Sandy Strang on cricket: Sad demise of friendly club with long and rich history

SAD news from Cupar CC. The historic Fife club from picturesque Duffus Park, which can trace its roots back to 1836 and started playing competitive cricket in 1884, has failed to field a team for the first time in its history, and reluctantly has now been forced into summary withdrawal from the Strathmore & Perthshire Cricket Union. It's all down to lack of playing numbers and a crumbling, dilapidated clubhouse deemed unfit to welcome visitors.

It's a sad demise for a fine, friendly wee club, which can boast many great players from the past, like WG Innes, DS Cooper - who in 1905 smashed 207 against Forfarshire at Forthill, still a club record - and Hugh Stewart, an outstanding all-rounder, capped four times for Scotland in the 1930s, top-scoring with 65 against Sir Julian Cahn's XI in 1935 in a stand with ex-Rangers FC manager Scot Symon.

Other well-kent Cupar figures on the Scottish cricket scene have been keeper-batsman Peter McLaren, scorer of nearly 20,000 club runs, all-rounder David Bell, and "The Scribe", aka Dr Allan Baxter, world-renowned scorer, still plying his art at Freuchie.

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It's only 14 years since Cupar were contesting the play-offs for the SNCL, succumbing finally to Stoneywood-Dyce. In their 1990s prime, Cupar could also boast many fine pros among their ranks, including prolific Western Transvaal batsman DB Esterhuysen and Namibian Gerrie Snyman.

Cupar CC also hit the headlines in 1932 when their professional Jack Clowes met a tragic death in one of cricket's fortunately rare fatal accidents after being hit on the head by a ball at net practice.

"We had hoped to give it a go this season," said long-serving wicketkeeper and secretary Gordon Anderson, "but player unavailability, lack of finances and major plumbing problems with our clubhouse means we're having to take a break.'"

The denizens of Duffus face an uncertain future, but there's still hope of a handful of friendly matches this summer, prior to a possible competitive return in 2012. Haste ye back, Cupar.