John Lovell - gone but certainly never to be forgotten

07:06 16 May 2014

John Lovell seemed to become even more involved in cricket when he stopped playing for Ottery St Mary around 40 years ago, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

A reliable batsman in his prime, playing in the same team as judge Graham Cottle, Lovell went on to serve the Strawberry Lane club as groundsman, umpire and secretary. He also found time to serve as secretary of the old East Devon League, overseeing the merger with the Devon League in 2001.

But it was as a youth coach and administrator that he really made his mark, not just with his club but in the wider game.

Lovell started coaching at Ottery CC in the late 60s and pioneered the concept of District coaching after that.

Kings School in Ottery became the base for District coaching where, overseen by John, the best young cricketers in the area had their skills polished.

Adrian Codling, now president of the Bradleys East Devon Youth League, said Lovell had a passion for helping young cricketers and put it into practice.

“He was my first coach more than 40 years ago – and I think I was one his first students,” said Codling (left).

“Although John had no formal training as a coach, he was enthusiastic and fantastic with the boys.

“District coaching was something he pioneered – years before the District set-up we have across the county now.

“Although not in favour of youth cricket for youngsters at first, he came round to the idea and was very supportive as Ottery’s representative on the league.

“And when we set up the Peter Howard Fund, John was one of the trustrees and used his legal training to help channel money and help to youngsters.

“John, just like Peter Howard, was a true gentleman of cricket and will be much missed.”

The late Peter Howard was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the East Devon League in the early 1980s. He played for Sidmouth and was a member of the team who won the Premier Division title for the first time in 1989.

Robert Bradshaw-Smith, the current chairman of Ottery St Mary CC, said Lovell had given massive amounts of his time to cricket.

“He lived, ate and breathed cricket,” said Bradshaw-Smith.

“John ran the youth cricket for 20 years from the mid-70s when he took it over from my father.

“As an umpire he was scrupiously honest and bent over backwards to be fair.

“I can remember congratulating him in a game for giving me an lbw decision – it was the first one in eight seasons!

“He made things happen in cricket and that will be his legacy.”

Lovell coached a number of players at Ottery who went on to play at Premier Division or Minor Counties level.

One of them was Mark Woodman, who played for Devon between 1988-1997, who remembered Lovell with huge affection.

“He was ‘Mr Cricket’ and a tireless worker for the club,’ said Woodman.

“He would spend hours at the ground after work helping to coach the colts in the nets. “He loved cricket and never gave up watching even when he became unwell and will be sadly missed.”

Anthony Griffiths, who led Sidmouth to a Premier title and played for Devon, learned his cricket with Lovell at Ottery.

“I can remember him cramming five or six of us into his car for away games, taking us there, umpiring the match and making sure we all got home,” said Griffiths (right).

“He was a great influence on me as a young cricketer – and many more besides.”

John Lovell was born in Manchester and studied at Oxford University before qualifying as a solicitor.

He moved to Ottery with wife Sandra in the mid-1960s and started practicing with Mossop and Whitham. The couple had two sons – Peter and Alan.

John Lovell was an all-round sportsman and sports fan. He played hockey for Isca and switched allegiance to football, becoming an avid follower of Ottery St Mary FC.

His funeral is at the East Devon Crematorium, Whimple on Thursday, May 15 at 1.00 pm.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Midweek Herald visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Midweek Herald staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Midweek Herald account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other Sport Stories

Thu, 08:57
Avocet being put through its paces by the crew in the race from Topsham to Shelley Beach

After the success of the Turf Lock row in the summer, Exmouth Gig Club members weren’t behind the door in committing to take part in a Sunday row to Topsham and back, writes Phil Gater.

Read more
Thu, 08:51

AVR athlete Jake Smith travelled to Wiltshire on Sunday to take part in the 9Bar Chilly 10K race around the Castle Coombe circuit, writes Dave Mutter.

Read more
Thu, 08:51

It’s time to polish your antlers for East Devon’s famous Reindeer Run which will take place on Saturday, December 5, in Otterton.

Read more
Wed, 16:04
Golf generic picture

With Christmas in sight the Lyme Regis men held their first Turkey Trot competition of the season, writes Richard Jackman.

Read more
Wed, 16:04
Golf generic picture

There was quite a buzz at Honiton Golf Club as the ladies held a Christmas Fayre, writes Liz Rogers.

Read more
Wed, 16:04
Golf generic picture

A short field of 45 Honiton seniors contested a stableford competition on a very wet course which made putting particularly difficult, writes Liz Rogers.

Read more
Wed, 08:00

Millwey Rise Reserves defeated Feniton thirds in a hard-fought match played out on a heavy pitch with a strong wind making play even more difficult, writes Dick Sturch.

Read more
Tue, 16:22
Football generic picture

Offwell Rangers were comprehensive 8-2 winners when they hosted Bradninch in a Fresha League Division Seven meeting.

Read more
Tue, 16:22
Football flag. Ref exsp 7256-33-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Seaton Under-10s returned home from a visit to a cold Cullompton with a draw and a narrow defeat from matches against the hosts and Bradninch.

Read more
Tue, 16:22

Despite slipping to a third successive defeat the team retuned home feeling they could, perhaps should, have taken at least a point for their efforts in South Devon.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 11°C

min temp: 6°C

Most Read Sport

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Midweek Herald e-edition E-edition

Local business directory

Honiton's trusted business finder

Find a job in Devon

Find planning applications