LUXEMBOURG STAGES A MEMORIAL MATCH FOR WHARFEDALE CRICKETER
A CRICKETER and former Wharfedale man who went on to play for one of the world’s smallest cricketing nations has been remembered in Luxembourg and his home county.
Piers Hampton, 43, a design engineer and keen opening bat, originally from Bramhope, Leeds,sadly died on July 11 after an 18-month battle with cancer.
Mr Hampton, who played as an opener for local club cricket teams in the duchy, and as part of the national team, was honoured by friends with a special memorial game in his name this week.
Piers, who was born in Hawaii but known to many in Yorkshire and Luxembourg, emigrated to the Grand Duchy in 1996 to take up a design position, and spent more than 14 years as a resident in Luxembourg.
A devotee to Yorkshire cricket and the batting style and attitude of Sir Geoff Boycott, his passion for the game was such that in 2007 he made a press appeal to the former Yorkshire captain, urging him to visit continental Europe to help bring a touch of Yorkshire cricketing magic to the small Luxemburgish cricketing community.
Friends and colleagues gathered on the pitch in Luxembourg this week to mark Piers’ memory with a special memorial game named in his honour.
Born in Hawaii but every bit the Yorkshireman, Piers was a member of the Black Stuff cricket team as well as representing the ‘Optimists Club’ in the Belgian League and Luxembourg in international competitions.
In a fitting tribute, his team, The Black Stuff, took to the green against Luxembourg's only mixed team The Maidens and Knights at the Walferdange cricket grounds on Wednesday [July 27] in Luxembourg.
In the spirit of Piers' affinity with both clubs, the Maidens and Black Stuff mixed up their teams, one led by Maidens’ Chair Sue Ellingworth, the other by Vice-chair Pat Heath.
Mr Hampton also played regularly for the Optimists' Cricket Club – the largest and oldest of Luxembourg's established club sides. The club represents the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in international cricket matches. They are officially recognised internationally, becoming an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council in 1998.
At home, Mr Hampton played for Pool CC and attended Bramhope Middle and Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley, where he was also a keen player, before going on to qualify as a talented design engineer.
In a web posting, a spokesman from the Optimists Cricket Club, his former side, said:
“As member of the first Luxembourg team to participate an ECC International Tournament and consistently unwilling to give up his wicket, arguably Piers’ finest hour came in the 2005 International against a marauding Greek bowling attack; chasing an impossible 300 plus in 35 overs, Piers carried his bat for 35 overs for a miserly 13 runs, in the process earning equal measures of respect and frustration from the incredulous Greeks.
“Piers had a lesser known attacking game that he brought to a 2007 fixture for the Black Stuff against Chiddingly. Once again, in his preferred opening spot, and batting against a bleary-eyed Chiddingly team that had spent most of the previous night drinking on the outfield, Piers straight drove the star fast bowler for an effortless six over long on. He continued to baffle the fielders with clean hitting drives and a brace of boundaries that brought up a rapid fire half century and led the Black Stuff batting that day.
“As a fielder, Piers had a natural athleticism and a good arm that made him a useful occasional wicket keeper and a competitive in-fielder; he threw himself at every ball and never left the field without grass stains on his knees. Piers’ fielding, as much as any facet of his game, belied a boyish enthusiasm and well as a fierce competitiveness for both cricket and life in general; he gave no quarter on the field and no quarter over a post-match beer.
“Piers Hampton animated every match and every discussion; he left us far too early and will be sorely missed by those who knew him.”
A memorial service and cremation for Piers was held in Luxembourg on July 14, and his life was later celebrated at The Black Stuff pub in Luxembourg by family, friends, and cricketing fellows.
A tribute to Piers was also carried by the Luxembourg Wort press and can be read here:http://www.wort.lu/wort/web/en/community/articles/2011/07/157190/index.php