ROBERT BAIRAMIAN MA (Cantab)

It is with considerable sadness that we report the death of one of the most colourful characters in the history of club cricket, Robert Bairamian, the former Head master of Holmewood House, Aberdour and Claremont. He was 83.

Bob, as he was universally known, the self-appointed Armenian Ambassador and Hon. Commander-in-Chief of the Armenian Cavalry, was an ever-present in Kent and Sussex cricket for over 60 years, representing a variety of clubs including Bluemantle’s, Band of Brothers, Stragglers of Asia, Invalids, MCC and Kent 2nd XI. He was a highly competitive allrounder, scoring thousands of runs and playing two first class games whilst at Cambridge. His erstwhile father in law, Tom Crawford, also played for Kent with distinction, later becoming club President, and it was he who made Bob’s sons, Rupert and Justin, life members on the day they were born.

Following schooling at Dover College and Cambridge, packed off by his father, Sir Vahé Bairamian, the Lord Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, Bob’s career as a headmaster was never dull, inspiring many thousands of children from all over the world, building lasting friendships with them and reveling in their successes. His enthusiasm matched theirs, and his boundless energy imbued a loyalty that is remembered by his charges and staff alike.

Bluemantle week became more than a cricket festival under Bob’s inimitable leadership. Full blown lunch parties, evening drinks, pre-match visits to various local pubs and the inevitable response to the question of lunch…..”the woman is cooking pig” and then “are you getting enough?” made the week an unmissable fixture in both the sports and social diaries. His nicknames for his players, often shouted from the top row of pavilion, were highly imaginative; Toby Poesrcott-Edgerton became The Power Driven Hedgecutter; The Cloke twins, Cloak and Dagger. The list goes on and on.

Over the years many restaurants and hostelries were tried, some with more success than others. True to character, Bob would befriend the more like-minded restaurateurs, most of whom were delighted to see him and his band of merry men clad in whites, as they knew they were in for a good night with the till ringing and an increase in decibels that betrayed the usually sedate surroundings for the other 51 weeks of the year. A favourite was The Giggling Squid, which, of course, became known as the Bluemantle Thai. There would very rarely be an evening where Bob would not insist on high jinks somewhere, often driven by trusty friends such as the late James Wesson or Rex Roberts (rarely out of second gear). Many an Old Amplefordian, Moose or Straggler felt the effects of a night out with Bob, but no one had more stamina or enthusiasm for the next day’s game than he.

A fuller obituary will appear in time, but in recording the death of one of life’s real characters, Bluemtantle’s CC bids farewell to its Imperator, the unique Headmaster, Bob.

The service of thanksgiving is at St John the Baptist, Penshurst on Friday 28th September at 2 pm.

Nigel Wheeler: President

Nigel Leonard Wheeler is a lifelong Man of West Kent, having been born and raised in East Peckham where his family has farmed for 4 generations, growing fruit and hops and to where he has returned.
Nigel attended Hilden Oaks, Lancing College and Oxford before becoming a teacher and housemaster at Eastbourne College, and Christ’s College in New Zealand. As Master-in-Charge of cricket and director of many fine plays, he has nurtured exceptional talents, such as Eddie Izard, James Kirtley and Ed Giddins, the last 2 being worthy Bluemantles as well as winning England caps.
When Nigel retired from Eastbourne he carried on sitting as a JP and became High Sherriff of Kent in 2007-8, throwing himself into many philanthropic causes in the county that he continues to support.
As a schoolboy Nigel founded the Scorpions Cricket Club, which carried on for 5 decades playing at home and overseas, carrying out cricketing missionary work in outposts of our beloved summer game such as Paris, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Argentina, Chile, Namibia, and Portugal.
As a player Nigel too often volunteered selflessly to bat down the order and let others enjoy themselves instead of displaying his own considerable classic prowess. He always scored runs on The Nevill and only once had to be carried off with blood streaming from his forehead when he was, typically, too early onto the pull shot.
Nigel is also a keen member of the MCC, Band of Brothers, Kent CCC, as well as being a member of several other wandering clubs and he is also a Hopper.
The Bluemantle’s CC is extremely fortunate that Nigel has honoured us by agreeing to stand as our President.

