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Max Eason

05 Mar 2024

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that the club announce the death of Max Eason.
Max passed away suddenly on Saturday aged 76 while out on a walk in the village of Brill where he lived.
To put it quite simply Max was 'Mr Horspath'.
A big man in stature and heart, he was a colossus of Horspath Cricket Club.
In an association spanning nearly 60 years, he was a player, 1st and 2nd XI captain, chairman, secretary, fixture secretary, welfare officer, groundsman, youth cricket manager and bar manager. He lived and breathed Horspath cricket.
Having grown up in Long Crendon, for whom he first played, and attended Lord Williams's School, Thame, Max joined the club in the 1960s while he was at Culham College training to be a teacher.
An opening batsman, whose trademark shot was a flashing square cut allied to a powerful cover drive, he started work at Wheatley Primary School before his occupation took him to Bermuda for a spell.
Returning to England after a couple of years, he was a key player in the Horspath side which enjoyed a golden era in the 1970s and early 1980s.
With Max racking up the runs in a successful opening partnership with the late Morris Honey, Horspath won eight Oxfordshire Cricket Association (OCA) Division 1 titles and six Airey Cups plus four Oxfordshire Area finals in the National Village Cup.
The successes in the 1980s also came under his inspirational captaincy after he took over from David Cummings.
A further Airey Cup triumph followed with David Venn skipper in 1988 before Max produced a man-of-the-match innings of 114 to steer Horspath to a seven-wicket win over Sandford St Martin in the final of the prestigious OCA competition at Chipping Norton in 1991.
It was Horspath's last year in the OCA before joining the Trinity League, and a fitting way to bow out with Max, who was also a leading figure on the OCA Executive Committee for many years, the star of the show.
Speaking about that ton for an article published on the 'Path Past section on this website four years ago, he said: "I played a lot better innings than that when I got 100. The innings I remember most, though, was getting 90-odd against Aston Rowant in the Village Cup Final. That was my best innings, I think, when we sneaked in by one wicket. It was certainly the most satisfying."
An effective medium pace bowler and superb slip catcher, he went on to captain the 2nd XI in the 1990s when, as a great advocate of youth cricket, he focussed very much on integrating young players into senior cricket.
Among those youngsters were his three sons, Alex, Robbie and Will, who all went on to become successful players for the club with the latter two also playing for Oxfordshire.
As was his way, Max tended not to praise them that often. In fact, he was more likely to tell them where they were going wrong, but deep down, along with his wife, Sandra, he was immensely proud of their achievements.
Off the field, there wasn't an area of the club he wasn't involved in. He was chairman for a spell in his late twenties, taking over from Norman Bowley, and had been on the committee ever since.
When the club reformed following the ill-fated merger with Oxford, he became secretary, adding to his role of fixture secretary, which he had held for many years.
He was the driving force behind the club's rise back up the Cherwell League to be promoted to the Home Counties Premier League.
And there was no-one happier than Max when Horspath ended a 42-year wait to once again be crowned Oxfordshire Area champions in the Village Cup in 2021 - a success the side would repeat last year.
He was also a leading light in the development of the club's facilities.
These included the clubroom, which underwent a major redevelopment in 2013/14, and was fittingly named in his honour when it was opened.
In his later years, when not behind the bar, he would watch the matches in his white sun hat while sat at a table in front of the clubroom with pint in hand. 
Max's outstanding service to Horspath was recognised by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2018.
He received a 'Coach of the Year' award from Graham Thorpe, the former England batsman and then his country's lead batting coach, during a one-day international between England and Australia at the Kia Oval. The award recognised exceptional work and contribution within the local community through the development and administration of coaching at a grass roots level.
Only last September his work at Horspath was recognised again, this time by the Oxfordshire Cricket Board with a lifetime achiever award made to an individual who has given many years of service to their club or community group.
And all the time he was either playing cricket, working on the Recreation Ground or on the bar, he was supported throughout by Sandra, who was always at games watching him and their sons play or dropping Max off and picking him up from the club.
A hugely generous character, Max embodied the friendly nature of the club and its social spirit, always giving visitors the warmest of welcomes.
His post-lunch speeches on Feast Day - an occasion he held close to his heart - became the stuff of legend.
With his dry sense of humour and great wit, he would have those gathered in the Village Hall rolling about with laughter and often asking each other: 'Did he really just say that!'
Some people are irreplaceable - Max was one of those people. His passing leaves a massive void at Horspath, but he also leaves a massive legacy.
Farewell to Horspath's commander-in-chief.