• 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

Dave Burden

Published: Monday, 01 July 2019

Burden sclaed webObituary by Neil Doody, chairman of Berkshire CCC and Finchampstead President

David Burden passed on peacefully on 26 June 2019 after losing his battle against illness he first suffered seven years ago in 2012.
A true devotee of cricket, David was born in 1946 in Mitcham Surrey. As a youngster, he soon showed an aptitude and passion for cricket. In those early days at Mitcham Cricket Club he would regularly be brought to and from the ground for practice and junior matches by the well known Surrey wicketkeeper of the day Arthur MacIntyre.
Playing club cricket in Surrey, David represented Surrey Seconds as a wicketkeeper/batsman. In 1982 he joined Finchampstead Cricket Club in Berkshire playing there for four seasons. He captained the club in 1985 and also served as club secretary from 1983 to 1986.
On qualifying as an umpire, David joined the then newly formed panel for the Thames Valley Cricket League following its amalgamation with two other leagues in 1993. He officiated as an umpire until 1999 and then on the Home Counties Premier League when it commenced in 2000. He officiated  on the premier league panel until 2012.
His umpiring ability led to his appointment to the Minor Counties Cricket Association panel serving with experience and distinction from 1994 to 2011. He had also many senior MCCA appointments with his advice always respected when called upon.
Neil said:
“ A real cricket stalwart David always embodied his passion for the game.  He was a member of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire and fully supported both counties as well as club and representative cricket. Earlier this season despite his illness he attended a T20 county match at Banbury being Oxfordshire versus Berkshire and the premier league match Finchampstead against Henley.
We will miss David as an outstanding and passionate example of devotion to the game. He can now rest in peace after a full life dominated by his love of cricket in all aspects.”

An Appreciation by Kevin Beaumont
David and I first shared a cricket field in the late seventies, when he kept wicket for Camberley, who in those days played an annual Sunday fixture against Chesham, with whom I umpired.  However, our close friendship did not develop until some years later, when he qualified as an umpire and became a member of the Thames Valley League Umpires Panel in 1992 - its first year of existence.  It was immediately apparent that he was an outstandingly good umpire and within two years he began an 18-year career on the Minor Counties panel, during which he umpired several of their then-annual fixtures against the touring Test team.

Over the years, I have been fortunate to stand with a number of colleagues whose company I always eagerly anticipate, but none more so than David.  He was always clear-thinking, decisive and completely supportive of his colleague, and he radiated an authority which commanded great respect from the players.  He was also great company in the bar after the match and there were a number of occasions, when I was fortunate that my wife Helen tolerated a rather later return home than she might reasonably have expected.
I came to know him even better after I became the Secretary of Bucks CCC in 1998.  He and his delightful partner Anthea were already members of Berkshire CCC and soon joined Bucks as well.  Whenever those counties were playing, they would be present at one or other of their matches, sitting in his preferred position, just wide of one or other sightscreen.  (They often rented a cottage for a few days, for away matches.)  He always greeted me as “Boa Morte”; not being very knowledgeable on football, it took me some time to establish that this was the name of a player for his winter passion, Fulham FC.  We had many wide-ranging conversations during Bucks matches, usually lubricated by Anthea’s generous gin-and-tonics.  He held strong views, both on cricket and other matters, and these were often trenchantly expressed.  But he always listened to a contrary view – although it was a rare triumph when he conceded the point!  (And it is entirely due to the example set by his adventurous dress sense, that I now possess a rather larger collection of differently coloured trousers than would otherwise be the case.)
David’s passion for cricket shone through whenever we met.  He felt particularly strongly about on-field behaviour and the spirit in which the game was played and he could be caustic about those who fell short of his high standards.  If this makes him sound over-serious, it should not; he had a fine sense of the ridiculous and I have laughed with him as much as with anyone.  But he hated anything which he regarded as to the detriment of the game.
I am sure that the full details of his manifold contribution to cricket will be described elsewhere, but I would be remiss not to mention how much he put back into the game, in addition to his many years of umpiring.  Among other things, he stepped in to the rôle of Chairman of the then-ACU&S, when the organisation was in serious difficulties, and he also served as Chairman of the Home Counties Leagues Disciplinary Panel.  And he was so well respected as to be given significant involvement in educating First Class umpires on match-management.
He was a man of great integrity, generosity and good humour, right to the end; I mourn the loss of a true friend, one of life’s truly decent beings.