A tribute to Jack Bond (1932-2019)
During a lifetime spent involved in cricket it could be said that Jack Bond, who has died at the age of 87, had pretty much done it all; as player, captain, coach, manager, umpire and groundsman.
Born 6th May 1932 in Kearsley he soon moved to Little Hulton where his extended family lived very close together. He attended Hulton East Junior School where he was encouraged to play cricket by the headmaster before moving on to Bolton School.
Bond was a devout Methodist and family man who played league cricket for Walkden and Radcliffe before joining Lancashire in 1955 when he was 23. It took him a few years to establish himself, but he had a good season in 1961, and then scored more than 2,000 runs the following year, the last Lancashire batsman to achieve this prodigious feat.
In 1963 however West Indies fast bowler Wes Hall broke his arm early in the season and although Bond eventually returned his batting never again reached the standard he set himself in 1962.
In 1968 the Lancashire committee turned to Bond to assume the captaincy on a temporary basis and after a sixth-place finish in the Championship-their best for some years-was followed by winning the inaugural John Player League title in 1969, the job became permanent.
In fact Bond’s man-management and leadership skills came to the fore as he moulded a young, exciting team alongside overseas stars Clive Lloyd and Farokh Engineer into a force to be reckoned with as the Red Rose side enjoy unparalleled success.
His Methodist beliefs, “it’s all about helping others,” helped him encourage and nurture players. As well as having a good cricket brain, he was a caring, understanding man of principle.
The John Player League title was retained in 1970 and Lancashire also enjoyed success in the Gillette Cup, completing an unprecedented hat-trick with victories at Lord’s between 1970-1972. There were many memorable moments along the way, none more so that the outstanding, leaping, catch taken by Bond himself to dismiss Asif Iqbal that provided the turning point in the 1971 final against Kent.
And it was Bond who insisted in playing on in near-darkness in that year’s semi-final at Old Trafford largely because he didn’t want to disappoint the huge crowd that had roared their support all day. Fittingly, after David Hughes’ heroics, it was Bond who scored the winning runs just before 9pm.
He played 344 first-class and 99 one-day games for Lancashire, scoring nearly 13,000 runs with 14 centuries and was one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 1971.
He retired after the 1972 season, becoming joint coach at Old Trafford before going to Nottinghamshire as player/manager in 1974 and briefly serving as an England selector. He then moved to the Isle of Man, becoming head coach and cricket professional at King William's College before returning to Lancashire as team manager for seven years between between 1979-86.
Finally, he became a first-class umpire in 1988 until retirement in 1997 with his final appointment for the Gloucestershire v Lancashire match at Bristol.
He became a Vice-President at Lancashire in 1997 and could be found at Old Trafford helping Head Groundsman Peter Marron and his staff with advice and support during frequent visits throughout the year, and was always willing to stop for a chat when we met.
He will be long remembered as one of Lancashire’s best and most successful captains, and was respected not just for his captaincy but also his personal qualities and his sense of humour.
The thoughts of everyone at Lancashire Cricket and Emirates Old Trafford are with his wife Florence and all of his family and friends.