Remembering James “Nuggsy” Gleadow – a true Pacific legend
Fri 12 Oct 2018 
Club news item
 

James Gleadow – 12 August 1982 to 12 October 2018

Pacific CC founder Pete Hollman writes:
It was the saddest of news that reached us on the morning of Friday 12 October, that James Gleadow had passed away so unfairly early with so much still left to offer. But as he always did in the game he loved, he walked with good grace and dignity intact. His undeniable passion was with the ball in hand, chuntering about it being a batsman’s game. Not today sadly. Triggered in his prime.

Twelve months ago, on 14 October 2017, James played his final match at Wray Crescent. It was typical of James that as Highgate Taverners were a player short he got a chance to play against his Pacific teammates, which he loved just as much as playing with them, as it was about evening up the sides!

There’s a lot of fond memories to share around...

[To submit a tribute, please click on the "Contact" tab at the top of the website. Tributes from non-cricketers are of course welcome too – we realise that James was a very popular and much-loved chap]

 

James Smith writes:
James Gleadow always gave 100% for everything he did. Ran in hard every ball, played every shot for the team, and threw himself around the field to support his mates. As genuine as they come and a solid gold nugget through and through. Cycling to matches with his Wisden and history books then usually bowling uphill into the wind without complaint. 1671.4 - 307 - 5937 - 351. An average of 17.91 and a wicket every 28 balls. He might not agree but sometimes statistics don't do justice to the man who made them.

 

Jon Webley writes:
I think James Gleadow, James Smith and I joined the club in the same week (maybe the same match?) in 2005 and I think I must have played nearly all of the games he played in up until 2012. I don’t think you will ever meet another Nuggsy anywhere – a true cricket man, with his Wisden under his arm, never taking a backward step.  I most remember him quoting historical citations as he approached the crease and sharing many a long and determined partnership. His ability to land the ball on a penny gave many a batsman a headache. Well played, Nuggsy, well played.

 

Oli Haill writes: 
It's nice to look back at the match reports from Nuggsy's first summer for Pacific in 2005. After an intra-club debut and a midweek game, James made his 'first class' debut at the Wilf Slack ground against Barclays where, in a tragic coincidence, one of the oppo's players had died from cancer only a few days before. Debutant Nuggs removed the top four, then fellow newcomers Webbo and Smiffy knocked off the rest. He bagged a Michelle in his second game and three more in his third, including one caught in the slips by the captain who was cradling his mobile phone to speak to two late, lost players. This was another baking hot summer, 2005. In his fifth game, at Wray Crescent, the oppo, North Midd, score 229 and in response most of the team, including me, get out for dribs and drabs. ⁨Jon Webley⁩ is still in, but there's not really much of a glimmer of hope when James at No 11 joins Webbo with 109 needed to win. But the Nugget stuck in there in what proved to be a typical manner, fighting away and not giving away his wicket easily. And he was still there on 16 not out when Webbo hit the winning six.

On a more personal level, James was someone who cared a lot - about a wide range of things. I remember another quiet, bespectacled lad who joined the club a couple of year after me and appreciating the presence of someone even more introverted than me on the team. (In fact, with James Smiffy also joining that year and Kieran not long after, we were possibly among the most bookish looking team in London.) While Nuggsy often liked to keep to himself and his Wisden or history books as a way of escaping when the banter was too loud, he was a different person with a cricket ball in his hand, determined, dogged and even fierce in his quest for wickets, celebrating more exuberantly than anyone. I think he skidded on his knees with his hands in the air when he reached one statistical milestone. He also cared about others, was very pleased to watch Luke Hollman develop into a England youth cricketer, and excited to let others know when they were nearing or had passed a statistical landmark.

I got to know James better as the seasons went by, and we both went on a few of the club's tours to France and Spain. His passions were not limited to cricket and Pacific, with several other clubs also benefitting from his contributions on and off the field, but was also a keen and active participant in local politics. He became a senior figure for Pacific, pushing his views vehemently at annual meetings and taking the role of chairman for two seasons, and pushing the club's cause in battles with the local council, among other politcal skirmishes with the Islington authorities.

He was a quietly passionate man, kind and determind - and I feel lucky to have known him. It's desperately sad that he died so young. 

 

Kieran Mullens writes:
I remember James saving a game at Chigwell with Toby in 2014. We only had nine players and were given an extra by one of the Chigwellians – the 12-year-old son of clubman Adrian Clunes. 

