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Bob Willis Passes Away

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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Wed 04 Dec 2019, 4:09 pm

Don't come to this site as often as I used to, but i had to comment after seeing the breaking news that Bob Willis has sadly died. Willis was a stalwart of both my own team of Warwickshire and England throughout the 1970s and 80s. A man who overcame injury and adversity to become one of the best fast bowlers of his generation. I can still remember, among numerous great performances, watching him on TV steaming in at Headingly in 81 to secure one of the most implausible victories in cricket history. He later captained England and went on to become a forthright commentator on the sport. RIP Big Bob.

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Post by Just John on Wed 04 Dec 2019, 4:13 pm

Yep, just seen Bob Willis has sadly passed away.

Willis bagged 325 wickets over his Test career. The cricket icon was fourth on the all-time list of England wicket-takers. Fantastic player, and loved his no-nonsense analysis on Sky.

RIP Bob rose

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 04 Dec 2019, 5:50 pm

RIP.

Back in 1981 the local cricket club in Wensleydale was full of kids running in to bowl, arm flapping behind their back.

Overcame a pretty boring voice to be a great TV pundit, always saying what he thought.

Will be missed.

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Post by king_carlos on Wed 04 Dec 2019, 6:48 pm

RIP Bob.

He sits alongside Trueman, Botham and Anderson as the best fast bowlers England have had since the war. He did so after having surgery on both knees as a 24-year old. Incredibly determination from a remarkable man.

A thoroughly entertaining personality as a pundit as well.

The BBC article today made me chuckle several times. Especially referencing him changing his name by deed poll to Robert George Dylan Willis due to him being a fanatical Bob Dylan fan.

He will be in fine company alongside Richie, Tony, Johnners, CMJ and Bearders that's for sure!

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Post by VTR on Wed 04 Dec 2019, 8:51 pm

A great player and saddened to hear of his passing. His playing days pre-date my watching days, but his stats are excellent and I've of course seen the footage of him steaming in like a man possessed at Headingley. Bowlers never get the credit they deserve, but that performance was as good as Botham's batting in that match.

As a pundit I quite enjoyed his curmudgeonly style, he was definitely better suited to analysing a bad England performance than a good one!

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Post by JDizzle on Wed 04 Dec 2019, 9:45 pm

Sad news. His spell at Headingley is one of the iconic spells in English cricket history. I was more familiar with his punditry, and his willingness to laugh at himself - despite his gruff image - and you never doubted his conviction of what he said!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 3:55 am

Strange, somewhat grudging obit by Matthew Engel in the Guardian, but much of that is how I remember the first part of his career. Missed "Headingly" and all his broadcasting career and probably forever underrated his playing achievements, don't think I ever voted for him into our Hall Of Fame.
Always amazed he played for RGS Guildford, but they were on our regular schools circuit at the time so extremely thankful I never had to face him.
Hate it when the good guys leave us.

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Post by alfie on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 10:11 am

Woke up this morning to this very sad news...

Always bad news to see anyone pass away early but some deaths of cricketers knock you around more than most : losing Bob Willis is one such for me. Always one of my favorite players (and we shared a love of Dylan ) Lot of memories of watching him live and on TV : the sensational 1981 effort of course but I recall also among others a five wicket haul at Melbourne on one of the rare "good days" for England in 1974/5...and who could forget him walking out to resume his innings after tea (against India , wasn't it ?) without his bat ...

RIP Bob.

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Post by Duty281 on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 10:26 am

Very sad and shocking news. He seemed in good health just a few months ago. One of the greats of English cricket.

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Post by guildfordbat on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 4:45 pm

Similarly, shocked and saddened. I had heard he was unwell but didn't appreciate the seriousness.

Probably fair to say, Bob Willis' ability and effectiveness as a bowler was undervalued by many. I for one was guilty of that when we first came to consider his nomination for our Hall of Fame, proposed in splendid fashion by Hoggy and totally appropriate it was he who started this tribute thread. However, what most got him my vote in the end and actually into the HoF (despite Kwini not being sure), was that at his retirement in 1984 he had taken more Test wickets than anyone in the history of our game other than Aussie all time great Dennis Lillee - hard to argue with the stat of his 325 scalps at that time.

As shown in his bowling and his punditry, Bob had his own style but always gave it everything and you can't say much better than that of anyone. That was also the case when I as a schoolboy and many others got his autograph one Sunday evening after a John Player League game. Before signing for anyone, he made us line up in a queue and then move forward one at a time!

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Wed 08 Jul 2020, 4:36 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0W42X9wl44

Not sure if this was posted anywhere - but Sky did a lovely programme during lockdown in tribute to Bob. The toast at the end will wobble your lip a bit!
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Post by king_carlos on Wed 08 Jul 2020, 5:43 pm

That was a lovely podcast, Olly. One of several that Sky did during lockdown. I might re-watch it this evening in fact!

By coincidence a lovely bloke came by my coffee shop today which is doing takeaway only currently. As things have naturally been quiet I had my laptop on the counter with the cricket on - well the rain delay filler anyway. The customer asked if I was getting the accounts sorted whilst it was quiet, sheepishly I turned the laptop round to show I was just being a lazy sod.

Turns out he's a big cricket fan and we ended up chatting for a fair while with Bob coming up. In particular his famous razor sharp barb about lazy sports journalism during a post match interview at which several of the writers/pundits he was clearly commenting on were present.

I hadn't realised how close Allot and Willis were I must say but Allot did a really good job of gluing that tribute together via video link. Despite having read an awful lot about Bob's career and the era he played in I never quite respected how much pain he played in until former teammates/opponents talked about it after his passing. Due to his stoic nature it wasn't something he spoke about at length himself.

A remarkable cricketer and person who showed immense bravery in the face of pain until the very end.

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