It was with a desperately heavy heart that Calmore Sports learned of the passing of a true legend, not only of our club but of local sport across the area.

David John Chandler, always and forever known as ‘Chick’, passed away following a long battle with illness on 15 January 2023.  He was 81.

Chick first came to Calmore in the early 1960s, appearing to watch the first XI play at King George V Playing Fields with his good friend Denny Croll.  They would often turn up just after tea, have some banter with all around and would soon become regular faces around the perimeter and afterwards at the Testwood Hotel.

It wasn’t until 1965 that Chick turned his interest to playing and he would become a regular member of the team, whether it was Saturday XI, Sunday XI or the various knock-out competitions the side played.

To quote his long-time friend and current club President Steve Brandes, “It was a tribute to his talent that he retained his place in the team just for his keeping because his efforts with the bat at number 11 were the subject of great hilarity to his teammates.”

By his own admission, he was a truly hopeless batsman!

He was at his most comfortable down at number 11 where he averaged just 4.33 in the league with a top score of 7 – in the clubs’ first ever Hampshire League game in 1974 against Chandler’s Ford although he did find himself at number 10 later in the season and scored an undefeated 9!

It was, though, behind the sticks where he truly excelled, often standing up to the stumps to all bar the very quickest Calmore had to offer.  He still holds the club first XI league record for most dismissals in a season – 21 catches and 2 stumpings in 1978 – a record he shares with Stuart Bailey, who matched his 23 in 1989, albeit in two more matches.

A seventeen-year playing career came to an end in 1981, lifting several trophies along the way, including the league title in 1974 and a plethora of cup wins in the Southampton Parks, Sidney Wyatt, and Romsey Advertiser Knockouts.

Upon hanging his keeping gloves up, he would becoming the club’s regular first team umpire – another role he excelled in.  “He was one of the fairest I have come across, only giving a batsman out if he was absolutely certain,” regales the President.

“Us bowlers used to despair of ever getting a decision out of him but batsmen know they were out if he gave them!”.

Chick would be recognised by being made a Vice President following his retirement from his on-field positions, a truly deserved honour for some 30 years of service.

His legend would not only be limited to his time at Calmore Sports though – he was also a very fine footballer, plying his trade with AFC Totton in Hampshire Division One (which would be the equivant of today’s Southern League) in his late teens before going across the Solent to join Cowes for a few years … “where the expenses were very good,” said one of our contributors.

A return to Totton came in his mid-thirties and he would become their manager, heading up a team which contained many of his old team-mates at KGV – Ben Lyon, Bob Willcocks, Tufty Taylor and Terry Chilcott to name but a few.

A period of success would lead him to become Brockenhurst FC’s manager where he would win the Division One league title in 1976 by a point ahead of Sholing Sports.

Chick would also be a regular on the Sunday football circuit as well, playing for Totton Wanderers in the Southampton Premier League where he won the League Senior Cup and Hampshire Cup on many occasions.

The Wanderers were attached to the Testwood Hotel – a place Chick would also frequent on a regular basis – and the Calmore links continued as he would be playing alongside the likes of Lyon, Taylor, Chilcott once more as well as Ron Merritt.

He would also be a regular in the Southampton Sunday Representative team playing against the likes of Portsmouth and Salisbury in the Inter-City Sunday Cup, which his Southampton side would win regularly.

A very good friend of his, in cricket and football, was his former Calmore captain and President Terry Chilcott and Chick’s passing brought back a number of memories for him.

“I seemed to spend most of my week on a sports field or in a bar somewhere with Chick, winter and summer!

“I have probably spent thousands of hours with him over the years and, even from a young age, I found him a terrific friend and a pleasure to be with.  The stories are endless!”, he said.

“I have known him for over sixty years, and it is so very sad to have lost him.”

President Steve Brandes also remembers his short time with him on the playing field but a long association off it.

“My knowledge of Chick as a cricketer came when I joined the club in 1978 towards the end of his career.  He was still a brilliant gloveman even in his final days.

“He then became an umpire, but it was off the field where he continued to be an active friend to and supporter of the club.

“His practice was to appear in the latter part of a Saturday league fixture, arm himself with a beer or two before moving on the Bacardi and Coke!

“At the conclusion of the match, he would install himself in his usual position at the end of the bar, swap banter with the bar staff and take the mickey out of the players from both sides.

“But he would also regale all present with his usual stories, most of which we’d heard a dozen times before.  Eventually he would pour himself into a taxi and repair to the Testwood, his second spiritual home.

“I can only agree with Terry’s comments about him.  He was a great friend and colleague to us both and to Calmore Sports Club and will be sorely missed by all who knew him but remembered with a huge amount of affection.”

Tributes and memories poured in across social media on the announcement of Chick’s passing.

Former captain and player Gary Stinson said “R.I.P Chick.  Lovely man, great company.  When he used to umpire for me, at the end of the game he always used to say ‘I will have a little Bacardi with you’.  Very, very sad, top man.”

Another player from yesteryear, Paul Hoskins, had dual memories of him.  “Very sad day, so many memories, at Calmore and Brockenhurst.  The legendary thumb and index finger, indicating ‘just a single’.  Great team-mate and football manager.  Proud to have lent you my bat Chick.  RIP mate!!”

Simon Lightfoot, another who experienced Chick in both his sporting facets added, “Totally gutted to hear this sad news.  What a legend you were, my dear friend.  I had the pleasure of working with you, playing cricket with you at Calmore, my manager at Brock and my friend at the bar.  RIP my dear friend.”

The final comments goes with long time club supporter Kelly Newman, the daughter of Martin, who summed it up perfectly. “What sad, sad news.  When you think of Calmore Cricket, you think of Chick.  He had the club running through his veins.

“Whether as a player, umpire, or a supporter, he at some point would always have the obligatory Bacardi and Coke in his hand and he was always such fun to be around.  An absolute legend who will be sorely missed.  R.I.P Chick xx”

Details of Chick’s funeral will be posted here when they are known.

David John Chandler.  Chick.  1941-2023.  Rest in Peace from everyone at Calmore Sports Club.