youth Selection XI, remarked: ‘two of the batsmen had the audacity, poor fools, to hit the ball to Alastair Gordon and call for a run, failing to heed an earlier warning when he had hit the stumps from square on with the batsman just in his crease.’

 

“You took on his arm at your peril”

After a delay for rain, the inaugural presentation of the Alastair Gordon Fielding Cup took place after lunch on Speech Day, at the top of the steps outside the Cricket Pavilion.

 

John Crane, the President, spoke first about Alastair’s fielding prowess and then reported that the fielding award was being endorsed by Paul Sheahan, a brilliant Australian cover fielder of the late 1960s/early 1970s.  Paul Sheahan and John Inverarity, both schoolmasters in later years, had visited Repton in 1972 and had dinner with former master i/c of cricket and housemaster of Brook House, Scottie Cheshire. [Derbyshire were playing the Australian touring team at Chesterfield and both players had wished to visit Repton]

John and James Ross (whom he had met at The Arch) took the players around the school and after their tour signed John’s “Blue Book” as they had no other paper with them.

 

Cameron Wake, the newly installed master in charge of cricket, spoke next and welcomed Alastair’s family to Repton and then talked about, without naming the recipient, the reasoning for the player’s selection for the prize.

 

Tom Gordon, the eldest of the three Gordon children, wearing one of his father’s many OR ties, talked about his father’s love of cricket.  He mentioned that Alastair was a leg-spin bowler but then quoted the 1972 Wisden Public Schools’ report in which it said:

‘Repton had good claims to be regarded as the strongest [1971] side in the Midlands.  Like two or three other successful teams they suffered their only defeat at the hands of M.C.C.. They prospered on the strength of their batting, headed by the aggression of J.R.H. Whittington [the originator of the idea for the Cup], and pace bowling.  That they left half their matches drawn was probably due to the lack of a class spinner.’

He then mentioned that it was probably a good thing that the Cup to be presented in Alastair’s name was a “Fielding Cup” rather than a “Leg Spin Cup”!

 

 Clare Gordon presented the Cup to M. Yousaf Bin Naeem for his outstanding fielding in 2022 and the worthy first winner of the Alastair Gordon Fielding Cup.  Many congratulatons to him.

 

After the presentation James Ross gave the Gordon family a guided tour of The Hall (School House) where Alastair, his father, grandfather and great-uncle boarded.  They also visited the Old Priory, CB Fry’s grave, and The Garth where the Gordon children found mention of their great great-uncle Alexander Maurice Gordon on the Remembrance memorial board.  He was killed in action at Bellewaarde Farm, Ypres on the 20th January 1916 at the tender age of 21.

 

Many thanks to Cameron Wake for his organization of the day, to headmaster, Mark Semmence, and the School for their generosity in treating the Gordon family and the 1971 Holland tourists – it was a truly memorable occasion for all concerned.