Nuggsy, this one's for you!
Fri 02 Nov 2018 
Club news item
 

On Friday 2 November 2018, Pacific players of past and present attended James "Nuggsy" Gleadow's funeral at the Golders Green Crematorium, where Jon Webley, who debuted in the 2005 season along with Nuggsy, read out the following eulogy to a packed house: 

 

"This one's for you, Nelson!" 

"Why’s that?" I ask.

"The 200-year anniversary of the battle of Waterloo."

"Eh?!" I said as I watched the ball hurtle towards a bemused-looking batsman.

This was not the first time and definitely would not be the last. This seemingly eccentric bowler appeared to have the ability to tie his intrepid love of history and sporting enthusiasm, ensuring that every ball he bowled became an event.

As I stood at mid off, in the long grass of Wray Crescent, I thought to myself: who is this chap who can land a ball on a sixpence and could, in the words of Tom Ireland, bamboozle many an opponent?

I first met James way back in 2005, and we were both excited to be joining a friendly and welcoming north London team known as Pacific CC. He made his "first-class" debut at the Wilf Slack ground, a stone's throw away in Finchley, where he effortlessly removed the top four batsmen, immediately making his mark on the Pacific history books. James would go on to add another 347 wickets to his tally at an impressive average of 17.

There were so many tributes paid to James from his teammates and opponents alike. Bookish, determined, exuberant celebrator, fierce competitor, team player, is to name but a few.

James was unique and a true cricket man, with his Wisden under his arm, he was always first to arrive and last to leave, always willing to do whatever it took from a team perspective.

This was not only the case on match days. It was clear to see that Pacific had become part of his extended family. From his passionate political debates with Islington council to save cricket at Wray Crescent, to his unwavering support, mentoring and coaching of a young Luke Hollman who he was incredibly proud to see go on to represent England in the Under-19 World Cup.

The first time we encountered James away from the cricket field was at the annual pool tournament at the Tufnell Park Tavern and it was clear to see that his unerring accuracy and steely determination was going to be our downfall that night. After watching us indulge in one too many pints of the Tavern's finest ales, James’s now legendary, Steve-Davis approach to pool playing, earned him the name Nuggsy, or, as Smithy called him, the Golden Nugget.

Nuggsy continued his reign of terror over us, completing the double at the pool tournaments and later following with victory in the ten-pin bowling tournament.

It was clear to me at this point that I had not only met a true cricketer and sportsman, but had made a true friend. We spent time together on tour in Spain, France and Dorset, the latter tour of which he arrived on by bike, from London, which became an increasingly common occurrence.

Nuggsy, we often argued about who would bowl from the top end, to which you rarely minded conceding to bowl up the hill and into the wind. Well today and every day after this, your bowling marker will always be at the top end.

All I can say is well played, Nuggsy. This one's for you!

 

Other tributes to Nuggsy from his teammates can be read here