Obituary: Robert William Young CA, cricketer

Scottish international cricketer who became senior accountant. Picture: Gordon Bannerman
Scottish international cricketer who became senior accountant. Picture: Gordon Bannerman
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BORN: 2 January, 1932, in Perth. Died: 1 October, 2014, in Perth, aged 82.

The death after a long illness of Bob Young has saddened all who knew this fine gentleman of Perth who was a much respected senior accountant, a keen golfer and member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, a worker for charitable causes, especially through Rotary International, and most notably a fine cricketer who represented Scotland in nine “cap” matches in the early 1960s.

Robert William Young was born in Perth, the only son of Thomas Young, a cashier with a local sweet manufacturers.

He received his primary education at the school then attached to St Ninian’s Cathedral, the first cathedral to be built in Scotland after the Reformation. He went on to Perth Academy where his academic skills were matched by his love of all sports, though his family recall that he never quite took to rugby.

Though he was a keen golfer virtually all his life, Young’s greatest sporting love was cricket, and he soon excelled as a batsman, often leading the batting for his school.

Deferring his National Service, Young had qualified as a chartered accountant by 1956, serving his apprenticeship with J and R Morrison’s, before he spent the required two years with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

After his return from national service, and despite the constraints of his then relatively new employment, by dint of dedicated practice he was soon starring for Perthshire in a golden era for the county club, alongside the likes of Len Dudman, Mike Kerrigan and Scotland captain Jimmy Brown MBE. His form improved so much that he was soon being talked of as a Scotland possible.

In 1959, he also had the very good sense to marry Wyn, nee Mason, whom he had first met when she was 17. Theirs was to be a long and happy marriage of 55 years, the couple being admired and respected in their native Perth and in Scone to where they later moved.

Wyn remembers that their daughter Susan was just a few days old when a messenger arrived at the front door to tell Bob that he had been selected for Scotland.

“He asked me if that would be okay,” recalled Wyn, “and I said, ‘Of course,’ though I thought, ‘Oh dear.’”

Young was first capped for Scotland in 1962 against Ireland, the match being played at Glenpark in Greenock, with Scotland winning by five wickets and Young being the top scorer in both innings with a magnificent 96 in the second innings the key to the Scottish victory.

That was to be his highest score for Scotland, for whom he played six full international matches in all, scoring 358 runs in nine innings for an impressive average of 39.77. He also took part in three more “cap” matches, two against Warwickshire and one against the Pakistan Eaglets, and a non-cap match against the New Zealand Cricket Council XI in 1964.

In May 1964 came the undoubted highlight of his cricketing career, which was playing at Lord’s for Scotland in their loss against the MCC where he made 42 in his first innings, including seven fours before being bowled by none other than the great Basil D’Oliveira. A gallant 50 flowed from Young’s bat, again including seven fours, in his second innings, whereupon he was caught by Wesley Hall, bowled by Alan Smith.

It was a source of pride for Young that he was able to say he had been Scotland’s top scorer in a match that was played in a most sporting manner. He had also been top scorer for Scotland in their drawn match against the MCC at Titwood the previous year. Playing so well at Lord’s for the national side, however, gained him a much-coveted mention in Wisden, the sport’s bible.

He played in both Scotland matches against Australia in September, 1964, during the Australians’ tour of the British Isles, his last full appearance for Scotland being against the tourists at Mannofield in Aberdeen.

In that drawn match, Young was the catcher as the Australians’ opening batsman Barrie Jarman was dismissed for two.

Young gave up the international game to concentrate on his young family and his growing responsibilities in accountancy, seeing his companies through several mergers and eventually becoming a senior partner in Ernst and Young.

He was enthusiastic in support of Perthshire causes, and was at one time president of a local branch of Rotary International, and also Moderator of the High Constables of Perth.

Sociable and interested in all around him, Young was devoted to Wyn and his family, Wyn describing him as “a wonderful man”.

He had suffered ill health for many years before passing away peacefully at Viewlands Care Home where he spent his final months.

Bob Young is survived by Wyn and his daughter Susan, his son-in-law Willie and grandchildren Bob and Charlie. His funeral service will take place at 4pm tomorrow at Perth Crematorium, and the family have asked that friends and relatives to join them afterwards at the Huntingtower Hotel. Donations can also be made in Bob Young’s memory to the Katie McKerracher Trust.