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Monday, 17th December 2007
Cecil Paris Died: April 1998

Cecil Paris the captain of Hampshire cricket club in the late 1930's died April 1998. Born on August 20th 1911 he captained Kings School, Canterbury in 1928/9.

'The essential characteristics of his cricket were guts and determination.'

Like many a sportsman of his era being good at sport was not the road to riches and after leaving school he joined the solicitors, Paris, Smith and Randall.

Being the third generation of the letterhead was certainly an advantage and he was to become the senior partner of this old established Southampton legal firm.

In the early thirties he played several matches for Hampshire before taking over the captaincy in 1938.

A few years earlier (1935) he made his highest score for the county with a fearless 134 not out against Northants in Bournemouth.

The official Hampshire club history records his cricketing style:

'The essential characteristics of his cricket were guts and determination.' It also notes he 'captained the side with immense concentration and effort.'

He was not able to lift the side above 14th in the championship however.

Over seven summers he did played 100 first class matches scoring 3730 runs at an average of 22.

Like many sportsman of his time he was something of a natural. He played rugby-football for Hampshire as well as squash.

He became President of the Trojans where he played centre three-quarter for many years.

He was also President of Hampshire County Cricket Club 1984-1989.

In 1968 the MCC broadened its outlook and made Paris the first Chairman of the newly formed Test and County Cricket Board.

Doug Insole followed Cecil seven year tenure and made the comment he 'was especially good at keeping several balls in the air.'

Paris was nominated by the Duke of Edinburgh to succeed him as President of MCC in 1975/6. He was also to become one of the first Life Presidents.

Paris was awarded the Czech equivalent of the MC for his work as a Liaison Officer between the Czechoslovakian Armoured Brigade and Montgomery's 21st Army Group.

Harold Lee
Players, Tennis #8

here has been something of a resurgence in the fortunes of British Tennis in the last few years, even if half the resurgence is due to a Canadian. The same can be said for British boxing. In a world where we are trying to become more integrated with one another I suppose it stands to reason we just hijack a few other nationalities and claim them to be British. Zola Budd started this trend to my mind but as she promptly lost I doubt it is remembered in many others, she quickly became South African again.

Before I travel to far down this road let me stop now.

Harold Lee sadly passed away this month (April 1998) at the age of 90.

In 1933 he was one of the British Tennis team that won the Davis Cup In Paris.

Being a team game it was not decisive that he and Pat Hughes (#31) actually lost their double encounter against Jean Borotra (#40) and Jacques Brugnon.

He did gain victories over Borotra though but not on that day at that time.

Fortunately we had the great Fred Perry (#2) in the team at the time and he secured a team victory by beating Andre Merlin.

H.G.N Lee is depicted in the Players set demonstrating the shot he was best known for, The forehand drive.

Harold George Newcombe Lee was born on 15 June 1907 and was educated in Kings College School, Wimbledon, which is as good a place as any for a tennis player to start life.

Once official schooling was over he trained as a chartered accountant.

He rose to prominence as a tennis player when in 1930 he beat Bunny Austin (#14) at Beaulieu and won a hard court championship at Bournemouth.

This ensured his selection for the Davis Cup team that year. He was to appear in 7 cup ties between 1930 and 1934.

In 1934 being part of the team which retained the cup. 1934 was to be his last appearance in the Davis Cup which Britain retained until 1937.

Lee was not just a team player. One of his best singles victories was against the American, George Lott at Wimbledon in 1931.

In 1932 he beat Rene Lacoste in the French Championship in 1932. Rene had been the champion two years previously. Lee was to go out in the quarter-finals of that championship.

1933 could well be considered his peak when he led Perry twice in the semi-finals at Bournemouth before being beaten 6-3 in the fifth set. He also got to the fourth round at Wimbledon before being knocked out in another five set thrilling against Lester Stoefen, a 6ft 6inch American with a fast service.

In 1937 he was to be runner-up at Bournemouth being beaten by Bunny Austin, which has a certain completeness to it.

He moved to Frome after the war.

Joan Baker

quirk of fate sees April 1998 as the month that Joan Baker died. In fact within a few days of Harold Lee. They shared the same profession, Tennis players.

Indeed Joan was born on Jan 23 1903 as Joan Winifred Austin, older sister to Bunny Austin.

She would often play her younger brother at Tennis and was content to do so until 1920 when she entered the British Junior Girls Championship which she promptly won and then retained in 1921.

He greatest tennis was to be played as a double partner. In 1923 she and Evelyn Collier reached the Wimbledon doubles final where they were beaten 6-3 6-1 by Suzanne Lenglen & Elizabeth Ryan.

Austin & Collier were known as 'The Babes' and were celebrities of the day.

The partnership was split up when Evelyn married and went to India.

In 1925 Joan Austin married the doubles player, Randolph Lycett.

Never far from tennis they spent their honeymoon playing in on the French Riviera where the excitement of the occasion saw them taking a set of Suzanne Lenglen and her partner in a game of mixed doubles. The only people to ever do so.

Unfortunately Randolph was to die in 1935. She remarried in 1975 to Donald Baker.