In Memoriam: Martin Stovold

On May 17th, 2012, posted in: Archive, Cricket, News, Sport by

 I first heard the name of Martin Stovold when I attended his brother’s   Andy’s wedding to Kay in 1978.  Although I stayed in his parents’ house for a few days, I did not meet the ‘kid brother’ for some time as I was the dutiful and polite house guest from the ‘colonies’ and Martin was the carousing student home for the holidays from Loughborough University….  When finally our paths did cross, we hit it off straight away and it was not long before he asked me if he could follow in his brother’s footsteps as professional coach at Wynberg Boys’ High School in Cape Town – alma mater of Allan Lamb, Garth le Roux -amongst many other cricketers.

I contacted the Chairman of the Board of Governors and Martin was given a one year contract.  That one year stretched to eight and we worked together as coaches for most of that time.  During those eight years, he not only instilled his cricket ethos into hundreds of Wynberg cricketers, he also found the time to claim a South African wife!

The School Yearbooks sum up his contribution to this school.  “The services of Mr Martin Stovold have been invaluable.  His enthusiasm, competence and efficiency are beyond question.  No school could ask for a more loyal and hardworking professional coach.  Wynberg is lucky to have him.”  (1986)

“An entire generation of cricketers have now passed through Martin’s hands and his handiwork is very evident in Club cricket in Cape Town today.  Old Boys will remember him for his enthusiasm, knowledge, dedication and loyalty.  Above all this, was the personal interest he showed in everyone he coached.  Anyone who loved the game as much as he did, found a ready and helpful hand from him.  From the junior player to the lst X1 star, they all received equal attention and were taught to play the game ‘Stov’s way”.   (1987)

 His handiwork is still evident in world cricket today.  Paddy Upton played a role in the management in the Indian 2011 World Cup win and is currently with the Proteas.  Adrian Holdstock, after a successful playing career, is rising up the ranks of international umpires.  However, the one player who is special in his heart, was the young Jacques Kallis whom he nurtured in his Junior School years.  ‘So sad to hear the news,’ said Jacques to me in an SMS yesterday.  ‘He was a special coach.’

 Poignantly, the final few sentences of that 1987 report are as true today as they were 25 years ago:  “There was no room in his cricket bag for anything underhand, mean or half-hearted.  For him, there were no short cuts to instant glory.  Martin Stovold’s legacy is the quality of Wynberg cricket today – a school which can hold its head proudly with any other cricketing school in the country.”

I suspect that it would not be too presumptuous to say that because of his legacy, this school can hold its head proudly with any other cricketing school in the world.

 He was well liked in the Wynberg staffroom where his sense of humour and general bonhomie ensured his popularity.   He captained the staff cricket side in many Sunday matches as well as accompanying the Staff on their memorable Cricket Tour to the Karoo in 1980.

On his return to the UK and to Cheltenham College, he instituted a Wynberg / Cheltenham Gap Year Exchange and over the years sixteen Wynberg boys have stayed in his home, Newick House, where they have always been made to feel part of his family.  They, too, will feel that they have lost a father and friend.

 We pass on our heartfelt sympathies to his wife, Diane and his children Kyle, Kelly and Robyn.

 Keith Richardson


Wynberg Boys’ High School

 13 May 2012