Mill Hill CC legend Ken York no more | Daily News

Mill Hill CC legend Ken York no more

Mill Hill Cricket Club legend Ken York
Mill Hill Cricket Club legend Ken York

Mill Hill Cricket Club legend Ken York passed away on September 22nd in his home town of Wisbech, far North-East Of. His wife Monica arranged a celebration of Ken’s life on November 4 at Elme Hall Hotel , Wisbech where Fazly Wahab, former Mill Hill CC stumper delivered the eulogy in celebrating Ken’s life.

I first met Ken back in 1983 when I came to England as a student and wanting to play cricket for a club in England.

Ken introduced me to Mill Hill CC. We became friends and played cricket together for Mill Hill CC from 1983-86 until my departure from UK. I introduced my good friend Roshan Mahanama in 1984 to the club and Roshan had a fantastic season with us.

We ended up winning the League Championship, Twilight Cricket (T20) and the One Day competition in 1984 and also champions in the Bahamas International Cricket Festival which was a purple year for Mill Hill CC.

Sri Lankan cricketers and Mill Hill CC had a close relationship back in the 70’s and 80’s. This connection was due to late Dusty Miller, who was Ken’s captain, boss at Richardson and Company.

Dusty was also the Sri Lankan representative at the ICC at the time when Sri Lanka became a full ICC Test member, and worked with Gamini Dissanayake, former Sri Lanka Cricket Board president and then a senior Minister in the Sri Lankan cabinet.

Ken’s family will celebrate his life and remember all the remarkable things that he established during his wonderful life. Ken was a brilliant friend, great cricketer, and like a father figure to all the young cricketers who played with him. He was a brilliant left arm spinner and a late order batsman. I had the privilege of playing with Ken through my time at Mill Hill in the Middlesex Cricketers League.

In 1957 as a 24 year old Ken scored 100 not out and took all 10 wickets for 54 runs against Cornhill. This is a Mill Hill and probably an all English club record as far as I can gather (since there is no Wisden Almanack for club cricket). This remarkable double has never been achieved before or if it has it must have been many years ago. Last time this double was achieved in first class cricket was in 1862 by E.M Grace, brother of legendary W.G. Ken took 100 wickets in a season between 1953 and 1976 and scored 1000 runs and 100 wickets between 1957-60 which is also a club record.

Ken also played for Middlesex County over 50’s team with Fazly Wahab for almost 10 years. He was instrumental in us winning the Middlesex Cricketer’s Championship 5 times in 7 years from 1978, something we could not have done without his guidance and masterful sportsmanship.

His records you have read speaks volumes about how great a cricketer and a friend he was.

Ken, I would say, is an honorary Sri Lankan and followed our cricket passionately. He knew quite a lot of ex-Sri Lankan cricketers and played with them at Mill Hill. Former Sri Lankan captains Anura Tennakoon, Michael Tissera , Duleep Mendis (now Head Coach of Oman cricket), Arjuna Ranatunga (1996 World Cup winning captain and now a Minister in Sri Lanka cabinet), Roshan Mahanama (former Sri Lanka captain, 1996 World Cup winning team member and former ICC match referee), former Sri Lanka wicket keeper Ranjit Fernando, fast bowler Rumesh Ratnayake (Sri Lanka’s fast bowling coach), Fazly Wahab (Mill Hill CC wicket-keeper), Ranjit Samarasekara (former Colts CC & MCA), Travis Fernando (former CCC player), Asitha Jayaweera (former Royal and Sri Lanka Schools U19 captain) are a few of whom who played with Ken at Mill Hill and had close ties with him throughout his life.

In 1995, following the no-balling incident of Muthiah Muralitharan by Australian umpire Darryl Hair, Ken wrote a wonderful and moving article in his English local paper in support of Murali. His passion for cricket and loving personality was something not only felt by friends and family in the UK, but also something that reached across international borders and all the way over to Sri Lanka.

It takes a special person to affect so many lives in the way that Ken did, and for that I will always admire Ken the way he went about helping Sri Lankan cricketers at Mill Hill CC.

Ken was an accredited coach with England & Wales Cricket Board and coached Wisbech Town Cricket Club for years and schools in the Wisbech area.Ken shaped my time in the UK and as our friendship grew, I came to admire him as a great human being with qualities from the top bracket. You will always be in my thoughts Kenny, may you rest in peace.

 

Richie de Silva

former Mill Cricket Club player 


 

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