Vine Old Oaks
Tie :: Played on Friday 30th June 2006
The Knockers took on the Vine Old Oaks in a memorial match to remember Steve Trounce. The game suitably ended in a tie with both sides on the same score at the end of the match.
MEMORIAL SERVICE SPEECH
The following is a speech made by Keith Miller, chairman of Knockers, remembering the great contribution Steve made to Knockers and sport in the local area.
Steve was unique. Steve bowling, Steve batting, Steve umpiring, Steve answering a quiz question, Steve not answering a quiz question; there was a style about him which was unmistakeably ‘Trouncie’ and which we all knew well.
I would like to tell you about Steve’s cricket with Knockers Cricket Club and about Steve as a pub quiz contestant.
Steve enjoyed playing cricket and got that opportunity with Knockers. He joined the club in the late 1970s and he soon made himself indispensable, because he was prepared to help out with the unloved jobs of umpiring and scoring. He then volunteered to be the club treasurer, a rôle he made his own for the next 20 years: collecting match fees and subscriptions, balancing the books and keeping the club in the black – sometimes even with a temporary float from Steve himself. It was not all serious; I remember his enthusiasm at one Knockers AGM for inviting Samantha Fox or Dolly Parton to be our club mascot.
But of course Steve’s main contribution was as a player. To be fair, his fielding was a bit ‘Monty Panesar’, although no-one who witnessed his miraculous catch at Newington will ever forget it.
As a slow left-arm bowler, Steve took over 100 wickets for Knockers. In the favourite euphemism of cricket broadcasters, Steve “took the pace off the ball”, in other words, he bowled very slowly; slowly enough to create doubts in batsmen’s minds. Some would be mesmerised and get bowled or LBW. Others would have a rush of blood to the splice and get caught in the deep. Those who jumped out and missed would often have time to regain the crease before the ball reached the wicket-keeper. I know – I was that wicket-keeper.
As fellow players will recall, Steve was an aficionado of the English cricket tea.
He also rejoiced in reminiscing about the club, his stories usually involving Richard Botting – such as the time Richard demolished the glass food display counter at Sheldwich’s pub. If you began recalling incidents yourself, Steve would often correct you, so you began to think he remembered what you did in the 1980s better than you yourself.
As a batsman, Steve was a confirmed tail-ender. In half of his innings for Knockers he was not out, which illustrates his determination. Steve was not someone who gave up easily. It is fitting that in his last innings for Knockers, he partnered Lynden in a last-wicket stand of 45 to defeat Holmesdale by one wicket.
I understand from James Trounce that Stephen in his Will has made a bequest to Knockers and the club is very grateful for such generosity.
For the best part of 20 years, Steve was a regular in the pub quiz league, first with the Royal Oak Tap and, since the lamented closure of the Tap, the White Hart.
Steve was feared on the pub quiz circuit. If he was late arriving at a pub – usually because he was parking his car - you could see the opposition’s confidence rising. But then when he arrived, it was like the moment in the Wild West movie where the gunslinger walks into the saloon and the bar goes quiet. From that moment we had a psychological advantage.
Steve had an extraordinary memory. I wouldn’t say he knew everything – he just knew everything you and I don’t know. Some of his special subjects were: the Bible; the dates of battles; the dates of birth and death of historical figures or composers, poets or authors; geography; mental arithmetic; political figures; comics and TV programmes of the 50s and 60s; and, of course, all sports, particularly tennis, athletics, horse-racing and cricket.
One of his odd blind spots was modern pop music; he had a phenomenal memory for pop records from the 1950s – he knew the name of the lead singer of Procol Harum; the real name of Adge Cutler; what was number 1 on 2nd May 1968; the second British hit of The Beachboys. But all this faded in the summer of 1973, which was, explained Steve, when he left university and stopped watching Top of the Pops, listening to Alan Freeman and reading NME.
Other blind spots were cookery and modern languages; and, apart from the early episodes of Coronation Street, he was, like the rest of us, completely clueless on TV soaps!
When Steve was stumped for an answer, he would clutch his pint glass and take a sip of beer. If that didn’t help, he would close his eyes, put one hand on his head and reach back in his memory. If that failed, another sip of beer. If Steve’s glass was empty before the half-way break, we were having a bad night.
I mention sports and there are two sports quiz stories for which I am indebted to Ian Hitchcock and Guy Howe (it was of Guy that Steve said last winter: “He’s had so many operations, they’ve named a hospital after him!”).
The Oak Tap were playing away at a pub in Wrotham. The opposition, all dressed in Arsenal football shirts, were having difficulty scoring any points from questions on tennis and horse-racing and the Tap were well in the lead. At last, the football round was announced and the opposition cheered up. Their first question was: “At the end of last season, which three teams were promoted from the Scottish Third Division to the Second Division?” Stunned disbelief from the Wrotham team. Thirty seconds went by and the question went across to the Tap. Steve, in his unmistakeable style, said “I mean to say, I think you’ll find it was Gretna Green, Cowdenbeath and Stenhousemuir.” Wrotham fell about.
The Tap’s own question then followed: “At the end of last season, which three teams were relegated from the Scottish Second Division to the Third Division?” And of course Steve again knew the answer. From that moment on, Wrotham just gave up.
Another night, another Wrotham pub and the Oak Tap leading by a street; the opposition finally got a question they liked: “Which horse was the first to win two Grand Nationals?” “Red Rum!” they said gleefully. “Incorrect,” said the quiz mistress, “Over to the Tap.”
Jaws dropped on the Tap team, but Steve said “I think I might know this,” and wrote down ‘Abd-El-Kader’. “No idea, Steve, go for it,” said the team doubtfully, knowing very well that Abdul Qadir was a Pakistani leg-spinner. “Would it be Abd-El-Kader?” Steve ventured. “That’s what I have written down here,” said the quizmaster. The opposition were furious: “You *** lot ought to *** get out more!” (expletives omitted), “OK then, what *** years were they?” Steve: “I think you’ll find – 1850 and 1851”. Correct, and the Tap made a hasty departure that night.
When the team won an award, Steve was very gracious and always took time to thank all concerned, including the other teams.
I can say that the present team of Julian, Guy, Peter and I intend to keep the White Hart participating in the district quiz and hopefully do well for the sake of Steve.
I may not have recalled your favourite memory of Trouncie, but we can all call up our own recollections. Later we will scatter Steve’s ashes on the Vine cricket ground and let us celebrate the fact that Steve, although not himself a naturally-gifted sportsman, enjoyed his sport so much and gave so much back to the games of cricket and hockey. Steve is an object-lesson to us all.
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