IN THE FIRST OF A SERIES OF SPECIAL ARTICLES ON 'CLUB LEGENDS' WE KICK OFF WITH SEASONED EVER PRESENT STEVE REYNOLDS. ARTICLE BY KEITH RONDEAU.
It was a Sunday in 1996 or 1997; a gorgeous summers day, the like of which all cricketers long for, yet rarely see. Sheldon Marlborough 1XI was playing at Solihull Municipal and the Zimbabwean professional had just dispatched consecutive sixes into the next postcode. The plump, fair-haired off-spinner returned to his mark, trundled to the crease and served up more of the same. Fortunately, the batsman missed and was clean bowled. If truth be told, it was a rather unremarkable delivery; maybe the Zimbabwean had his eye on a cool shower and a cooler beer, who knows. During the post wicket huddle Steve Reynolds lauded the young cricketer for not being intimidated and sticking to his guns. "Brilliant stuff!" he said "Brilliant stuff!"
I remember that occasion to this day; Steve Reynolds, the only man I know who can justifiably wear a tee shirt emblazoned with the word "Legend', was impressed with my cricket. Trophies and medals are all well and good, but this, sincere praise from the Steve Reynolds tops it all. The good Lord could have taken me willingly that sunny day at Solihull Municipal; my life could not have got any better.
Like many others, I consider myself exceptionally lucky to have played cricket alongside Steve, and to have had the pleasure of his company. I could provide statistics but they would not tell the whole story. Watching Steve bat is art in motion. Seriously, he is that good. He is measured, calm and most importantly, oozes class. There are some of us in the world that will practice and practice and practice, but never shall we be able to caress the ball through the covers with the grace of Steve Reynolds, or flick the ball off the pads with such a casual aesthetic. He was once named "Grinder', a label he is not overly keen on. However, this proves that despite his relaxed exterior, there is a fierce competitive streak within.
My early memories of Steve were playing in the Sunday 1's. There would be occasions where we would come up against players of real quality. Steve had another gear; an extra second against the fast bowler or the ability to reel off maiden after maiden before picking up a handful of economical wickets. I have come across many cricketers from many clubs, and Steve's name will always crop up in conversation from time to time. He will always be talked about in glowing terms: "Bloody great cricketer." or "He's scored a few down here." and the most surprising "Pretty sharp in his day!"
I know little of Steve's career before I had the honour of playing alongside him. However, the quality of his cricket in his late forties, fifties and even sixties show that he has scored a phenomenal amount of runs against quality opposition. Couple this with the respect he has earned and a clear picture is painted; Steve Reynolds is a gentleman and a wonderfully talented cricketer.
Let us not forget the sterling work Steve has done for the club over the years. In his role as club secretary he has donated many an hour to Sheldon Marlborough; we are all indebted to him and he fully deserves the plaudits that come his way. His quizzes are both infamous and difficult, and his understated humour creates an atmosphere that all enjoy.
Steve Reynolds is a gentleman, cricketer, idol, legend and friend. My life is better for knowing him.