Tribute by W.H.P. Comben
J.S.G. (Jack) Stone first played for the Triangle in the 1931 season, shortly after leaving the old St. George's School in Reforne. Joining the Triangle he, with the writer, played for the Second XI, batting at numbers 10 and 11. On one occasion against a naval team, Titania, we put on 23 for a last wicket partnership, winning the match. The runs were scored mainly in singles. Jack's share was 16, his partner 6 and 1 bye. He was then no more than 15 years of age.
This Second XI in 1931-32 were teams not to be treated lightly, beating several senior teams, both in the league and county competitions. All through this period Jack's contributions would be in the 20-60 category. This young side later formed the nucleus of the fine Triangle sides of the later 1930's.
Without doubt their greatest triumph was in 1932 when they defeated their own senior team. This defeat cost the First XI the Evening League Championship. This was no mean feat when the First XI consisted of such players as Bert Moon (Capt.), E. White, A.C. Savage, Rev. Hurley, R.S. Skinner, J.W. Read, A. Atherton, R.H.E. Morgan and W.S. Wiles - a team of Triangle giants. Such ability had to be recognised and in a matter of two seasons the two youngsters who batted at numbers 10 and 11 found themselves as opening bats for the First XI under the Captaincy of the late Harry Tompkins.
From this period Jack went from strength to strength, scoring his first century of 123* early in the 1933 season against Weymouth Co-Optimists. This was the first century by any Triangle player. Also it is only fair to say that up to this period, only the wicket was cut short, the grass being midway to the knees before midsummer. It was difficult even to hit a four.
Many more centuries (7) were to follow in this period up to the war. Probably the highlight of his career was the 153 he scored against Westham in the Evening League, 1951 (see report below). This record still stands. What about it Melvyn? [Webmaster note: Melvyn went on to beat this score hitting 157 against London and Manchester Assurance Co. in 1981] It is ironic that against the same team a short time later he was out for a "duck" - bowled by a bowler named Stone - Greek v Greek - That's Cricket.
I believe I am reading his mind when I say Jack had his own special theory about scoring runs. On arrival at the crease and taking guard he always took first strike. He would attack almost from the first ball. His theory was if you attacked and dominated bowlers 1 and 2, then later bowlers would be comparatively easy. This theory is of course open to criticism. What would Boycott and Tavaré say to that?
With Jack Stone the theory was indeed successful. With ability far above the average, a good pair of eyes, a sturdy frame, a muscular pair of arms and a steely determination, the runs flowed from his bat. Equally successful was he at second slip. The hands that could clutch a football from under the crossbar at Grove Corner (Western League), Weymouth Rec. (Southern League) or Dean Park (Wartime Football League) could easily pick up a ball going towards him in the slips, like a boy plucking apples from a tree - we called him "Buckets".
Indeed right up to the outbreak of war, Jack was the scourge of all bowlers. A well-known Weymouth bowler of that period told me quite recently that Jack was vulnerable between bat and pad in the first two overs - "If you didn't get him then - he got you". This opinion was also held by A.C. Savage - no mean bowler himself - and who always attacked Jack's leg stump, apparently with little success.
At the outbreak of war in September 1939, Jack, after playing for Bournemouth F.C. in the Football League, joined the RAF. The runs still flowed with many fine innings including at least 4 centuries for different RAF teams. No doubt he also played football. Soon after the cessation of hostilities in 1945, Jack joined the Prison Service and played for the Borstal Officers. Playing for this strong side which also included brother Ralph and the late Jack Townsley, both former Triangle players, he still scored runs, adding at least 8 centuries to his total of "tons".
One of the few occasions he played for the Triangle during this period he scored a century against Kingston Park at Dorchester. This was probably his last century for the club (1953).
There is however another occasion well remembered at The Grove when playing for the Borstal Officers C.C. against the Triangle in the County Cup. A great shout of joy went up from the spectators when Jack Sansom bowled him for a comparatively low score. They know Jack Stone only too well. By this time he had also developed into, and was acknowledged as, "a very fine bowler", taking wickets for the Borstal Club. Even as late as the early Sixties he was scoring runs for The Verne Officers C.C. approaching 50 years of age.
After a long and nostalgic conversation with him, the following figures were ascertained (these are minimum figures):
On behalf of the Triangle and as [then] President, thank you Jack for the many hundreds of runs you scored and for the great pleasure you gave to those vociferous spectators "under the wall".
Your earliest opening partner,