Tom Boardman who has died aged 90 was a member of CliftonCricket Club for over 70 years, and as a former Captain, Chairman, President,Life Member and Trustee he devoted a large part of his life both to the serviceof the Club and to the Bolton and District Cricket Association of which he wasalso President.
He first came to the Club as a boy in 1944 following hisFather, Thomas Dewhurst Boardman, who was an active member and committee man.By 1951 he was an established member of the First XI as a very usefulall-rounder. A middle order batsman he had a unique stance at the crease,leaning on the bat yet quick to use his feet against spin and always lookingfor a quick single. The Journal newspaper reported his early promise in 1951recording his top score in the match of 28 not out against Little Hulton asClifton won by 2 wickets. A useful bowler his personal best was 8 for 31against Edgworth with his varied medium pace. In 1957 he won the Club battingprize at an average of 19.6 which was more a testament to the uncovered pitchesof the day.
By 1965 he was First Team Captain, a position he held for 4seasons until 1968 and then for 3 more seasons between 1972 and 1974. They wereleague runners up in 1966 and then in 1973 Tom led them to win their first evertrophy in the Cross Cup final against A&T, his proudest moment as a Captainand player.
By 1977 he had begun the next stage of his career in the 2ndXI winning the league batting prize at an average of 44. He achieved a great personalambition to score his first century in 1981, fittingly against great friendsand rivals Atherton, at the age of 48. He was a key player in the Hardcastleand Halliwell shield winning teams of 1982 and 1983, he captained the 2ndXI in 1989 whilst winning the league catching prize in the same season, most ofthem taken at first slip.
On the field he was a winner, always encouragingyounger players, a tough opponent but courteous with a sharp sense of humour. Afine cricket brain he understood the game at all levels and was an excellentjudge of a player. In the dressing room his optimism and enthusiasm wereinfectious, his anecdotes and reminiscences legendary and always a packet ofpolo mints and an apple for after the match. In the freezing weather of theearly season, he would often sport a white balaclava or an Aran sweater, andthe obligatory long johns, whilst in the heat the floppy sunhat was standard. Hecalled time on his playing days in 1996 having always maintained that agewasn’t an issue, it was whether her was good enough to be picked in the teamand ‘the young uns’ would have to push him out.
Off the field his leadership was immense. He was a drivingforce for continuous change and improvement developing the Club both as abusiness and in the standard and quality of its facilities. Serving on themanagement committee from the 1950’s he became chairman in 1976 instillingdiscipline and democracy and galvanising the various factions into workingtogether to build a better Club. Another Cross Cup was followed by the firstever league championship in 1983, plans were laid for a new pavilion with runningwater and electricity, as were plans for a major extension to the bar andclubhouse. His vision laid the foundations for the modern progressive CricketClub which Clifton became.
He was made a life member in 1986 and became president in1987 serving until 1992. There was no let-up in his contribution however,continuing to serve on the finance and management committees until 2008. Heorganised and drove projects to improve the club including all the spectatorbenches being replaced and sponsored, and the scoreboard and machine shedextended amongst others.
In 1997 having been a loyal and committed leaguerepresentative to the BDCA for over 30 years he was honoured to be elected astheir President. His leadership had the utmost respect and his contribution andworkload was immense. He championed support for the umpires and for groundsinspections to drive improvements. He stood down in 2006, typically setting theexample that no President should deprive other loyal and deserving people theopportunity of having the honour by staying too long in office.
In 2011 he was awarded the Peter Jeune Trophy for alifetime of outstanding service to the BDCA, richly deserved and proudlyreceived.
Tom was deeply saddened when Clifton moved from the BDCA tothe Central Lancashire league in 2006, but in true style he supported the movekeeping to his principles that we must all continuously stretch and improveourselves. Nor did he ever imagine the BDCA would fold; so he was devastatedwhen the league was dissolved in 2015, a casualty of the tumultuous change inleague cricket.
In his latter years he continued to watch cricket, and hismere presence often lifted and encouraged Clifton players. He would also enjoya pint in the Club on a Thursday evening, the reminiscences becoming morecolourful and enjoyable for those of us privileged to listen. For all thoseyears spent in cricket his wife Anne, herself an Honorary Member, has supportedhim throughout; attending whist drives in the early years, long service on thetea rota and attending Club and League functions. He often reminded us how muchhe appreciated her support and how lucky he was.
It is to Anne, Ruth, Jane and all their family that we nowsend our sympathy and support for the passing of a fine leader and a great manwhose commitment and contribution to the sport he loved spanned his whole life.He will be sadly missed.