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Cup Final players pay tribute to Heindrich

13th August 2013

Earlier this year a number of senior figures paid tribute to Heindrich Swanepoel when the BBS Cup was renamed in his honour.

When we were putting together the player profiles for this year’s cup final programme Luke Sugg came up with a set of questions for his Warwickshire players, one of which was incredibly appropriate and both teams ended up answering it. After this got such a positive response we’ve decided to share the responses with all of you.

What is your favourite memory of Heindrich?

Andy Dalby-Welsh (Sussex)
“On an overseas trip with Hein we were enjoying some post cricketing relaxation in the swimming pool. A young child who was using the pool took a shine to Hein. He spent about twenty minutes helping her get out of the pool, jump back in, climb on his shoulders and jump off again. She was having the time of her life with Hein. Having tussled competitively with, and against Hein on numerous occasions, experiencing his tough exterior, the swimming pool experience highlighted the size of Hein’s heart and his love and kindness for other people.”

Justin Hollingsworth (Warwickshire)
“Him Walking out onto the Hagley Road, Birmingham at rush hour & getting stuck in the middle with traffic both sides of him and us nearly beating him by using the lights him then arguing saying it was a much quicker way to food! There are many others though considering I only new Hein for 4 years he had a big impact on my attitude to cricket and bowling.”

Dan Field (Sussex)
“I think Hein was far too big a character to be summed up or defined by one particular memory. Something that does stick out though is Hein dragging Mo Khatri into the sea at Manly beach, from a distance it could have looked like water torture but Hein, in his own special way, was trying to help Mo get over his fear of the sea and swimming. It was very funny but also showed how much time Hein had for helping people especially B1’s, particularly when we were away on tour.”

Ryan Leighton (Warwickshire)
“Heindrich always used to shout at me in training, but particularly in matches, whenever I’d do something wrong – I’ll miss that!!!”

Jimmy Millard (Sussex)
“When he carried Mo’s guide dog down a set of escalators at an England training weekend in Birmingham.”

Aiden Reilly (Warwickshire)
“Whilst playing a T20 in Highgate my back went and I had to go off the pitch Hein came over god knows what he did but it was amazing I called him God coz I felt healed, RIP Bud.”

Joe Harrison (Sussex)
“Rocking out to AC/DC when we shared a room during the 2008 series against West Indies.”

Jagdisch Pata (Warwickshire)
“When he gave me my first cap in 2007 for England - I was very honoured, and very proud to receive my first cap – and couldn’t have asked for anyone better to give it to me.”

Marcus Kippling (Sussex)
“I heard many great things about Hein but never had the pleasure of meeting him properly.”

Luke Sugg (Warwickshire)
“Whilst on England duty, in Sri Lanka in 2006, the players were relaxing in the pool, playing a bit of “Watch Rugby”. Watching Hein and Rory demolish whoever came in their way…however Hein took it a step further…Andy Powers, attacked from the right, and with one motion, hein caught Andy one handed, taking the full weight on his hand, before pushing Andy backwards and what can only be described as a cross between a Chokeslam & a Body Slam!”

Mark Burchell (Sussex)
“Meeting him for the first time, he was so open and warm. Bowling him out for the first time with a Yorker that landed on his foot he said “You’re lucky I’ve got big feet!”.

Adrian Snelgrove (Warwickshire)
“I don’t have one memory that particularly stands out but I have many years of memories of Heindrich. I played with him for a full season at Welsh Dragons and he was an inspiration. A man who loved his cricket, who led by example on the field and always wanted to win. I used to hate facing his bowling when playing against him as I normally took a battering and used to tell my team mates that if I had a phone call, ask them to hold on for 2 minutes because if Heindrich was bowling I’ll be back soon. Away from cricket, he loved rugby and I would sit down and chat to him about the game for hours. He’s gone but he’ll never be forgotten.”

Matt Greenhough (Sussex)
“Facing him in one of my early appearances for Sussex and having to attempt to keep out some of the fastest bowling I have ever faced.”

Mark Turnham (Warwickshire)
“Any opportunity Heindrich had of getting ice-cream he would get it.”

Miles Northwood (Sussex)
“Hein leading a train of 4 B1’s through Brisbane to McDonalds.”

Asif Ali (Warwickshire)
“I didn’t know Heindrich very well – but in the short time I knew of him – I learnt a lot – and was able to watch one of the greatest to ever play this game.”

Robin Williams (Sussex)
“I didn’t know Hein to be honest but he seemed like a really nice guy. I remember dropping him on my debut and he went on to score 90 odd though!”

Hassan Ali (Warwickshire)
“Like my brother, I didn’t know Heindrich much – but he still made a big impact, and it was an honour to play against him.”

Si Ledwith (Sussex)
“There are so many memories of Hein, he was one of the kindest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. One memory that comes to mind is when fielding in Australia he took out a camera man with a diving drag back on the boundary. He simply dusted himself off, collected the ball and threw it back into the keepers end. Then told the camera man who was sprawled out on the floor that he should have been looking. Absolute legend, still can’t believe he’s gone.”

Andy Powers (Warwickshire)
“When he presented me with my first England cap in Sri Lanka, he was captain at the time and was always pleased when new players got their first caps. just playing in the same team as Hein was a privilege, a man with great motivation and determination to succeed always pushing himself as far as he could to get better, these are the qualities that will be his legacy and something every England player should push themselves to be like.”

Toby Collins (Sussex)
“Whilst Heindrich was keeping wicket in a game for Metro , I had just run another five runs , Heindrich asked if I was alright whilst I was breathing heavily from my efforts , all I could manage was a nod of the head to which he smiled and told me to get on with it then.”

Nathan Foy (Warwickshire)
“I really miss Heindrich. It takes a lot for a man to love another man, but he was the kind of person that drew that affection from those close to him, including me. My favourite memory is of Heindrich making Neil Prior eat several pots of ice cream because they came with a meal deal at an Indian version of McDonald's in Chennai in 2002.”

It’s also right to share some words about the final from Metro Captain Rory Field.

"Metro, together with Anchen, sincerely thank all players and clubs, British Blind Sport and the Primary Club for the recognition given to Heindrich for his contribution to our sport. Hein was a true servent to the game and played it in an exemplary spirit. He played incredibly hard and took every occurrence on the field to heart. Whilst he always left no doubt that he played for the team he was on and played to win, if anyone went down with an injury from either team, Hein would be the first one there to give what help he could. Throughout his cricket playing years Hein was the pinical of the bowling attack and a major force within the team. Still, throughout, whilst on the field Hein always put cricket first and when off the field, he always put others before himself. Heindrich remains a true inspiration to many of us and may his legacy live on in this great competition, the British Blind Sport Primary Club Heindrich Swanepoel Memorial

Lastly, it’s fitting to end this tribute with the quote that best summed up so many people’s feelings when first hearing the news of Hein’s passing,

Miles Northwood (Sussex & former England player)
“people. What to say. I have known deaths in my time, accidents, cancer, & those who have been lucky enough to have just grown old & their time was come. None of these have left me with the feeling of disbelief I felt when I first heard & still feel now. A world without Hein doesn’t feel possible. He was a man among men. The, without exception, most caring person I’ve known. My heart goes out to Anchen, his Family & all those who knowingly or not held Hein close to their hearts.

I hope there will be time enough in the future for us all to sit & talk of the great man, tell stories, & laugh & cry. People with more skill than I will write of Heindrich & put what we are all feeling in to words. The best I can do right here, right now, is make like Captain Darling & simplywrite, Bugger.

My love to you all, Miles”