Ossie Gooding 1939-2002

A Superb Bowler & a Natural Gentleman

Osburn St C Gooding 1939-2002

Salmon Rushdie Ossie Gooding Harold Pinter

Ossie Gooding probably the best quickie to play for Nomads in half a century died   December 2002  after fighting off a series of ailments. He was also one of the very nicest of men and will be much mourned. His funeral was on Friday December 20th 2002 and attended amongst many by the two Nomads Presidents, David Alexander and Richard Kershaw. The club sent a wreath in the club colours. Harold Pinter Chairman of Gaieties CC for whom Ossie also played read an oration.

Ossie was born in Barbados 1939 where it is rumoured he played for Barbados Colts. He was lured by the British Army’s recruiting package to join up leading to his life in Europe, UK and beyond. Ossie was stationed with the British Army of the Rhine for a while during which time he married a German lady. Ossie represented the Army and Combined Services at cricket. On leaving the Army he joined the Home Office as a  Civil Servant which allowed him a lot of days playing cricket aside of the weekend.

Ossie also played for Hampshire CCC 2nd XI as well as top level league cricket in Kent, Middlesex, Essex and Surrey for clubs such as Ashford(Middx), South Woodford, Spencer. etc. He was however to play a great deal for a wide variety of Wandering sides including Pickersgill, Nomads, Stoics and Gaieties among others where his most convivial personality contributed greatly to the post match banter.

Ossie was a magnificent athlete with a remarkable subtle control of bowling variations. In fact he could do almost anything with the ball and despite being very quick indeed throughout his prime always pitched the ball up to inadequate and tail end batsmen. The first time I played with him was a match at Stowe School against the Templars for Stoics. John Nagenda was fielding at silly mid off and the ‘keeper and slips had taken up fairly deep positions only to be regaled by Nagenda “Much much further back”. ..and so we responded to his waving arms.Ossie bowled and we retreated yet further.

Ossie came to Nomads via Pickersgill introduced by John Nagenda. His brother Michael was also to play for Nomads. How he arrived at Pickersgill is the basis of various stories. This writer awaits notice of the ‘official’ one. It is alleged his took the draft of a proposed book along to the  Literary Agent Michael Simkins  who asked Ossie if he also played cricket.

Ossie took 60 wickets or more in his first season for Nomads at 7.23 per wicket in 1975, a brilliant season for Nomads CC. Unfortunately we were to lose him to South Woodford CC with whom we played an early Septemeber Saturday match. Ossie then played some seasons in the Essex League taking South Woodford to the title and taking over 90 league wickets which was a record. Subsequently he was to play some seasons for Spencer in the Surrey Championship. Like many outstanding fast bowlers many clubs ignored his batting prowess which irked Ossie. He was then easily lured from the Home Office for midweek games on the promise of a top order batting place. On one occasion he score ninety odd against Cranleigh in their cricket week.

However in the 1980s Ossie was to suffer from the first of various afflictions, this first time he just seemed to waste away looking like a victim of starvation. Eventually this was remedied and he recovered his full body shape but with some loss of his former muscle tone. For most of the last two decades of his life he suffered a number of ailments including cancers but still turned out endlessly for Gaieties CC with an irrespressible cheerfulness and good humour. He bowled beautifully at Paul Getty’s ground albeit in his late fifties(see below).

It was most unfortunate that a combination of marriage to a Northumbrian lady and relocation by the Home Office found Ossie in the North East of England at the end of his working life and then early retirement. He was thus a long way from all his cricketing friends and Caribbean origin family. It was to the great credit and generosity of Harold Pinter chairman of Gaieties CC that Ossie would often make the weekly journey south to bowl his heart out for Gaieties CC. 

The Gaieties Cricket Club remember Ossie each year at an annual club match for which the Gooding family provide sumptuous  Caribbean Cuisine.

Gaieties Pre Christmas drink at Windsor Castle Pub.Standing left to right Charlton Lamb,Ian Smith,Ian Mckinnon,Harold Pinter,Michael Blumberg,Roger Davidson,Steve Marions,Martin Smith,Dominic Perks, Nealon,Jonathon Smith,Robert Winder,Roland Oliver.Squatting left to right Justin Falkus,Nick Cowley and Ossie Gooding

Related Links
Gaieties Cricket Club 

Juliette Gooding Tribute to Harold Pinter 

John Nagenda Tribute to Ossie Gooding & Harold Pinter    

Cricket Archive OS Gooding
Army v Royal Air force 1965

Army v Royal Navy 1965

Army v Oxford University 1966

Hampshire CCC  2ndXI v Surrey CCC 2nd XI 1966

Combined Services v MCC Public Schools 1966

Sir JP Getty’s XI v Gaieties CC 1997

Sir JP Getty’s XI v Gaieties CC 1998