Some Words on Barrie Smith

By Peter Eastwood

When John Barrie Smith passed away in July 2015, I lost another great friend who I had known for more than sixty years right from school days at Wandsworth School. Barrie and I shared a passion for sport in general but for rugby and cricket in particular. He was a fine centre threequarter, an astute captain, and in my early days as a winger I remember many scoring passes that sent me over the line, when we played for the School, OW’s and the Bedouins.

Barrie was a Yorkshireman and as was to be expected played hard and was a fierce competitor. You knew when you had been tackled by Barrie! Perhaps cricket was his favourite game though and again I played with him many times for the school and the OW’s. I think cricket was his passion and he always gave everything no matter what. As a cricketer he was first and foremost a fine off break bowler with his characteristic run up I can still picture today. He tried to take a wicket with every ball and was constantly setting the batsman problems with his variations of pace, spin, and length. But he was also a very resolute batsman, not great with scoring shots but always a difficult man to get out. I remember a game where we lost six wickets very cheaply, but then in came Barrie and for the next hour and a half the opposition threw everything they could at us but to no avail. Barrie’s batting salvaged draws out of many seemingly lost games and a not out gave him great satisfaction. He was a keen ballroom dancer which was how he met his wife Mavis, and I was privileged to be Best Man at their wedding. In later years he took up golf and I remember playing with him at Tyrells Wood and Betchworth Park. He often came to the OW rugby lunches and shared our memories together. I have so many great memories of our times playing rugby and cricket together and will miss him greatly as I know many others will too.

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