We got a bit of a pasting while bowling. Sheldon went for 77 while Nuggsy bowled 12 overs for 18 with one wicket.

After a collapse it was left to a century from Chasseaud and the Nugget who bedded in and never looked like getting out in an 81-ball 23. 

It's amazing to think he was playing for us just last summer. True nuggety style.

 

Toby Chasseaud writes:
I faced Nuggsy a few times in matches when he was making one of his various guest appearances for one of our oppositions. He was certainly as competitive playing against us as he was for us. I don't think he ever managed to get me out but that was only due to a bit of good fortune on my part. We were on opposite sides in the Pacific 30th anniversary match and I see he bowled two maidens that day in 2013. I think they were both against me as he probed that ever-nagging line and length of his. I was fortunate to be dropped at cover off him early in my innings and went on to score a century, but I should have been out for about 10. If ever he did occasionally bowl a bad ball, as he did at one point later in that innings, he was furious with himself.

When he came on tour to Dorset in 2016, despite having undergone various rounds of chemotherapy, he insisted on walking about six miles to the Sunday game. If I recall correctly, he gave himself blisters in the process and so bowled off-spin, which turned out to be just as effective as his medium pace as he wrapped up the tail to take 4-11 and win us the game.

In another match, against Highgate CC, he was unfortunately unable to go the distance. He was fielding at mid-off and, seemingly forgetting that he'd just come back from operations, or simply unable to curb his competitive instincts, he dived full length and aggravated his injuries, having to limp off the pitch.

A far happier memory came in 2014 when, as Kieran mentioned, Nuggs and I shared a 130 partnership to draw against Chigwell from what had looked like a position of near certain defeat. In my mind he will always remain not out.

As an aside, I think I'm right in saying that James became known as the Nugget on account of his pool technique, which was apparently reminiscent of Steve Davis.

 

Aroon Korgaonkar writes:
Here I am trying to write something I wished I never had to. I first played for PCC back in May 2006 v Graces at the West Essex Cricket Club near Highams Park. It was a low-scoring game and PCC hustled their way to 113 on a tough, damp pitch. I hadn't as much as picked up a bat or ball in a long while but felt that if our bowlers were half decent we would have a chance. And how! PCC knocked them over for 35. The tall, cheery gentleman with always a word or two to say made it look so easy as did another Pacific legend in Chris Atkin.

However, it wasn't just on wet pitches that Nuggsy, as he gradually came to be known, would fill his wicket-taking boots. He had the unerring accuracy as well as the ability to bowl a mean leg-cutter to find a way through many an accomplished batsman's defences. Remember his ongoing improvements as a batsman. It was a case of a few scores in the teens at first, showing increasing redoubtable defence with ever-improving abilities to find the gaps.

I was very fortunate to share many such innings at the other end with always a good word or two between overs.

This culminated when both Nuggsy and I would score a large number of runs on tour in France in 2013. Nuggsy by this time was easily one of our better batsmen though he would like to try and stuff me up by ensuring that I batted in an inordinately high position ahead of him, when he was captain! 

Nuggsy himself would bag a few fifties and I do wonder how he would have turned out over the last few years in far happier circumstances. 

Back in 2015 I was going through a really rough time. I had lost my dad a few months before, badly injured my knee and contracted deep vein thrombosis. Yet this came to insignificance when I was to find out that Nuggsy had fallen ill. Just a stark reminder that there is always someone worse off than you but why oh why him? Nuggsy would still be a regular at club matches and I would often be sitting on the sidelines with him that year. 

Towards the end of 2016 it was to my great delight that I found out that he was visiting Mumbai for the Test match there and it was good to spend time with him at the match as well as showing him around part of town there.

He largely kept his cheery disposition going even though it was sadly becoming clear that he wasn't going to win his battle. 

There already felt a hole with him not on the pitch. It became even more acute when he could barely watch any more. I recall him last September not long after he had cashed in his life insurance joking about not being able to see his inheritance as a ball went near his parents after a six was hit at London Fields. That I think was the last time I saw him. Maybe that is what I'll take most of all!

I can't but say that you will be sorely missed. RIP Nuggsy.

 

Rob Bastin writes:
I know I have been out of the North London life for a few years now, but I hold the time I spent with James and Pacific in the noughties among the best and dearest of my life. I still remember clearly skippering James' first game at Victoria Park against Norfolk Martians when I caught James' first Pacific wicket on the boundary and he went on to take 3 wickets.

