Today we are all here to remember and celebrate the life of Dick Perrin, a team mate and friend of mine. Everyone here has memories of Dick that are dear to them and he always spoke affectionately of his family that are gathered here today, but I want to talk about Dick and his love affair with cricket. This is my Dick Perrin.
Dick played cricket for most of his life. He played for API in the Mercantile League for approximately 50 years. He played at a very high level and was a seriously good cricketer in his youth, that fleeting burst of athleticism that we all suffer, but for a much longer period of time, he played in the lower grades of the Mercantile Cricket Association. Dick was the consummate team man; usually the first to pay his subs and every season gave the club a donation. But it was his actual play that set him apart and endeared him to me.
Dick would bat at about 8 in the batting order, usually coming in when we were six for thirty. He would then defend his wicket with what I always described as ferocious tenacity (if there is such a phrase). Dick was not going to give up his wicket without a fight. Opposition sides started to enjoy the contest with this angular, determined ancient figure, recognising that Dick refused to bow to the great umpire in the sky that waits to call stumps on us all.
I remember the last time Dick and I batted together. I turned up late on the second day (API were always short of players – anyone who could play on either day was selected). Dick and I put on more than our combined ages before I was dismissed. The last few batsmen soon succumbed and Dick was left 42 not out. Now, I am confident of this fact as I moved house last week and found the actual score book of this match. It is in a box in a storage unit and I cannot describe the look that Claire, my wife, gave me when I suggested it may not be too hard to find.
When the other side found out that Dick was 42 not out they immediately offered to withdraw the last appeal and go back out for Dick’s 50. The umpire refused to allow this to occur and I know the offer offended Dick’s feelings. He never asked for a favour, refusing the Association’s offer of a fielding substitute and a runner while batting. Indeed, in the above match he nearly ran me out calling for a quick single.
I was not surprised that my friend Dick at the end refused something called a ‘peg tube’, an abdominal medical device that prolongs suffering and demeans the recipient. Dick usually walked when he knew he was out. Not for him to wait around being a nuisance.
I look forward to catching up with him one day. He will be fielding at deep slip, pontificating on our irresponsible opening batsman, and being a joy to this team mate.
Dick Perrin 88 not out.