by Andrew Murphy and Damien Honey

James Morley, known by all as Morlers, sadly died last week after a short illness. He will be desperately missed by all those at the club that knew him. He was immensely popular at Brewery Road and one of the nicest guys you could ever wish to meet. The world is a far poorer place without him and the news has hit many members hard. 

Morlers started at W&H in the latter part of the 1999 season, initially playing on Sundays as his Saturday commitments had him playing for Honor Oak at a level that our club has yet to reach. Given his vast experience playing in the upper reaches of the Surrey Championship he made an immediate impact on the field but that was equally matched by his impact off it. He had time for everyone. He was that kind of guy. 

Morlers started to play on Saturdays from 2000, becoming part of Richard Walsh’s very successful side, and his inclusion in that side helped propel the club into a standard of cricket that it hadn’t reached before (or since). His batting, his reliable slip catching and more importantly, his bowling in the 2001 season were a huge part of why the team gained promotion that season. To add to this, as one of this teammates put it, he was “so instrumental to the culture in the team”. His bowling talent was evident from very early on that year with his W&H best figures of six for six against local rivals Chertsey leading to celebrations long into the night. In total he took 25 wickets at 15 to see us into second place. 

The 2002 season in the league above was a challenge and it proved even so for Morlers as his run of four ducks in a row, earning him the nickname Audi. He took this in good humour and it was no surprise that this run ended with some runs against his old club Honor Oak. 

He didn’t play much in the next few seasons as he moved away from the area (back to South London) but he returned and became a regular again towards the end of the decade. Although his best years with the ball were behind him, he remained a huge influence in the first eleven as his batting came to the fore. Batsmen often said that he was the best person to bat with such was his calming influence at the other end whilst also reassuring you with confidence. It was no coincidence that his return to regular cricket during this period saw the 1st XI gain promotion again in 2010. Over the next few years his appearances were more sporadic, but the one joy about an away trip to the Croydon area for 1st / 2nd or 3rd XI captains (he had no qualms who he played for) was that you could often persuade Morlers to turn out for you and that immediately boosted the team.

He returned to Brewery Road for Bedser week in 2015. This was the perfect type of week for Morlers. A chance to catch up with all sorts of old friends and play some cricket. Morlers excelled. There was certainly some talent on the pitch on that Friday afternoon for the “Legends” game but it was Morlers who walked off with the man of the match award with seventy odd not out, despite not having played for a while, and everyone watching was delighted for him. He loved the day too. Of course he did. It was his club. 

Arguably he made an even bigger impression off the field than he did on it. Former Chairman Smithy put it much better than I can, “one of the nicest blokes you'll ever meet. Always a good word for everyone. He never cared what team you played in or how you'd done. It was his club, you played for Woking and Horsell and that was good enough for him.” That summed him up beautifully and neatly explains the outpouring of heartfelt comments from a really wide selection of club members along with past players and supporters, he always had a friendly greeting for them too . It’s also of no great surprise that former opponents have been in touch too. That’s rare these days. 

So many of us feel honoured to have called you a teammate and friend. Rest in peace Morlers. It was a pleasure. 
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