Tributes to St Annes cricket stalwart Brian Standing

St Annes Cricket Club has lost one of its true legends in seam bowler, captain and president Brian Standing, who has died at the age of 84.

By Andy Moore
Monday, 21st February 2022, 4:57 pm
Updated Monday, 21st February 2022, 4:58 pm

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Brian’s 58-year association with St Annes CC began in 1964 after he had caught the eye as a teenaged fast bowler with Middleton CC in the Central Lancashire League, earning a touring place with the Lancashire Cricket Federation.

He took 33 wickets in his first St Annes season, 31 in his second and over 40 in each of the next six.

Brian Standing at his beloved St Annes CC

Brian took his place in the Northern Premier Cricket League history books by taking five of the wickets (for five runs) as Darwen were dismissed for a total of six (debutant John Kettlestring took the other five at the cost of a single).

Brian went on to claim almost 800 wickets for St Annes until his playing career was cut short by injury in 1988, though he later answered his club’s emergency call to come out of retirement, taking 7-51 against Chorley.

Brian’s commitment was recognised when he was named president of both St Annes and the NPCL.

A statement from the club reads: “From us all at St Annes CC, our committee, staff, members, volunteers and our wider cricket family across the county, we offer his family our heartfelt condolences. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

“Brian had high standards. He had pride. He was honest, hard-working and the kindest of men. Loyal to his family, his club, everyone at the club and beyond.

“He wore the St Annes CC club crest with pride. He was committed to making the club the best it could be on his watch, no matter what role he was in.”

Club chairman John Cotton said: “Brian Standing was a stalwart of St Annes Cricket Club and it really was his life. Brian was a true gentleman and a great ambassador for both the club and the league, and I am sure there are many people who have very fond memories of Brian, both on and off the field.”

One of them is The Gazette’s long-serving cricket correspondent Mike Young, who paid a personal tribute.

He wrote: “Cricket lovers on the Fylde coast and beyond are mourning the passing of one of its most endearing individuals in Brian Standing.

“His death comes just weeks after that of former Blackpool chairman Alvah Haslam, who seam bowler Brian faced regularly during a first XI playing career which extended into his late 40s.

“As with Alvah, I got to know Brian well. An abiding memory was the Saturday morning he phoned me to say he’d been contacted by the parents of a Preston schoolboy considered to have England potential.

“They asked whether Brian could get a mention in The Gazette that their son had joined the club.

“Colin and Susan Flintoff were grateful to see younger boy Andrew’s name in print as the starlet’s family became good friends with Brian and his late wife Evelyn.

“Brian uprooted from his home club Middleton to help run his in-laws’ newsagents and Highbury Road became a second home to him and Evelyn.

“He had a spell as captain during around 25 years as a first-team choice.

“A major career landmark was playing alongside the legendary Basil D’Oliveira at Middleton, who gave the South African his first taste of cricket in England by appointing him their professional in 1960.

“Brian died in a Clifton Drive care home, where he took up residence just before the 2020 lockdown.

“Such was the strength of our friendship that I visited Brian weekly until Covid put a stop to that routine.

“Just three weeks ago I attempted to see him again but strict visiting regulations prevented me doing so, much to my regret.”