Geoff Cole

We are sad to announce the passing of Geoff Cole. We will miss him tremendously. Below are some personal tributes and photos - please contact us to add any.

An Appreciation of Geoff Cole - written by Tim Peters

The bland figures on Play Cricket are incomplete as so many games going back in time are not recorded. Geoff’s recorded statistics though are outstanding. 

723 games for Littlehampton Clapham and Patching; 35,237 runs at 53.4 with 115 centuries. Not to mention 540 wickets at 14.83 and 335 catches. 


When Geoff first joined Clapham in 1983, he was a serious athlete. He was in the top 5 squash players in Sussex for a number of years and was a paid pro in the Surrey and Essex leagues as well as playing for the West Worthing Club. Originally a fast bowler, he was determined to make himself into a batsman too. On a Saturday, Geoff would play squash in the morning and then bowl a long spell with the new ball and open the batting. Normally carrying on for most of the innings. At this point Geoff was a teetotaller and would leave his teammates in the pub whilst he went for a run on the beach. 


His batting philosophy which seems somewhat dated now in the T20 age, was that you couldn’t score runs when you were sat in the pavilion. No chances were taken until he had the pace of the pitch and the measure of the bowlers. Years of playing squash encouraged Geoff to play straight and he worked his game around the straight drive. Where he was absolutely outstanding was in his shot selection. He wasn’t going to play shots like the pull which he couldn’t play and also held more danger if the ball kept low. 

Despite all those runs, wickets and catches, the thing that those who knew Geoff and played with him will remember him for was his generosity of spirit. If there was a colt playing in the team, he would single them out to carry his bag for him and he would pay their match fee. He didn’t want to carry his bag and he wanted to help that young person out. The seal of approval from the senior pro.  

Geoff had a serious accident when he managed to fall off his ladder and break most of the bones in his body (never mind his head). I am not sure why he hadn’t paid one of the Colts to clear out his drains instead. He was airlifted to London by the Air Ambulance (whose charity he was subsequently a fervent supporter of) and was super glued back together again. His First words when he came round were, “Tell the lads I don’t think I will be able to play on Saturday”. 


After his accident, he became much more involved in the running of the club. His spell as fixture secretary was particularly memorable as he turned Sunday cricket into a cordon bleu tour of the Sussex Countryside. As always, Geoff was first at the bar buying the wine and making sure that no one was capable of playing the scheduled cricket match later that afternoon.   

On June 8th 1991, Clapham lined up against Middleton in a friendly. Geoff recorded the amazing feat of top scoring for both sides. The scorebook is lost and the game not on Play cricket. After Clapham racked up something like 200, to much hilarity, Geoff took the keeping gloves and let through two byes in their total off 6 all out (a young  Justin Scott was in the Middleton side that day). 


July 14th 1996 saw Geoff score his 50th hundred for Clapham away at Amberley. I have to admit that the celebrations were of a high level. We arrived back at the Coach and Horses in Worthing where the landlord kindly kept the small bar at the back for us every Saturday and Sunday during the season. On arrival “Jimmy” Melia peered through the bar and informed me that Ted Heath was already ensconced in the back bar. I informed him that although I was drunk, I wasn’t that drunk. However, as we wandered round to the snug we found Mr Heath with an MI5 bodyguard on each side of him. He was celebrating his 80th birthday and had stopped off for a drink on his way home to Salisbury from the opera at Glynde. He was insistent that we should join him. A memorable hour ensued until Anthony Waton informed Mr Heath that he had his copy of the Sunday Times in the car with an article about his birthday in it. Would Mr Heath sign it for him please? As Anthony got up, one of the MI5 gentlemen drew back his jacket to reveal a firearm. Anthony sat down sharply! The headline that week in the Gazette and Herald. 

 Heath drops in to salute Cole’s 50th Century 


When Clapham finally had to admit defeat in keeping going at the turn of the century and merged with Littlehampton, Geoff was already in his 40s. He scored plenty of runs and made his way up to the First team who were playing in the Sussex Premier league. After facing Carl Simon at Nomads, he concluded that maybe it was about time he acquired a helmet. The wickets and bowlers were quicker than he had faced previously (Paul Wilson who is now an elite international umpire and a fast bowler who played for Australia broke Geoff’s arm when playing against Brighton and Hove), but he became a rock at the top of the LCPCC batting line up. 

Our last game together for LCPCC after 35 seasons was at Blackstone against Findon in the final league game of the Third team season. We batted together for an hour. Geoff was the only one who knew that this was my last game. I had planned to just slip away. No such luxury. Geoff announced my retirement after the game and invited everyone for a night of celebration at the Gun Inn in Findon. Typical of the man. 


Geoff’s partner Sharon died suddenly at the start of the year. She was a huge part of him. His business partner as well as his life partner. He missed her terribly. Sharon didn’t have a funeral and from what I know, it is unlikely that Geoff will have a funeral either. With the outpouring of love subsequent to his death, it is clear that opponents and old teammates from Clapham, Sussex Seniors, and our worthing evening league team The George (also Worthing Nomads and Worthing Tree Surgeons) as well as Littlehampton members want to pay their respects and celebrate his life. The plan is to have an evening at the Littlehampton Cricket Club pavilion. We won’t let him slip away unnoticed either. 

