• High Wycombe CC
  • Almost Photo: Sportsshots.org.uk
  • 1st team in action at a cold Aston Rowant Photo: Sportsshots.org.uk
  • Great catch Burden. Photo: Sportsshots.org.uk
  • Chesham CC
  • Well caught sir. Jason Harrison, ever the gentleman. Photo: sportsshots.org.uk
  • Safe pair of hands - Gary Park Photo: Sportsshots.org.uk

John Goodman reaches 500 grounds

Published: Tuesday, 11 September 2018

goodmanJohn Goodman being presented with his 'cap' by Ron Hedley Bucks Over 60s 3rd captainJohn Goodman has chalked up an incredible milestone, having devoted his life to cricket. The genial fixture secretary for the Home Counties and Thames Valley Cricket Leagues, now aged 75, completed 500 grounds as a scorer as Buckingham Over-60s third XI lost by two runs to their Bedfordshire counterparts.
Goodman, who has overseen hundreds of games involving Bucks teams, going back to 1953, was presented with a commemorative cap to mark the occasion at Caddington Cricket Club, near Luton, his own club being Chipperfield in Hertfordshire, which lies just on the Herts/Bucks border.

“I’ve been doing it for 63 years,” said Goodman. “I did try playing for a year as a 15-year-old but was hopeless so decided I had reached my peak and retired.
“I dedicated my time to scoring instead. When you are a scorer, you tend to keep statistics of things nobody else would even think about. One of those was to make a note of the grounds I have scored at. “I’ve done well over 3,000 matches and I know exactly how many hundreds I have recorded, which is 722.”
With 500 grounds involved, there are obviously winners and losers in Goodman’s league table of best visited. Asked for his top three, he said: “I have done a list of my top grounds. At number one is Sidmouth [in Devon]. It overlooks the sea and is lovely. The pavilion is one side and the score box is the other. When you are in the score box you can see right along the promenade.
“My next favourite is Kowloon CC in Hong Kong, which is a concrete jungle with just a bit of greenery in the middle. Third would have to be Wormsley in Stokenchurch. It’s in the late John Paul Getty’s estate and is cut out in the Chiltern Hills. It’s lovely. If you’ve ever been to Arundel it’s been modelled on that, but is better in my view.”
It begs the question, which is the worst? “It has to be Hanwell,” he said. “It’s awful. It was a hot day which didn’t help. It was the worst ever. Another was a school ground in Melbourne.”
Ron Hedley, who presented Goodman with his cap as captain of the Buckinghamshire team on the day, added: “It is such a big achievement and it was nice to be able to present John with a cap.
“He said he didn’t want to make a fuss, but he told a few people so you don’t do that if you don’t want a fuss made. “We lost the match by two runs and I’m a Luton Town fan so losing in Luton wasn’t good. John has scored many of our games. It’s a seven team league with Herts, Surrey, Essex,Sussex and Kent also involved and when we started people said we would never fulfil our fixtures getting 11 Over-60s out each week. We have so far.”
The last word comes from Goodman, who added: “When I was 15 I chose cricket over women. I decided that if I was going to be a scorer I wouldn’t be allowed to do what I do if I was married.
I got near once or twice but then common sense prevailed.”

This article first appeared in the Buckinghamshire Advertiser on 26 July 2018. Courtesy of Clive Youlton