David Smee (1950-1953)

Died on 1st November 2019, aged 83

The following tribute is taken from the eulogy at David’s funeral by Graham Prodger (1950-1954)

The large attendance reflects the regard in which David was held. His own response would probably be:

“There are more people here than at a County Cricket Match or Craven Cottage!!”

We wear OMTCC blazers as David chose to be cremated in his.

I feel that I will be unable to do him justice for the years that I was away in Scotland and Cornwall. Tony Wright and David Cameron had so much more contact, but I will have a go.

In 1949, a skinny winger was marked by a solid back in a prep school soccer match, after which we entered MTS, and most contact was through “quad soccer” to the dismay of our parents who received ruined shoes regularly.

Most of you probably feel that cricket was David’s main sporting love, but I have always believed that soccer was equal first. Hence his participation in OMT Sunday Soccer. Anyhow, who but a soccer nut would support Fulham – apart from Richard Osman? Three weeks ago, just down our road I saw a car fully decked out with Fulham favours and stickers – and it was parked outside the Mental Health Clinic!

At Taylors’ we were in different houses and sides – he in Modern V B/Transitus, while I was a poor Classicist. But we did share one class; the lowest maths set E under Ernie Melly. David probably passed ‘O’ level Maths - I didn’t.

Regarding school cricket, David was unlucky in that the 1st XI keeper was in his house, and then Simon Brown took over largely on the strength of being considered better at taking Monty’s leg breaks. Arriving at OMT’s, although Corky Philips and Bill Brown were around, David, through his consistent lack of mistakes, mobility and availability soon made the keeper’s position his own - and for how long! His batting was undervalued because when wickets were tumbling or we needed to play out time (there were draws then), David was your man.

Let’s move on to what most people associate with David Smee:- OMTCC Captain with the most successful record. He marshalled a talented group of players to produce an exceptional set of results. Some have passed on but there is still a good side here today. I honestly believe that one of his greatest moments was when he beat The Mote, Maidstone; he even sent me a card in Scotland to tell me so! Touring Kent for nine days and playing some strong opposition provided insights into many players – you could almost see some maturing. Again, David was a stalwart both by availability and post-match darts. Years ago, we stayed the first weekend at The Star in Maidstone which was pretty smart. This arrangement came to an end after David and I “fearing a fire” found two stirrup pumps and decided to practice firefighting down a long corridor. The manager was furious, and so in future we stayed in Sutton Valence which proved really successful and also produced several long-term OS - OMT friendships.

David was classy at rock’n roll and my wife’s favourite partner (thank goodness) and occasional lunch partner too. However, he was not popular at South Hampstead CC when he and Paul Graver gave her a ‘beer shampoo’ before we went to a pub with her head foaming! He and I lunched regularly at places like Bernie Inn, The Three Horseshoes, and, memorably, at the Three Hammers, Chiswell Green. That resulted in us being banned by the ex-jockey landlord for throwing bread balls across the dining room to be hit by someone using one of his whips as a bat – no sense of fun!

The business life of David will be covered by Chris Hardy after this ramble.

OMT Society involvement began with the ‘Long Stops’, and then with the School Cricket Support group which did much to help youngsters, including his sons Anthony and Jonathan, partake in and improve at cricket but also to enjoy the experience. He later worked with The OMTCC Colts and Veterans, captaining the latter – no surprise there then.

For all his input into, and support for, it, he was deservedly elected an honorary Life Member of OMTCC. Then in 1995, David was made a Vice President of the OMT Society. Some people did not appreciate how sociable David could be, but with enormous support from Sue, they attended a huge number of Society functions over the years.

This leads me to the FALICS. In full the ‘Fogeys And Layabouts Indigestion Club ‘– aka Fat Boys Club. It originally met monthly on a Wednesday in Hodson’s Lounge at Durrants. Actually, I thought it was “Phallics” and referred to some dodgy symbolism. David did become Unelected Master Falic but was unable to attend of late due to his health and David Cameron is now UMF.

Humour can be a personal thing but over all those years, we always opened and closed conversations in Goon Show style i.e. “Hallo Modern Min, Major Bloodknock here”.

I did not know of David’s love of Jazz, but that features in this service and will doubtless be the subject of thoughts during the silent reverie and at the OMT Clubhouse later.

