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 Pop Cox feature


Pop Cox - Uppingham Town Cricket Club


Above: Two-year-old grandson Toby joins Pop aboard Town's ultra modern mower

 


by BOB FEETHAM

Pop Cox's boyhood home in Morcott Road, Wing, was just a return throw away from the village cricket ground. So it is little wonder that his lasting love affair with the sport started on the concrete wicket there at the tender age of 12.

The 65-year-old, who went on to play for 39 years, maintained an active involvement after retirement, by taking on the role of head groundsman at Uppingham Town's beautiful seven acre Castle Hill ground. He had first joined Town 2nds in 1994, ending his playing days, aged 51, some six years later. 

 

Pop Cox and family

Pop is seen here in Town's clubhouse with wife Pam, son Mark and grandson Toby.




That was the same year previous scorer Stan Wright had died at 88. Pop promptly took on those duties - a task he continues to fulfil with diligence some 13 years later. 

As groundsman, Pop relishes the scope offered by this rewarding challenge. Certainly the surroundings are breathtaking, overlooking, as they do, miles of sprawling Leicestershire countryside. 

'Sun tanned and energetic'


It has a reputation for being windswept and a tad on the cool side. Not that Pop would notice as he devotes six hours most days to tending a 12 wicket main square which hosts at least four games a week - that's something like 80 a season. 

Added to this, there are eight strips on the junior square which is home to friendlies, under 11s, under 13s, Friday night and Sunday games - all part of catering for a set up which has drawn 150 youngsters to its youth section. That includes catering for newcomers from the age of five.

Sun tanned and energetic, hard working Pop loves the job - and he's not without help. Alan Brown cuts the outfield every Friday, influential chairman Charlie Scott prepares wickets on a Sunday morning, Mike Coplin keeps all the edges neat and David Tabram is happy to put in a shift cutting grass - all under the watchful eye of a nearby resident buzzard.

 

Those early days at Wing when Pop's Dad, railway lengthman Ernest, played regularly and mum Win would arrive from their nearby home with the teas neatly displayed on a wheelbarrow, now seem a long way off.
Born in Wing on December 21, 1950, shortest day of the year, Peter Andrew 'Pop' Cox was one of eight children made up of three sisters and five brothers - of whom Pop, Frank and Neville survive as do the girls, Pat, Lesley and Wendy.

The brothers all played cricket and football, Pop much preferring the former. He played with Wing until 1970 when they folded.

'Fractured jaw'


A left handed bat and right arm medium pacer, who scored hundreds and took wickets, Pop now finds it difficult to recall any of that success. "If I got going I could hit anything - but nothing stands out," he admits, apart from the painful moment he suffered a fractured jaw when struck by a sharp return from the boundary. 

Racing to the non striker's end, the return had fizzed over bowler John Tilley and, in Pop's own words, "caught me full in the chops!"

After Wing, it was on to South Luffenham where he played with the likes of Frank Cox, John Beaver, Brian Thompson and Peter Hodson, the latter's grandson, Sam, now making an impact with Town's senior Saturday side.

Luffenham enjoyed success in both Nevison Cup and Fitzwilliam Bowl. Then it was back to reformed Wing with capable cricketers such as Robert 'Sparks' Birch and the Adcock brothers, Steve and Nigel, and Ian Binley.

 

'As dead as a dodo'


When Wing folded again, the squad all moved on to Manton where they played on a grass wicket. "Clay underneath, it was as dead as a Dodo," recalled Pop.


They joined Rutland League, Division Three, actually winning it before Manton folded too. Then came the move to Uppingham, son Mark and nephew Colan Bartram also joining. They helped pick up the Reserve Division Two title.


Pop, incidentally, still lives in Morcott Road, Wing, but on the opposite side of the road to those childhood days. He has been married to Pam for 43 years and they have one son, renowned 42-year-old Uppingham all rounder Mark who has presented his parents with three grandsons, Charlie (7), Harry (5) and two-year-old Toby. 

Away from cricket, Pop attended Wing primary school before completing his education at Uppingham Secondary Modern, now the Community College, where he was head boy in his last year.

At 16, he became an apprentice mechanic with Woodhall and Duckham. After completing his five year indentures, he was immediately made redundant! Pop then joined Markon Engineering as a stator winder on generator assembly. He was there until 1990, helping to close the company after Newage acquired the company three years previously.

He moved to Stamford and stayed with the engineering company until 2010 when he took early retirement. 

Now cricket keeps him fully occupied - a sizeable task but one which is undoubtedly bringing this popular man much enjoyment. 


Published: 05/08/2015





 
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