James was a passionate cricketer and a dedicated friend who would turn out for matches with the same slightly disgruntled air that all good seam bowlers seem to have. Having been behind the stumps for more than most when Nuggsy was bowling, I can attest to the variations/surprising dip/swing/cut which lead to many feint edges behind. I think all that played with James will remember his celebrations, a jump in the air, clenched fist or pump of the arms. The satisfaction of a successful plan. 

 As a captain, James was the dream player to have (and one of the few that would warm up with me!). Happy to bowl as many overs as needed and bat in any position (generally too low), the trick with James was to keep him happy in himself and out of his own thoughts a little. A different challenge when compared to the usual Pacific player.

There will always be the little things. Tours, cycles to games, Wisden (club and yellow) in the bag, the commemorative T-shirt for the Battle of Quebec worn proudly, the long quiet conversations about stats, players, history, wars, politics. For all of these, I am thankful and will remember him. RIP Nuggsy.

 

Chris Atkin writes: 
I was deeply saddened to hear that James has passed, but also grateful to have met James and Pacific mates from our time in London and I have so many fond memories. James and I were very different people but we both loved cricket, were dedicated, loved a chat and just being there in the company of others playing our part. I remember being there early or at every extra session having a chat with Nuggsy, and knowing that he would always be there. James was always the first person there, always willing to do whatever it took from a team perspective. It's nice to see that other former team-mates like James Smith and Jon have made comments that echo how I feel and what I think about Nuggsy – he just gave it all and did whatever the team needed or what he was asked to do.   
I loved playing with Nuggsy but think back to times when we trained against each other or played intraclub matches and we would compete with each other. I used to fancy myself against Nuggsy as he wasn't express and from playing together I thought I knew his game inside out and could take him on. However, I generally failed against him in those practice situations, and all he would give me was a smirk or nice smile to let me know that he had the better of me and that healthy competition just reinforced a point – James was so competitive and gave his all. I will always remember James and smile when I think back to the time we had with him.   
Claire and I give our deepest wishes and condolences to James's family and anyone who knew him. We are so much poorer for losing James but so much luckier and better for having had the chance to get to know him. RIP Nuggsy.

 

Ben Burnham writes:
I first met James in 2010 as a temp at Clerkenwell & Shoreditch County Court. I remember him as being a bit more cerebral than most of his colleagues, and he was known in the lunch room as the guy who was very into cricket and quite bookish. After a period of living abroad it was only five years later when I joined PCC that the penny dropped and I remembered him, recognising this man everyone in the club called the Nugget. After a few games of him turning up on the sidelines (I was intimidated by his strong and silent manner at first) and playing when he could, we got talking and it became evident why he was held in such high esteem by the rest of the club. He was properly dedicated to the club and to cricket. It’s sobering to think a guy like James can be taken by a rare cancer, completely arbitrarily and without fault. Life is precious.

 

James Collis writes:
Very sad news. I first met Nuggsy when he was playing for a civil service team, Ministry of Justice, in about 2010. He was playing for at least three different teams at the time so he could get matches in almost every day of the week, such was his passion for the game. I'm sure it'll be a fitting tribute at today's game, hope it goes well.

 

Tom Ireland writes:
I played my first game with Nuggs in 2011 and remember him reading a book about an obscure French battle on the green benches at Wray. 

As others have put so well, he was unique, the kind of character who makes club cricket special. Even when he was gravely ill he was still either pitchside or bowling his seamers at Wray – can you imagine anyone else doing that? 

I will remember him homing in towards the crease in his familiar zip-up fleece, glasses, sometimes even a bobble hat, wrist cocked, looking totally unassuming but then bowling pin-point away swing, clever slower balls and tricky little cutters to the often bamboozled oppo. Great to watch from slip. 

Despite looking bookish he was a serious competitor and liked to see the game played the right way. 

One of his many quirks was that he never thought a bowler should have to wait for the batsmen to be ready, which led to many amusing skirmishes with fiddly batsmen – he would often just run in when they were still scratching around getting ready. 

He was a quiet and interesting man and a scholar of the game. He enjoyed watching us and his many clubs do well as much as he enjoyed playing. I always wanted to play well and play properly when he was watching. 

A bona fide club legend. 

 

Pacific statistician and archivist Steve Lay writes:
Here are some key stats from James’s Pacific career.

After playing in the 2005 seniors/juniors game (16.4.2005), James made his Pacific debut against Barclays at the Wilf Slack ground where he opened the bowling and dismissed the first four batsmen (8  3  13  4). His first runs (4) were against Crossbats (4.6.2005).

