Tony Rolph

Tony Rolph

Tony Rolph passed away on the 6th of March 2011 after a short illness – his funeral took place on Thursday 17th March at the Southend Crematorium.

Tony had played for the Old Southendian and Southchurch cricket club since the merger in 1984, formerly with Southchurch CC. He was a regular player and loyal Club member, who had taken and passed the first level Umpires’ Exams in 2009. A Vice-President of the OSSCC, he was an automatic choice for the Club second eleven that I captained from 1989 – 1991, taking over forty Morrant League wickets in 1990. As an opening bowler, he disliked wicketkeepers standing up the stumps to his bowling – until he realised that he got more wicket taking opportunities through leg-side stumpings!

Roger Buxton gave the address, may I share some of his words with you.

“Rolphie – Spike Milligan, in appreciation of Harry Secombe, once said ―somewhere in the world is a man who does not like Harry Secombe, but nobody has ever found him yet!! I feel that is what we all feel about our friend Tony Rolph and of course our deepest sympathy goes to his wife Carole and children Mark, Leanne and Heidi.

I was lucky enough to know Tony for more than 50 years. Originally at Fairfax High School where he was in the year above me. His photo on the wall outside the Head Master‘s office – not on his own I hasten to add, but with the others in the Fairfax team that won the Southend Senior Schools Athletics Championship in 1959.

We really got to know each other from 1960 onwards as members of the youth club at Westcliff Congregational Church. It was there that he met Carole and opened their lifelong loving relationship.

Tony and I formed two-thirds of our table tennis team in the Youth League. He was also a member of the cricket team we started there. Football and Cricket provided a lifelong thread of joy and fitness as he played both games avidly from school to youth to adult to veteran.

He was a playing member of both the Old Southendian cricket and football teams. Although he finally turned his football to support he would still play the occasional cricket match. He opened the bowling for my match in Cricket Week last August. In latter years he was a busy umpire and a member of the Leigh Orpheus Choir.

On the cricket scale of things Ken Johnson says ―Tony would never let you down and whenever one of the teams was short handed would always step in and help out. As Ken says Tony would never let you down and I would add was always the same. Tony was a life enhancer. A thoroughly good man who was always a good lad as well. We shall miss his pleasing presence.”

– Paul Johnson, Old Southendian and Southchurch Cricket Club
with thanks to Roger Buxton