Andy Creed

‘Fearsome to face on the pitch but a true gent off it’      Rob Batiste Guernsey Press      16th Sept 2023

after a successful KGV evening league match

Forty summers ago, when evening cricket was as tough and competitive as it was arguably ever going to get, the name Andy Creed put the shivers up many a domestic batsman. Paired with the equally fearsome Miles Dobson, ‘Creedy’ often terrorised the opposition on the wide rubber mat that sat on top of the Osmond Priaulx Field concrete-based wicket utilised when King George V Field was lengthily out of action.

Lower order batsmen, in particular, would tremble at the prospect of entering the fray at a time when the demon duo were allowed to steam in for the mighty Rovers A side, the rules and regulations of the time offering the batsman little comfort. The two bowlers fed off each other, seemingly always attempting to outdo the other and the result was batsmen all of a quiver, some backing away to the point that they no longer stood on the mat, and Rovers batsmen rarely having much of a total to chase.

Yet for all his capacity to go full out, Andy Creed, who died recently, was a sportsman who consistently wore a smile, always played fair, and was always happy to enjoy the opposition’s company in the bar afterwards. In today’s world there are many a youthful sportsman who sprout to 6ft 5in. But in the 1970s, it was a rare occurrence for a Guernsey sportsman to not only be so towering but so athletic with it. And Creedy, as I and so many cricketers referred to him, made full use of that athleticism which, coupled with his competitive nature, made him a formidable opponent. All the while, he played his top- level sport with the handicap of just one working eye, an accident as a young schoolboy with a hawthorn bush having caused him to lose the use of one. On the sports pitches you would never have guessed his physical handicap.

Andy learned his cricket at the Grammar and on leaving school his first job – at Huelin’s – soon led to his appearance on the evening cricket scene. John Henry, doyen of Rovers for many years, also worked at Huelin’s and the tall teenager was snapped up to play for Rovers, initially in their B team, which he helped win promotion to the top flight. In 1975 Rovers’ new fast bowler won his first Division One medal and that year was named Guernsey’s young cricketer of the year. As he later admitted in a Guernsey Press profile interview, as a strapping teenager he wanted only to bowl fast and use his physique to bowl with hostility.

‘I used to watch Lillee and Thomson on the telly and try to copy them. ‘There is not much point the youngsters of today doing the same,’ he lamented a quarter-century ago while talking to reporter Dave Edmonds. ‘I feel sorry for young fast bowlers these days, as the wickets do nothing to encourage them,’ he said back in 1999, which begs the question how frustrated he would have been had he been playing on today’s comparative feather-beds with regulations that very much suit the batsman. He was the taller half of the most talented and feared fast bowling combination in the history of the local game, who were just what a captain wanted.

Dobbo bowled huge inswingers, Creedy naturally moved the ball away and with bounce which bettered the best. In 1976 he won the first of his six Island caps and by the time he fully stepped back into the club ranks he had collected 12 Jersey victims, wickets taken at a miserly rate. For instance, in the 1980 game, he was given the new ball and took 3 for 24 in 15 overs as Jersey succumbed to just 96 all out. There were two more three wicket hauls against the Caesareans and in 1983 his reward for a fantastic season was the honour of winning the Guernsey cricketer of the year award. One Afternoon League game he had the very rare distinction of taking all 10 opposition wickets:

Rovers          175-5 dec


R Martel                           b Creed        7

G Rabey                           b Creed       5

P Wakeford   c Mills           b Creed        0

G Smith                            b Creed        2

A Ayton                            b Creed        0

T Peatfield                        b Creed        8

A Hearse                          b Creed        31

D Piesing      c Strappini    b Creed        0

P Webb         c Henry        b Creed        0

G Stuckey    c Mountford b Creed        6

J Lihou         not out                             6

Extras                                               6

Total                                                   71

Bowling:       Creed 14.3-8-17-10; Scott 6-2-8-0; Mills 6-0-25-0; Henry 3-1-15-0

But, after winning 10 straight Division One titles in a row, he swapped Rovers for Pilgrims, where more honours followed. ‘I had no axe to grind with Rovers, but the team was growing old together so I decided to leave,’ he said many years ago. Come each September when the whites were packed away for another winter, he would turn to the basketball courts. The late Terry Le Huray was his early mentor and it was in one of his night classes at the age of 13 that the young Creed took up the sport seriously. At 18 he was a First Division player and he remained in the top flight for fully 30 years and more, in his early seasons playing for teams such as Gold Shots, Blazes, Vale Garage Novas and La Bonne Vie. A lynchpin of the Louis Dekker side, he ultimately finished with the Richmond Worriers side, a fine team full of veterans. ‘We are the benchmark by which the younger players judge themselves: he said towards the end of his basketball career. ‘When they can beat us they are good enough to move up to the First Division.’

It was no surprise when he won a place in the full Guernsey basketball team and was chosen for various representative sides right through from 1969, as a junior, to the 1990s. His skills and commitment to the early decades of Island basketball meant it was no surprise that in 2019, long after he had retired, Andy was inducted into the GBA Hall of fame as one of the 10 inaugural inductees. His sporting philosophy was evident in his approach to basketball.

‘I always play with a smile on my face,’ he said, and that smile endeared him to just about everyone in local sport, Sunday League football included. Surely, it is testament to his overall good natured-ness and gentlemanly conduct that he could spend half the evening seemingly trying to knock your head off or splay your stumps far and wide, but afterwards be the true gent and friendly face you wanted to be with over a pint in the bar.