Lord Cole

“If you look back down the years and recall, if you can,
all the warm temperate times you have had”………

“You may find with surprise; they’re all squeezed
into a headful of thoughts and a handful of summers”……

This a poem Geoff shared on multiple occasions when reminiscing about times gone by, well I thought it was a famous poem, but google finding nothing suggests it is actually just quotes by Lord Cole himself.

I am fortunate to have so many good memories. The first I have is one of my first games I played for the 2nd XI, I hadn’t really played cricket, and Geoff had scored 100 100s, but we ended up batting together; and he told me to be sensible. Next ball I slogged a spinner for 6 over cow, Geoff said “very good very good now don’t do that again”. I did it the next ball, apart from this time I missed, was out, too afraid to look at Geoff as I walked off, why didn’t I listen. There are two things to take from this – 1. Was that Geoff always wanted to help people play better cricket, it was irrelevant if they were his fellow batsman or the opposition bowler trying to get him out. 2. Is that Geoff was very rarely wrong.

Littlehampton, Clapham & Patching CC ( (is that scorecard, from 9 July 2011)

I was then lucky enough to be Geoffs captain for 3 years in the 3rd XI. There is nothing I can say about the batting which isn’t already widely known – skillful, reliable, keeping the strike, always too far down the track to be given lbw. He averaged 54 in 2016, when we won the league, and finished the top run scorer in the league. What was in many ways more important though was the culture he helped create in that side, a trip to the pub after all games, attended by practically the whole team each game. Always the first to get his wallet out, I will remember fondly the pub Holmbush Park away when he gave £50 for a round, and then we returned with 10 packs of crisps and no change. A trick that was repeated a few times, mainly because Geoff was in on the joke. That was generous Geoff in action, and over the years he regularly made kind gestures or donations to individuals, or the club, and always insisted them to be kept secret. Other great memories of those years include on field – so many good catches, I don’t remember Geoff dropping a ball at slip for the 3s. Going from fine leg to fine leg in the close games – but never complaining (or always complaining…) despite the physical pain it caused, as it was to help the team win. Driving onto the field at fernhurst then delivering cups of teas out his window whilst watching the game in the warm. Setting up an away game using his universal key, much to the home captains bemusement when he turned up. There was a deep care for the club, even when not playing, the regular calls and texts – telling us everything we were doing wrong, and the rare congratulations for things we did right.

Then away from cricket quizzes and BNO’s. A Geoff BNO was always full of fun and laughs. Many fine lunches and meals, including EOTHO - one of the best at the Oystercatcher. The quizzes, we worked out at the steampacket alone we must have done around 250 weeks as a cricket club in a row, often with two teams. Memories include… outrageous team names, Farage masks, John Bercow masks, trip advisor reviews, sausages, nicknames, Turkey and Norwich, the weekly circus that was the bill, card bingo, personal packs, putting the wrong points on the final round, more sausages, chicken wings, the randomly sized orange cake, the pencils, the drawings, the oranges on the roof, the cutlery in the pockets….

That’s another thing, the nicknames, most of which are unpublishable - then any social media, TwatFace being the main one, but there was no technology Geoff would decide to call by its actual name.

One quote I will always remember is “A friend in need….is a fucking nuisance”. That is what Geoff told me whenever I helped him, or vice versa. It was sarcastic, it was that way to show Geoff cared, but turn it into a joke too.

We will miss him.

Signed Sir Oorty Emeritus …. Aka Dan Clarke


Geoff always addressed his emails to me - "Hi Huge" and always signed off with - "Pip Pip, Biggles "Flies" Undone" or "Lord Cole of East Preston".   I remember many times after a game of cricket when he shared a bottle or two of wine putting the world to right and berating the barman if he did not have the best red.   Once, Littlehampton CC played away to Henfield and having emptied every bottle of red Geoff demanded that next time we visited, he would hope to see a full wine list.     I also recollect the visits organised to the theatres in Brighton when Rick Heberlein would drive Geoff, Sharon and myself and, with others, we invaded a restaurant before watching a show.   Journeys home were always sustained with bottles of Prosecco which Geoff convinced us was Champagne.   Rick was the teetotaller driver, Geoff was navigator with Sharron and myself sat in the back acting as extremely poor sommeliers, drinking more than we served.    Trips with Geoff, Sharon, Sue and myself to quizzes in the deepest outbacks of Sussex were also great fun with several prizes.   Who will forget, when on seniors tours to the New Forest, Geoff substituting mid innings drinks of orange juice, with bottles of red served in wine glasses.
Geoff was a lovely man who had time and sympathy when others were in distress and drinks with the late Jim Brown and friends in Ockley, showed his thoughts for others.

Hugh Milner