GOSPORT BOROUGH CRICKET CLUB will pay tribute to former player, war hero and local legend Ron Cross MBE later this month; hosting a Twenty-20 match as part of a ‘special day’ of Bank Holiday events designed to honour a hero who sadly died in January 2021 following a short illness. His death came just seven months after his 100th birthday, which prompted an outpouring of love and respect at the height of lockdown from all quarters. Hundreds of cards, presents and messages were sent to a specified address; including a tribute by Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage.
Born in Portsmouth, Ron Cross is well known for his efforts on D-Day in 1944 where he helped make crucial gaps allowing tanks to progress. This work was completed as part of his job as a demolitions non-commissioned officer with the 79th Armoured Division, being awarded an MBE in 1980 by Her Majesty the Queen. When he left the Navy after further landings, he worked as a patient care staff member for 37 years in Haslar Hospital, Alverstoke; the village in which he lived for the majority of his life.
In his spare time Ron Cross loved his sport and quickly became a stalwart of local cricket circles, with most of his focus placed on Gosport Borough Cricket Club where he started as an opening batman. When he was forced to retire playing the sport after a back injury, an umpiring career beckoned for a true cricket fan. Over forty years as a well known umpire, he officiated hundreds of matches, including Hampshire 2nd XI, the Inter-Services Championships, national club championship cup ties, and the Southern Premier League – in addition to treading the hallowed turf of Lord’s on several occasions.
Already marked by a commemorative seat alongside the Privett Park Pavilion, where he spent many happy days watching the game he loved in his home town, Gosport Borough Cricket Club are planning to host events in honour of Ron Cross in their own way. Last year the team had planned a celebratory 100th birthday lunch for their stalwart, but unfortunately was postponed due to the rules and they were sadly unable to reschedule before his passing.
Instead an afternoon twenty-20 match featuring past and present Boro’ players will follow a lunchtime unveiling by Hon Alderman and club president Peter Edgar of a special memorial trophy cabinet. There may also be a moment of reflection, either silence or applause, but this hasn’t yet been confirmed.
The date of this event is scheduled on May 31st with a provisional start time of 1pm. It is naturally weather dependent and subject to full confirmation, whilst fans and Gosport residents are welcome to attend subject to Covid-19 regulations.
Written by Connor Steel / Photograph from Vimps At The Crease