Not being an effusive person who did not wear his heart on his sleeve, he probably did not tell his sons often enough just how proud of them he was, and not only sport wise but career and family too. I believe that they also really appreciated the great support they received from Mum and Dad. Sacrifices do have to be made. Parents and children can find it hard to tell each other how much they really appreciate each other – I certainly do.

Sue: you have been a great “other half” without whom David could not have achieved what he did. Witness the attendance here. We all know how much you have helped make it possible.

A final personal note. Gill and I thought it wonderful that you made it down to Cornwall for our 50th anniversary knowing how really unwell David was. Thank you.

Well, old friend after all these years, it’s cheerio Modern Min from Major Bloodknock.

Graham Prodger (1950-54)

The following are tributes, collected and collated by Philip Newfield, from David’s OMTCC team that he captained


Martin Johnson (1958-1963)

David was a quiet, unassuming good friend with a charming, dry sense of humour. He was a wise counsellor, a proof-reader par excellence (when I was involved with the News Sheet) and a superb captain of a strong, successful OMT 1st XI for approaching 10 years during the 1960s/70s - he had the ‘Brierley-esque’ knack of bringing out the very best in all of us.

The music played at his service of celebration in November 2019 was a poignant reminder of the days when David, the late John Eastcott, and I went to Craven Cottage to watch Fulham FC during perhaps their finest years when Rodney Marsh, Bobby Moore, and George Best were playing there, all in their twilight years maybe, but still a class above the rest.  The laughter-filled, post-match evenings were spent with our wives enjoying good food, wine, canasta and jazz.  Happy days!

David Cameron (1957-1963)

He was an astute captain on the cricket field and seemed to have an unerring ability to set a field to frustrate opposing batsmen. As a Falic, he sat quietly taking in the conversation and then when you thought he would not join in, he came out with a pithy comment that made everyone sit up and consider what they had said.

Peter Cameron (1959-1964)

Firstly: he cared! Amid all the mickey-taking and jesting which he could give as well as take, he could break through that with some careful and pertinent advice, which I have to admit, I needed when I became captain.

Secondly: I have this image of him standing/leaning at the bar at Durrants, when something tickled him, his controlled smile cracked open to a very broad grin and his shoulder started shaking. Miserable old b***** -hardly!

David Pollock (1971-1976)

I started playing for OMTs towards the end of David’s career.  He was still the regular ‘keeper, but no longer captain.  What I recall is the clarity of his advice about how I should be bowling.  He was direct, to the point of bluntness, but more insightful than any other OMT I played with.

Alan Williams (1957-1963)

I remember David primarily for his cricket; his captaincy was astute; and his wicket-keeping was immaculate, and he expected fielders to have the same standards. So, if one fell short of what he expected, and his standards were high, he would give one of those looks that said; “It must be better next time”. And it usually was.

Mike Grimsdick (1961-1966)

David was Captain of the First XI when I started to play for the OMTs, and I had only met him a couple of times as opposing captains in the match against the School.

He was kind and welcomed me into the team which I really appreciated, because I was finding my feet. Later when I was playing regularly, he always allowed me to put the fielders where I wanted as a bowler.....at least to begin with ..... and he always encouraged me. I really respected him both as a captain and someone that I looked up to.

Philip Newfield (1958-1963)

I wish no disrespect to other OMTCC captains, but David was the finest one under whom I played. Apart from his astute tactical appreciation of the game, I believe that the key to his success was his attitude to, and organisation of, our practice and preparation (known today as “training”). These intense sessions took place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and I believe resulted in our successful results in the matches that followed them.

He was fortunate that he had a very strong group of players, and the commitment he demanded meant that we made ourselves very regularly available for both practice and preparation, as well as match selection, knowing that if we did not do so, our place in the team was vulnerable.

Stewart Baker (1957-1962)

He was a really good captain of the 1st XI who quietly and modestly led the team, helped create and bond a really good and happy side, got the best out of all of us and was always there to offer encouragement – and solace when we failed! I can’t remember one nasty comment from him.

He also represented the OMTs very well with visiting teams and helped make Durrants a place they enjoyed coming too.

