Hornsey Cricket Club pay tribute to team legend Johnny Bruce

Hornsey cricket club

Johnny Bruce (Manager), Will Chataway, Tom Waine, captain Jack Bruce, wicketkeeper Dempster Fawden, Cormac Haughton and coach Michael Philipson. Front row: Ben Waine, Will Ross, Dan Marshall, George Colley, Joe Macadam and George Croton - Credit: Hornsey cricket club

Johnny Bruce, a popular figure in north London sporting circles, has died just one short of 1,000 games for Hornsey Cricket Club. 

On moving to Crouch End in 1986, Johnny joined the nearest cricket club, which turned out to be Hornsey CC. Over 999 games (second in the club’s history), Johnny scored 19,419 runs (second all-time) and took 886 wickets (twelfth all-time). 

With the bat, Johnny was free flowing and direct. He scored 15 centuries with a highest score of 200 not out against Leverstock Green II in 1992. He also hit a club record 44 sixes in 1993.

With the ball, Johnny bustled in off ten paces. He liked to open the bowling and usually had to have the ball prised from his grasp fifteen or twenty overs later. 

Johnny became the club’s first official historian and in 2015 published a monumental Hornsey Almanack, which runs to 1,574 pages over two volumes. 

Adrian Fawden, Hornsey CC chairman, said: “Everyone’s shocked that Brucey’s no longer with us. Hundreds of players have called from around the world. All of them had wonderful stories of someone who was as fun and generous off the field as he was competitive on it.”

Chris Waite, Hornsey CC president, said: “Umpiring Jonathan was a nightmare. He appealed for everything and, because he knew the Laws better than anyone, argued for longer. He was also the hardest working, most loyal club member and friend you could wish to have.”

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For all his success on the field, Johnny was proudest of Hornsey Colts team he managed. They were together for well over 100 games, winning everything in sight from the Middlesex Gubby Allen Cup as under 10s in 2009 to the Middlesex Under 19 Cup in 2018. 

Johnny also played squash at Coolhurst Tennis and Squash Club, real tennis at Middlesex University and golf at North Middlesex GC. 

A near photographic memory made him unrivalled in his knowledge of subjects as diverse as Crouch End and Hornsey local history; Hornsey cricket club; the J.F.K. assassination; Miles Davis; the Grateful Dead; the London Underground; Newcastle United F.C.; Panerai watches; Thelonius Monk; Wisden Cricketers’Almanack 1864 to the present day, and Woolacombe tide tables.

Johnny grew up in Seaton Sluice, Northumberland. Sporty - intelligent and promoted a year at school. He went to Newcastle RGS and then to Sheffield University before training for a career in tax accounting, becoming a partner at Lewis Golden in 2008.

Johnny died on December 13, aged 56. He is survived by his wife Jane, two sons Jack and Joe, brother Chris and sister Joanne.