His highest score was 58 against Damazan (27.8.2013).

Best bowling 6-17 against Yarl (19.9.2010).

His final wicket was Usman Rafiq c Chasseaud b Gleadow 49 against Hadley Wood Green (25.6.2017).

James played his last game for Pacific against London Fields (24.9.2017) when he didn’t get a wicket or bat. (He also played against Pacific for Highgate Taverners a couple of weeks later (14.10.2017)).

Overall he played 222 "1st-class" matches.

His overall bowling was:
1671.4 overs   307 maidens    5937 runs    351 wickets   Average 17.91

He took 50 wickets in a season three times (taking 60 in 2010).

Overall batting:
1239 runs    121   innings    56 not outs       Average 18.91

He took 53 catches and captained 18 times - 8 wins 3 draws 1 tie 6 loses.

I’m afraid it’s impossible to tell which of the two Barclays openers was his first wicket.

James also played 38 evening games and (I think) one or two indoor games, but details would take a bit more digging out (other than what’s in the evening stats on the website).

 

Jim Davies writes:
My personal favourite Nuggsy memory from Wray Crescent: Batting with Darren Tempany in full flow – he seemed to be hitting every ball for 6! Trying to not slow things down too much, I unusually cracked one low and flat over cover. The ball kept going all the way for 6, zeroing in on Nuggsy's beloved bike. He was, as ever, doing the scoring, so helpless to intervene! The image of his horrified face as he realised his bike was going to be clattered will forever be etched in my mind! I can't recall exactly what he said. Luckily no harm was done, though he still made sure he let me know what he thought later, not least because I couldn't stop myself laughing at the time! Nuggsy was one of a kind. RIP mate.

 

Ben Stockton writes: 
There are people at Pacific who played with Nugsy a lot more than I have. I first met him after his diagnosis, perhaps after I’d played a couple of games for Pacific. It wasn’t long after some surgery when we first played together but he was out playing at Highgate. His dedication to the club and cricket as a whole has been evident the whole time I’ve been here. But more so, he was just a lovey person and it was a pleasure to have met him.

 

Rob Dinsey writes:
Awful news. The first game I played for Pacific was last year’s James Gleadow Alliance match so I didn’t know him as well as most, but the tributes above speak about a proper cricket man. 

Just been looking at the stats. Nuggsy is the sixth highest wicket taker in the club’s history, with 351 wickets at just under 17. The stat that stands out of most is that he only bowled 37 wides, one every 272 balls is the lowest rate of any Pacific bowler with more than 100 wickets. Incredible control.

 

Ali Pritchard writes:
Great competitor, quiet gentleman, proud cricket geek. Sometimes you'd watch Nuggsy labour in vain as ball after ball missed the edge. He'd grin, curse (quietly) and mutter but he never gave up. Rest in Pavilion fella. We'll always remember you fondly.

 

Mike Alexander writes:  
We didn't play an awful lot together and played a bit against. We batted together obdurately against UCS I hope to retain the McDougall-Lindridge Memorial Trophy at Aly Pally "amidst the puddles" as Steve Lay noted I believe, James demonstrating immaculate technique.
We opened the bowling together and I am sure he would have risen significantly towards the doyen of bowlers John Baglivi. Despite being the better of the opening partnership he showed great humility in allowing the senior citizen choice of ends. He was always generous in his encouragement and support. Sometimes cricketers don't need to say too much to each other but the respect is generally there. James was very much his own man from my recollections and for those who knew him much better I would presume a very loyal and engaging friend.

 

Conrad Chandler writes:
I knew James from being fortunate to play with him in my 20s. I was certainly a bit of a lairy wild one in my 20s – and James was really quite the opposite! Entirely unselfish and one to do the necessary needs of scoring, putting the boundary markers out, putting the kit bag away... you can usually spot the good people because they're the ones who won't shirk responsibilities like that – and James was certainly very mature. He would always do those jobs – not as a one-off, but always. As a nice guy, as a character, as a great team player – he was someone I think we could all learn from. James was simply a very, very good person and I'm so sorry that life is just so unfair and we will all miss this great guy. James was also a great cricketer. He could bat – but ultimately had great control as a bowler and the ability to make the ball talk. When we were all getting dispatched to the boundary, James was regularly exerting control and taking wickets.  I will always remember James and the positive and great values that he shared with us all… RIP James.