A really good man, a very capable cricketer, and an excellent ‘keeper who never dived across me at first slip despite what must always have been the temptation to do so!

Trevor Sparling (1961-1965)

David Smee.  What to say about a friend?

From my very first game for OMT's David was always prepared to offer advice, help, and encouragement.  At times much needed!

A memory from 50 years ago: David and myself were in the middle of the pitch having just beaten Bradfield Waifs in our very first Cricketer Cup game.  I will never forget the look on David's face which was partly joy at winning, but mainly a look of absolute relief that we had not lost.  Those who were there that day will remember why.

Chris Hirst (1958-1965)

The Cricketer Cup games were some of the most enjoyable I have ever played in, chiefly because of David's leadership. There was a disciplined, formidable, and determined approach, but always complete with a quip and even a smile sometimes! It was cricket at its very best and there was always Sue at the boundary edge to sympathise with all of us!

Ted Wiles (1946-1953)

I first got to know David well when we were teammates in the 1953 School 1st XI. Even then, he began to display those qualities that were to define his later cricket career. He was not a spectacular wicket keeper, but was a good team man who just got on with the job, a minimum of fuss and maximum of effect. There was nothing flashy about his cricket and perhaps as a result his talents took some time to be recognised.

After School, we had several years together in The OMT 1st XI and I cannot remember playing with a wicket keeper who made fewer errors. This attribute combined with his astute cricket brain made him an asset to all bowlers and captains with whom he played. My last full season for OMTCC was 1963 before moving permanently to Sydney, so I did not play much under his captaincy. However, later in the few games I did, I admired his cricket nous, his all-inclusive cricket attitude and the obvious respect in which he was held not only by his own team but also by his opponents.

David and Sue were great assets to OMTCC and on my returns to England, I will miss catching up with David and reminiscing about the Golden years at Durrants. David fully deserved the respect in which he is held and will be missed by all of us who knew him.

Adrian Hawkes (1960-1965)

David Smee was the successful and long serving captain of the OMT First XI cricket when, as one of the lesser players, I first played for OMT First XI c 1970. I found him then and still find him now the best captain I ever played under - unflappable, gracious to opposition and always helpful to his own players. I never once saw him lose his temper, shout at his own players or sledge the opposition. He congratulated those who did well and always had a perceptive kind word after the game for those who had not.

Speaking to him only a couple of years ago, he reconfirmed that he played just under 1000 First XI games over more than 20 years and he always had one bit of advice for medium or fast bowlers; all he wanted was for them to pitch just short of a length one stump’s width outside off stump. Swing and cut were fine but that consistency would always get wickets - a maxim applied later to great effect by Glenn McGrath.

David Smee taking a very fine catch for OMT in a Sunday match at Durrants against Welwyn Garden City 31st August 1980


Tribute to David Smee from Tony Wright (1950-1957)

David and Sue have always been great supporters of OMT social events at Durrants and Sandy Lodge. Many of us have also enjoyed his company for so many years at the Falics lunches. The music at his memorial service reflected his love of jazz and included recordings by his fellow OMTCC player, John Eastcott. It is also not a coincidence that some of the very pleasant evenings which Gill and I, together with Graham and Meg Kimber, have shared with Sue and David until very recently were pub sessions of the Dixieland jazz band led for decades by David Jones OMT.

Graham Prodger’s tribute and the memories from David’s teammates assembled by Philip Newfield recall his years as a player and outstanding captain of the OMTCC 1st XI. As has been mentioned, David also did so much for the OMT cause “off the pitch”. With sons Anthony and Jonathan at the School, he was founder and first chairman of the Longstops cricket supporters group. For OMTCC, he was the organiser for a number of seasons of the very successful Colts section, including in 1984 when they won all four Middlesex County titles. He was made an Honorary Life Member of the Club.

On a personal basis, never having reached the exalted 1st XI level of OMTCC myself, it was not until the later years of the Veteran’s XI in the mid-1990s that I was able to directly share and enjoy the experience of his captaincy. However, we had somewhat earlier been fellow members of the OMT Sunday Soccer team.

David served for some years on the OMT Society Committee in his role as Chairman of the School Liaison Committee and in 1995 was elected a Vice-President of the OMT Society.

He will be well remembered by so many of us.


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