Forfarshire Cricket Club - Tom McLeod

Tribute to Tom McLeod

by Richard Miller, Honorary President Strathmore & Perthshire Cricket Union

Tom McLeod, one of the longest serving members of the S&PCU Management Committee died on 23 September 2012 at the age of 88.  A long-time member of Forfarshire, Tom distinguished himself both on and off the field during an involvement with cricket which lasted 70 years.  A member of the Mannofield XI side which tied for the Union Division One title in 1949, Tom also had a spell working in the English Midlands during which he played at Minor Counties standard.  Returning to Dundee, he became a stalwart of Forthill XI during the late 60’s and into the 70’s where his batting, fielding and leg-spinning proved very effective.  Recalled to the Forfarshire side in 1973, due to a spate of injuries, he made some telling contributions, particularly in the field, which helped secure the ‘ferry side’s first Scottish Counties Championship title for 16 years.

First elected to the Committee of the Strathmore Union at the AGM in 1971 Tom remained a member until his death.  He was Vice-President in 1978 and 1979 and then served as President in 1980 and 1981.  At the AGM in 1982, Tom was appointed an Honorary President of the Union and until he was badly affected by illness in the last few years, he was a regular attendee at both Committee and Annual General Meetings.  One of his great successes as a committee man was to persuade Messrs J & E Shepherd to sponsor the Union’s Cup Competitions an arrangement which lasted from 1988 until 1995.  For many years, it was Tom’s pleasure to move a Vote of Thanks to the Chairman at the conclusion of the AGM.  Attending any Union Cup Final, you were guaranteed to meet Tom and his late wife Zena holding court at their car.  Many times, he found himself pressed into service to present the trophy when the President of the day had to make an early exit.

Tom’s service to the Union alone would have been a telling contribution to cricket but it was just one facet of the work he undertook to promote the game.  At club level with Forfarshire, he was, for many years, the wizard of the ball reconditioning kit and many a bowler has benefited from his practice of the dark arts of re-polishing.  Not content with this, Tom spent many years working as a member and official of The North District Cricket Association, working to promote the game as widely as he could over the vast area from The Forth to Shetland.  In addition, he gave long service to the Scottish Cricket Union as a member of the General Committee and several of its sub-committees.  Very few men from The Strathmore and Perthshire Cricket Union can claim to have given as much service to so wide a range of cricket bodies.  All this was done with no thought of recompense or even acknowledgement.  At SCU level, Tom was a vociferous proponent of the need to encourage small clubs to flourish in Scotland.  This he saw as the way to ensure that cricket would maintain a healthy presence throughout the country, open to people from all backgrounds irrespective of wealth and social standing.  He fervently believed that these clubs deserved an equal stake in the cricketing hierarchy and fought long, hard and ultimately unsuccessfully to establish a system of membership whereby every club in membership of the Strathmore Union would, by virtue of the Union’s own membership of SCU, be considered as full members of SCU. He managed to put the system in place for membership of North District and it did result in many more clubs taking an active part in the proceeding of that body but he was unable to persuade the national body.

If it seems as though Tom McLeod devoted his whole life to cricket, that’s far from the truth.  He was a father, grandfather and great-grandfather to a loving family and he had another enduring passion, Scottish Country Dancing.  Almost up till the end of his life, Tom delighted in dancing and was an enthusiastic instructor as well as a dancer.  The only occasions I can remember his missing a Union Committee meeting during most of my 28 years of service were the odd occasions when the meetings clashed with his dancing night.  Then, I’m afraid, his true priorities were exposed!

I last saw Tom in the summer of last year when I took him a copy of the Union Handbook.  He had just been released from hospital and was not at all well but the delight he had in feeling he was still part of the Union was obvious and we spent a short time catching up on what was happening within local cricket and reminiscing about the past.  It was an all-too-brief reminder of his knowledge of and passion from cricket.  He will be sadly missed.