John Bagnall DSC

John ( Bags) Bagnall DSC. 21st June 1922 – 2nd April 2018 ‘declared’.

John, fondly known as Bags, Baggy, Baggers enjoyed a long spell at the wicket as Treasurer and Chairman of The Bluemantle’s Cricket Club.
He passed away peacefully after a long stay in hospital and his funeral will be held at the Surrey and Sussex Crematorium on Thursday 3rd May at 1.30pm. No flowers please but donations to the Club are welcome.

I was at Holmewood as a pupil under the Headship of Bob Baraimian when JB joined as a teacher and met my mother who was a matron there with whom he had many wonderful years of married life .

The cricket square and grounds at Holmewood always looked good thanks to JB.

Jeffery Rae ( step son)

James Wesson

james-wessonIt is with great sadness that we report the sudden death of James Wesson, a Bluemantle of over 30 years standing.

James was introduced to the club by Bob Bairamian when teaching at Claremont School in 1982. A high quality batsman and equally effective off spin bowler, James had played 1st XI cricket for Repton, for whom he also played in the Cricketer Cup. Whilst at Claremont, James also qualified as an MCC player in 1984, the same year that he joined Rye Golf Club. He scored consistently highly for the Bluemantles, as well as for other clubs, such as Free Foresters, Band of Brothers, Yellowhammers, Scorpions and the Stragglers of Asia.

In East Sussex and Kent, James made close and lasting friendships through cricket and the Claremont connection, playing with his friends in the Common Room all over the countryside in those long and balmy Summers, travelling, in some peril, with Rex Roberts to many games, with Ant Lee, Bob, Rupert Bairamian, Ed Atkinson and Rupert “Paddy” Butler. Well known in many of the local hostelries as a result of post match refreshments, James would also entertain great local characters such as John Newbery and The Rev John Lambourne, with whom he would play golf on their regular trips to France with Ant.

On leaving Claremont, James was appointed Master in Charge of Cricket at Cheltenham College, where he enjoyed great success and popularity. From Cheltenham he moved to Radley College, where he became Housemaster of ‘A’ Social. His non-traditional style of pastoral care was hugely appreciated by his charges, creating a happy and laissez faire atmosphere that engendered loyalty and affection.

His real success whilst at Radley was in his time as Master in Charge of cricket. Losing one game in seven years, he forged a strong bond with the legendary Bert Robinson, and with Andy Wagner, the former MCC coach at Lord’s. It is no coincidence that under James, the first class game benefitted from the arrival of Andrew Strauss, Ben Hutton, Jamie Dalrymple and Robin Martin-Jenkins. Punctilious in his adherence to old fashioned standards of good manners and sportsmanship, James imbued a sense of pride in representing Radley, which was repaid by his team and appreciated by their parents.

When James left Radley to pursue his calling in the Church of England, the college was all the poorer. The transition from school master to priest may not have been an easy one, although it is well known that in one of the toughest parishes in the South of England, in Brighton, James was very highly valued, rising to the challenge as ever.

No Bluemantle Week went by without a day or two of “Wessona” holding court in the pavilion with his old friend, Bob. Stories of incidents past, glories re-lived, impersonations of old colleagues and voluble criticisms of fielding positions or bowling changes were de rigeur, becoming louder and louder as the wine consumption went up and up!

As a friend, player and committee member of many years standing, James will be sorely missed by all at the Nevill and in the wider world of cricket where he can claim to have nurtured a future England captain, as well as friendships with groundsmen, umpires and scorers.

A good man.

