I first met Erika when I was still at school and Woking & Horsell CC was not yet part of my life. I was on scorebook duties for one of the West Surrey Colts League representative teams and the opposition scorer was a lovely lady by the name of Erika Bonneywell. I don’t recall much about the match, not even the venue, but I do recall Erika and her coloured pens (never pencils!) and her immaculately completed scorebook. A year or two later I decided I actually wanted to play cricket and joined WHCC. A couple of years later, 1991 I think, a certain Erika appeared at WHCC, having previously scored at Ottershaw where her two sons played, taking on scorebook duties for the 1st XI. Within a season she was firmly established as part of the fabric of the club.

The likes of Richard Walsh, Damien Honey and Charlie Johnson will all be able to recount numerous stories of the chastisement they got when Saturday 1st XI results weren’t going well. However, what might be less well known is the £10 a match she paid the club every time the 1st XI won. It would be churlish of me to suggest we didn’t get rich on that scheme! Behind the scenes Erika was incredibly generous. She donated monies to the club on a regular basis, always keen to support what was very much her club.

Erika was very much part of the 1990s and 2000s when players played both days. She scored for the 1st XI on both days and it was on Sundays where I saw her every week. She was always incredibly quick to praise the lesser players in the side, of whom I was definitely one, and suggest that the more gifted players should be contributing more. She knew a lot more about the game than some realised. Always accompanied by her dogs, a flask of coffee, her coloured pens and her handbag, she was as much a feature of WHCC as any player over an extended period of time.

As age and deteriorating health caught up with her, Erika reduced her scoring duties to Sundays only. By her own admission she found it harder and harder to concentrate for the whole of a match and used to say to me something along the lines of “Peter, we need to find some youngsters to take on the scoring. Surely someone’s girlfriend or wife can do this?”. Enter a certain Karen Thompson, fiancée of Johnny Ayling. As Karen took on scoring for the Sunday 1st XI, Erika took on scoring duties for the late and much missed Dave Lane and his Sunday 2nd XI.

In 2009 Erika was made an Honorary Life Member of the club and presented with a painting courtesy of David Drury. It was the very least we could all do. When her beloved Bill passed away in 2010 Erika remained determined to carry on scoring. I recall several conversations with her around that time about how important her cricket was to her. The e-mail below, dated 26th September 2011, after I enquired how she was following a fall, sums her up for me, even the use of the emojis!

Yes, I am OK.  As I said yesterday - no problem.

Actually no need to thank me.  I am scoring for purely selfish reasons  I like the members at W&H, love scoring.  

Will come next season, but whether I will be capable of scoring remains to be seen.  Otherwise I'll just come for the company!

If ever there was an e-mail that summed Erika up for me, that was it. There are lessons in that e-mail for so many of us.

Thank you Erika, it was a pleasure.

 

Erika's funeral will take place at Woking Crematorium on Friday 9 March at 11.45 am. 

Go to top