Lawrence Reed, 1927 - 2012

Report as from Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac, April 2012, by Colin Reed

Lawrence (Lawrie) Reed walked out to the crease to begin his debut innings with the 20th Century struggling on 27. The hostile new ball bowling of a rest-of-the-world attack led first by the German Kaiser and then the Spaniard Influenza, had claimed the wickets of the openers with the score barely reaching the twenties. The first child of George and Gladys Reed of Consett, County Durham, Lawrie was followed in the order by a sister, June and a brother, Brian. His father played for the local steelworks eleven, but his housewife mother was often too poorly to cope with the three promising young players, so his grandparents were brought in to help with the young Reed’s training.

After taking guard and playing himself in, a spell in the local church choir Colts team unearthed a talent for singing, which would prove to be an enduring interest; and like all boys he was interested in sports, developing a lifelong passion for Sunderland AFC and Yorkshire County Cricket Club. He had reached a steady 11 when the second new ball was taken with the score on 39, but could only watch from the non striker’s end as the Germans once again set about decimating the middle order and exposing the tail - the veteran Churchill standing alone to fend off the opposition pace bowlers before a Japanese onslaught brought the overseas-player Roosevelt to the crease.

Upon leaving school, Lawrie joined his father at the steelworks, playing for the drawing office second eleven but dreaming of greater things. In those days however, the White Rose County’s policy was to select only those born within the Yorkshire boundary rope, and Durham still only merited Minor County status, so, in search of first class cricket, the Reed family headed south and settled in Surrey, where Lawrie would again play alongside his father for a team of local engineers.

With the score on 58, having made 30, he struck up a successful partnership with Vena M. Hollamby that would progress to a fine half-century. As well as the works team, his interest in singing would lead him to turn out for a number of local opera company elevens including Clapham, Croydon, Twickenham, Wimbledon, Gemini, Court, Belcanto and Riverside; he would also play limited-overs Sunday League cricket for Farm Street Church. His success as a lower-order batsman would eventually lead to his selection for Surrey, and occasionally bring him to the attention of the national selectors.

Lawrie would ultimately sign for the Ministry of Transport, where he would play out the remainder of his career. After retiring from the first class game he tried his hand as a bowler, impressing with his slower deliveries and winning a number of trophies as a ‘Junior’. But with his fitness failing, after a few final appearances in the Surrey and West Barnes elevens, he was forced to consider hanging up his whites for the final time.

After a blow to the head that brought the team physio out to the middle, he could no longer continue, and had to return to the pavilion, retired hurt, on 84, with Hollamby still going strong on 82. The partnership was worth 53 and produced 3 children, 5 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.

Fall of Wicket: 26th March 2012