JRV Woods RIP

JRV ‘Dick’ Woods sadly died on the 28th October after a short illness.
He became a member of the Bluemantle’s in 1948 and played cricket with the likes of Maurice Williams, Peter Neild, Ian Fleming, Keith Linney, Hector Munro and Nigger Wright amongst others. Later on he played with Ted Rose and his brother Gerald , who became a member whilst still at school in 1951.
JRV Woods opened the batting for Kent Young Amateurs against Surrey at the Oval in September 1949. Colin Cowdrey batted at 3 for Kent and Micky Stewart at 3 for Surrey. He also opened the batting for The Army in 1952 at Fenners, DRW Silk (later Chairman of TCCB) and Robin Marlar were playing for Cambridge.
For a view of these and other miscellaneous matches of JRV Woods, see this link.

Images from Bluemantles Week 3-7 Aug 2015

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BM vs Moose 2015

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Dignitaries table 2015

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Presentation of the Ros Bairamian Cup to James Howie, The Moose CC by George Burrough

 

Pre-season Drinks 9th April

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This year’s pre-season drinks will be held from 6pm on 9th April at…

The Antelope
22 Eaton Terrace
London
SW1W 8EZ

All members and guests are welcome. This is a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and introduce potential new members. Use the form below to let us know whether you can be there or not.

[gmap address=”The Antelope 22 Eaton Terrace, London, SW1W 8EZ”]

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[note note_color=”#b4b6d7″]Please select a valid form[/note]

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Rex Roberts 1939-2014

Many Bluemantles will be sad to hear of the passing of Rex Roberts. Rex was a regular at all Bluemantles matches throughout the eighties and nineties. His fearless wicket-keeping and batting will be well remembered by those who played with him, and the Club is indebted to him for his meticulous record-keeping and statistics.

The following was published locally about Rex:

A funeral service was held at St Jude & St Simon Church in East Dean on Monday 24th March for former village resident Rex Roberts who died recently after a long illness.

Rex was born in Highbury, London in 1939 and went to school at St Michael’s Prep in Limpsfield – along with his brother Guy.
The brothers later boarded at Eastbourne College before Rex went on to Dundee University to study Advanced Mathematics, before taking a Masters in Statistics.

Mr Roberts’ family had moved to East Dean in 1953 when his mother Nellie was appointed head of the village school.
On returning to the area Rex’s career was spent as a maths master and he served for many years at Claremont private school in St Leonards and later at St Bede’s.

In 1971 he was inspired to volunteer to teach at a school in Kenya where he stayed for three or four years.
He returned to teach there a few years later and also travelled to Botswana – his work oversees lasting almost a decade.
But his first love was always cricket and he played many roles for East Dean Cricket Club.

He was primarily a wicketkeeper on the field and also organised the fixtures for a number of years.He either umpired, scored or played for the East Dean Club for the best part of 50 years and was very well-known in cricketing circles in the Eastbourne area. In addition, he was a stalwart of Bluemantle’s cricket at The Nevill, Tunbridge Wells and was both player and secretary for many years. He meticulously kept all the players aware of their performances on the field by way of the season’s averages.

He became poorly with bowel cancer in 2007 and underwent major surgery.He made a partial recovery but spent the remaining years of his life being well cared for at Hailsham House Nursing Home. Warm tributes were paid to Rex at the funeral by his niece Alison and he was then buried at the East Dean church cemetery alongside his mother Nellie.

Pre-season drinks 3rd April 2014

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This year’s pre-season drinks will be held from 6pm on 3rd April at…

The Antelope
22 Eaton Terrace
London
SW1W 8EZ

All members and guests are welcome. This is a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and introduce potential new members. Use the form below to let us know whether you can be there or not.

[gmap address=”The Antelope 22 Eaton Terrace, London, SW1W 8EZ”]

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antelope

[note note_color=”#b4b6d7″]Please select a valid form[/note]

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Gentlemen, Gypsies and Jesters

gentsjestgypA book released in July this year will feature The Bluemantles among the Gentleman cricket clubs it reviews in its “Wonderful World of Wandering Cricket”.

It also includes in-depth studies of 75 wandering clubs and a good look at old-boys cricket including The Cricketer Cup.

The book has been created by Anthony Gibson and Stephen Chalke and will contribute part of its earnings to Chance to Shine, the charity giving more schoolchildren access to cricket.

Download the PDF for more details and how to order your copy.

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