| Memories and thoughts of Andre Machon
| Andre's biog from The Gazette for the 1975 Gazette Cup Final
Bartho Smith: I wish I could join you all for Andre's funeral. He was a great guy.
I will have a drink for him next Friday!
Martin Gough: Sad news to see Andre passed I enjoyed his company and shared some great experiences. A stalwart for the club on the pitch and for the bar. If I was in the UK I would have liked to pay my respects, I trust y'all to give him an appropriate send off. I am sure we all have plenty of stories: stunning and unexpected diving catches, match winning knocks, days he couldn't get the ball off the square, lager in hand, some witty and at times snide remarks, pick up and drop offs from random places depending in his social life, part of the club, part of the furniture, unassuming as he was he will be missed.
Peter Wale: It was very sad to hear of Andre's death. I hadn't seen him for a while but I remember him well during my time at BCC. He was a nice bloke with a dry sense of humour.
| Andre as part of the Div 13 winning team in 2011, skippered by Peter Wale
Richard Burling (Stevenage CC):
Dear Friends at Berkhamsted Cricket Club,
Just a few words to say how sad I was to hear of the passing of Andre Machon.
Andre was a regular opponent to Stevenage during the 1970's & 80's and he and I always had a few pleasant chats every time we met. He was a stubborn batsman you always thought you should get out but he kept hanging around.
A sad day for Berkhamsted and Hertfordshire cricket.
Richard Hollies (BCC 1974-81):
I can see Andre's face as though it was yesterday. I used to turn up ridiculously early for games at the ground in Lower Kings Road - and Andre was always there before me, in the scorer's hut of course......
I was lucky enough to share several batting partnerships with him. He was the personification of calm at the other end, which always worked well for me !
To say that he was a "gentleman" would be the wrong description. I can pay him no greater tribute than that he was indeed a "gentle man", and I loved playing cricket with him.
Andrew Niven (BCC 1970s, then Dulwich CC and Yoxford CC, and Captain of the Dulwich team in the annual challenge match against Berkhamsted between 1984 - 2004):
Very sad news indeed about Andre. He was a one-off, and underneath that enigmatic veneer was someone who was passionate about his cricket and his fellow man. I can't recall him ever having a bad word to say about anybody, but he could certainly share a joke as part of the usual banter on and off the field, even if we didn't always understand his humorous asides!
He was an ever-present member of Jon Griffin's team in the challenge matches that Jon and I arranged between us for 20 years (1984-2004) and Andre's happy-go-lucky attitude towards cricket shone through. But he was a true competitor and could do well with bat or ball, always wearing that unnerving grin of his!
Steve Roberts: My first recollection of Andre was not at the cricket club but at Berkhamsted Hockey Club. We had played a Sunday fixture (Andre was just as keen on playing hockey on both days of the weekend as he was with cricket...) away to Hampstead. We won 4-3, with Andre scoring all four goals. Back at the Swan the drink was flowing, with Andre making sure that it was his hand alone going in his pocket. Always a generous man.
Peter Dudley: It's always been a huge pleasure to play with Andre - Boris, as he's always been known to me. As a skipper, contact with him was always a nightmare, phoning the communal phone or his work place to get to speak to him eventually. Then, when he caught up with mobile technology he was straight into having a smart phone and knew the league positions and results well before anyone else.
That was typical of him, he knew his score and grounds locations; had a memory like an elephant. I've seen here that his chess skills were great and it doesn't surprise me at all. As a batsman he always stuck around and frustrated. I'll particularly remember his standing, downwards cut shot - a prolific shot for him and the source of much frustration for the opposition.
A man of few words but well chosen ones, I'll miss not having him around the club.
Jon Griffin (BCC 1965-2004):
It has been very sad indeed to take in the fact of Andre coming to the end his long illness. A sudden arrival at Berkhamsted Colts as a fully-formed bowler of sharp-turning leg breaks and googlies marked him out early on as a ‘man of mystery’, an image he did well to maintain for the subsequent 45 years. His unorthodox and highly effective batting then came to the fore, as did a fielding expertise usually deployed in the gully position, and he worked his way through to becoming a 1st XI regular in the 1976 season.
A high water mark in terms of first team runs came in 1979, when Andre totalled exactly 1,000 runs for the season. This included a ‘purple patch’ of 527 in a sequence of fifteen innings, when his front-foot drives through extra cover or midwicket combined with a deadly late cut (not always at the same time…) to score runs off all bowling attacks in the county and beyond.
An overall total of about 30,000 runs in a Club cricket career marks him out as a truly successful batsman. The sharp leg breaks and googlies receded somewhat to become slow and tempting spin, with mixed effects upon opposition batsmen. But Boris was happy to try anything in the cause of victory and the spirit of cricket, playing over the years for any and all XIs fielded by Berkhamsted Cricket Club.
Other memories that come to mind include :
- after-match competitions at Lower Kings Road circa 1975, to throw a cricket ball from the tennis court fence to the football stand at the other end of the ground. Andre would win nearly every time, getting to within 30 or so yards of the stand and hitting it on the follow-through. The current world record appears to be 145 yards, while I reckon Andre’s best throw at that time was well into three figures ;
- on and off-field activities on various cricket tours, to Cheltenham and to Deventer. He also went on tour with other Clubs whenever there was a spare place and an invitation ;
- walking into a pub in St Albans one weekday evening and discovering Andre dominating the table-football table against all-comers.
It never did become clear why he was in that pub in the first place! But he honed that particular skill on the footy table in Berkhamsted Hockey Club’s pavilion at the Cow Roast. Add together his efforts over the years at cricket, hockey, chess, darts, table tennis (for Northchurch TTC) and his lifelong support for Chelsea and it all adds up to a remarkable sporting journey.
Rest in peace Boris, as you’ll be remembered with happiness by the great host of people you’ve encountered along the way.
Some Tributes via Twitter