Until his recent death, Ron Taylor was, apart from Paul Charman, Woking and Horsell’s oldest surviving cricketer still in touch with the club.  Ron, Paul and Val Day, until the latter’s death in March 2019, were the members of the “Sunday drinkers” whose memories of the club extended furthest back in time and enabled many a reminiscence of when it was still Horsell CC and making its way up in the world from a village side to one which could vie with the best sides from across Surrey.  
 
It’s not known for sure when Ron joined the club but it is thought to have been about 1950, perhaps slightly earlier.  Always on the portly side in build, Ron was nonetheless a quick and agile mover who batted and kept wicket. He was also a useful footballer.  Ron’s early employment was as a fireman on steam trains operating on the Southern Region of British Railways.  This occupation gave rise to an oft-told story of the day when on a late-running service he found himself firing on a Waterloo-bound service at a time when he should have been getting himself to a 2nd XI cricket match at Oatlands Park.  Recognising where his obligations lay, Ron abandoned his train at Woking (“due to a shortage of staff we regret…..”) and was driven by Paul Charman to Oatlands Park, a club in one of the most prosperous areas of Surrey where very few people had had even met someone who worked on the railway.
 
Ron was for much of his cricket career a 2nd XI player, although for a spell in the 1960s, after the outstanding Horsell side of the previous decade had broken up, he played in the 1st XI and would usually open the batting. Ron was a combative batsman always willing to take on the opposition seamers especially if they fed his favourite pull and cut shots by dropping short.  The current club President recalls his first 50 for the 1st XI at Old Hamptonians in 1966 when he reached his milestone some time after Ron had departed for a 50 of his own out of an opening stand of 55.  
 
Ron was a great team man, encouraging of younger players and happy to see them develop at his own expense as a senior player.  He had a considerable fund of jokes, most of them better not repeated here.  He enjoyed socialising after the game and was a popular figure with opposition players as well as his own teammates.
 
Ron was a close friend of Bill Smith, Woking’s premier fast bowler of the 50s and 60s.  The friendship was tested, however, in a match at Horsell around 1966 when Bill took the first 9 opposition wickets cheaply with Ron keeping wicket.  While the bowler at the opposite end was aiming deliberately wide of the stumps to maximise Bill’s chance of all 10, Ron brought the innings to a close with a smart stumping, probably instinctive, although he defended it afterwards by pointing out that the team had a match to win (they were left with about 4 hours to chase 60).
 
In the early 1970s Ron developed a cancerous growth requiring a serious operation and he played less after that.  More recently after a period where we saw little of him he resumed regular visits to the club to join the Sunday drinkers and despite his failing health these continued until shortly before the club had to close in March because of lockdown.  We found him a lot quieter than in his younger days but he took the ribbing of his fellow old-timers in good part and his own sense of humour still shone through. Another link with the club’s immediate post-war period has sadly left us. 
 
Go to top