Everyone at TSJCC is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Neville Brooks, our beloved friend and long-serving club stalwart, who died peacefully in his sleep on the morning of January 12th aged 89 following a short illness. Local cricket is immensely poorer for this loss, and all at the club and the wider cricketing community will be devastated by this news.

Nev and Kath

Neville was part of local cricketing mythology, and was part of the inaugural meeting in 1954 which led to the formation of the North Manchester Cricket League (NMCL). It is true testament to his stamina and fortitude that he was still serving on the committee some 60 years later when the league closed and became part of the GMCL. During this incredible 60 year span, Neville had served as NMCL President and was an integral part of the league as a player, umpire, and official.

Neville's Tottington career actually started with Tottington St Anne's where he was a highly successful spin bowler until the club folded in the early 1970s. In 1968 came one of his most defining times on the pitch, as he took an incredible 93 wickets during the season to set a NMCL record that was never to be surpassed. One can't help but feel that on larger grounds he may have claimed still more and maybe passed the 100 mark!

When St Anne's folded, Neville made the short hop down Bury Road to join Walshaw. However after a single season at Sycamore Road he moved back up the village and joined Tottington St John's where he played for the remainder of his career; not only did he produce many memorable performances, he also oversaw the progression of many players through the ranks, not least sons Russell and Clive who would join their Dad as club regulars in the 1980s. Wife Kathleen, known affectionately to all of us as "Mother", would continue in her role as TSJ club scorer for many years, earning numerous awards from the NMCL for her impeccable work. As his playing career began to wind down Neville found new purpose as an umpire, blending Saturday games for the 2nd XI with Sundays controlling the action!

Neville retired from on-field duty at the age of 57 and was made a life member of TSJ thereafter for his immense contributions on and off the field. He threw himself into his umpiring career, not only serving the NMCL in stalwart manner for another twenty years but also catching the eye at a wider level. One of his proudest moments came in the 1990s when he took to the field to umpire the Lancashire Cricket Board Knockout Cup final at St Anne's CC. His reputation for no-nonsense officiating was well-known and he was highly respected by all who came into contact with him or found themselves standing 22 yards away down the pitch!

Neville's umpiring career finally came to an end when he retired at age 80, a true servant to the game and one of the best known and beloved figures in local cricket. From that point on he became a regular spectator at TSJ matches, never afraid to cast out an opinion or some welcome advice to players of all ages! He retained a sharp eye for everything that was going on out in the middle and took great pride in seeing grandson Stephen join the family tradition and take the field for TSJ.

We extend our deepest sympathies and love to those he leaves behind - wife Kathleen ("Mother" to all), sons Russell and Clive, to Cathie and Rachel and grandchildren Stephen, Sarah and Jack. We extend our heartfelt wishes to Neville's wider family and all who knew Nev and were impacted by his immense contribution to Tottington life and to our cricketing community. The word "legend" is bandied around too often, but if ever someone stepped up to that title, it was Neville Brooks.

On a personal note, this is devastating news. I've known Neville since first becoming close friends with the Brooks boys almost 45 years ago. Growing up I was a regular fixture in the Brooks household and Nev and Kathleen became like a second set of parents to me. Their strong family bond was evident to see, and provided much love and support across the years. Nev was always willing to share his cricketing knowledge and experiences, and it was immense fun growing up to watch him play his trade on cricket fields around the region; his regular cry of "there you are!" as a ball sailed in the air towards a distant fielder would often precede yet another wicket, and is a fond memory from my childhood. In later years it was always a pleasure to see Nev offering support from the sidelines, and he was a comforting presence on the boundary edge. I'll miss him deeply.

RIP Neville - you'll be sorely missed.

Doc P - on behalf of all at TSJCC

I Will if You Will Biffaward

Beryl Avenue, Tottington, Bury, BL8 3NF
Twitter: @TottyStJohnsCC