Dinesh Panch of Old Citizens CC writes:
I first met James when we began playing cricket at school aged 11. He was a diligent practiser. He would bowl a tennis ball against a brick wall for the whole of the lunch break. He used to read The Daily Telegraph, which was strange as 11-year-olds are hardly the paper's target demographic. When he was asked why he didn't read The Times, he simply snarled "Murdoch". He was always committed to the cause in the field. Our captain at the time, reminded me of an incident where he used his forehead to stop the ball in the field and then carried on as if it were a totally ordinary event. I think it was after this that his nickname on the cricket team changed from "Jimbo" to "The Beast".

In spite of spending seven years at the same school the only subject I took with James was A-level politics. In class he was keen to entertain all points of view and eager to not dismiss anything out of hand. His evenhandedness and his quiet dignity are my enduring memories of him from this time.

Whilst at university, I met James on occasion at the indoor school at Lord's, practising with the KCL Cricket Club. I would later discover that the team was defunct prior to James reforming it. It was a few years later that I met James at a gathering for a mutual friend. He asked me if I was still playing cricket and I told him that I had stopped playing as I did not belong to a club. Hearing this he invited me to play for the Old Citizens, the team I still play for. James had a passion for the game on so many different levels. He loved playing, he loved watching, he loved scoring and he loved getting other people involved.
I remember James as a kind and dignified man. He was selfless in a way that is difficult to understand. He raised money for charity during his illness and he gave countless hours to cricket so that others could share his enjoyment of the game. He campaigned to keep the A&E at his local hospital open and on numerous cycling issues. He took his illness with good humour. He recounted to me tales of using "the cancer card" as he referred to it, to convince his family to follow his choice of day trip on holiday. 
James' life was too brief and the world is poorer for his absence.

 

John Beckett of Highgate Taverners writes:
Hi Pete. I've just seen the very sad news on Pacific website about James Gleadow. I knew he was very ill but still a shocker. How terrible to be taken so young. Condolences to all who knew him. All the best, John Beckett

 

Highgate CC:
A truly lovely bloke and opponent over the years. Gone far too early. 

 

Mayfield CC:
Terribly sad news indeed. Jimmy was of course well known to all at Mayfield Cricket Club and will be greatly missed. He was a loyal and enthusiastic club cricketer and a great competitor. 

 

Luke Shaw of Mayfield:
On a personal note I would say that Jimmy was the epitome of a club cricketer, fiercely competitive, generously social and a thoughtful enthusiast for the game. I will miss the onfield battles we shared.

 

London Fields CC:
We have great memories of some beautiful bowling spells from him, and far fonder memories of him as a person. James was a wonderful man.

 

Chigwell CC:
Nuggsy was a wonderful competitor, dogged and relentlessly accurate opening bowler, and a lovely man.

 

Conrad Williams writes: 
Very sorry to hear the news about the sad passing of James at such a young age. I knew of his cancer diagnosis but not how advanced it was. He was always a great pleasure to chat to at the Midd during matches over the short period we were acquainted and I will miss his company.

 

Martin O'Brien of Hackney Umpires writes:
I saw via the Pacific Twitter account the sad news about James Gleadow. He looked familiar so I went to check the Hackney Umpires records. We have only played Pacific the once – basically you're far too good for us! But back in 2014 we took a beating at your hands and there in the scorebook it records "Leddo" (which I assume is classic sloppy scoring mis-hearing of Gleadow) hitting some late-order runs and then opening the bowling by taking out our only three real batsmen that day all very cheaply, precipitating another classic Hackney Umpire slump to a heavy defeat. Nothing too unusual about that but I do remember "Leddo" bowling with some pace and amiable hostility and particularly that in between overs he was waving at and talking to (I think) his mum who was watching from the boundary. So sad for one so young to die. No doubt he had many better days on the cricket field than demolishing our sporadic efforts but am glad to think that back in May 2014 he and his mum (if it was her) would have enjoyed that day. Best wishes to you, his friends and family.

 

 

Pete Hollman has written a further tribute on the North Middlesex CC website here.    

James’s funeral will take place at 12 noon on Friday 2 November at Golders Green Crematorium 62 Hoop Lane, Golders Green, London, NW11 7NL.
His wake will follow at 1.30pm at Lauderdale House, Waterlow Park, Highgate Hill, London N6 5HG.

 

 

In this picture James sits front and centre of what was the first James Gleadow Alliance match at Wray Crescent. He selected eleven players to play against Pacific CC, with several others turning up to support:

Nuggsy