(54)  Geoffrey Arthur Copinger


(54) Geoffrey Arthur Copinger

Geoffrey Arthur Copinger was born in Buxhall on 19th December 1910, the son of Wilfred Herbert and Margaret Sarsfield Copinger.

After kindergarten school in Radlett he became a pupil of the Junior School of The Hall in Hampstead where his father was resident while teaching at the Senior school. He subsequently went to Haberdashers' Aske's Hampstead School.

He joined the staff of the National Bank where he served for 45 years retiring as Secretary of the Nominee Companies of the bank. During his career he held two positions to which no one else was ever appointed; Sports Officer and Superintendent of the Nominee Companies.

His war service started with the Rifle brigade and he was later commissioned in the Royal Army Service Corps. He was in the First Army which landed in North Africa and invaded Sicily and Italy.

While his career was in banking he became best known for his connections with the world of cricket an interest which had begun at preparatory school. He claimed to have little playing ability so concentrated on the statistical and collecting side of the game. He played for and later captained Wembley 4th XI insisting that that was because they had no 5th XI. Nevertheless he was captain of the National Bank's cricket team which was started after the war and represented them in the United London Banks Cricket Association, of which association he became Vice President in 1965.

He was also a member of a wide variety of cricket clubs and associations from the M.C.C., through Wombwell Cricket Lovers' Society, the two Cricket Societies of Scotland and Ireland, The Cricket Writers' Club and, quite aptly, the Association of Cricket Statisticians.

He became an individual member of the Minor Counties Cricket Association in 1964, Private Members' Representative on the Council of the Association of Cricket Umpires in 1970 and Irish delegate to the National Cricket Association in 1974. A founder member of The Cricket Society he was their Chairman from 1947 to 1953 playing for their side in the initial game in 1949 and then intermittently until 1973. He was elected an Hon.Vice President of the Club Cricket Conference in 1974 and President for 1976. In addition to his love of playing and watching the game Geoffrey always had a mathematicians interest in cricket averages. using a system of coloured inks to differentiate between clubs, green for County Championships, purple for non championships, centuries in red, etc., He built up a huge filing system of information about first class cricket. He said that the advent of the ball point pen was a great boon as was, initially, the purchase of an adding machine and later of course a pocket calculator.

His connection with The Press Association and Wisden began as long ago as 1934. Having kept records since 1926 he checked his results with those published in Wisden. Finding that they differed he wrote to the Editor of Wisden asking where he had gone wrong with his calculations. The reply was that in fact Geoffrey's figures were correct while the incorrect figures had been published. So began a long relationship with Wisden and an increasing level of responsibility towards checking the averages before publication. After his demob in 1946 he took over the job of keeping the Cricket Reporting Agency records section up to date in addition to supplying the English First Class averages used by most of the national press.

Geoffrey married Anne Theresa Hanniffy on 2nd March 1954. She declared a total lack of knowledge about cricket but her neatly written figures were most popular with the office staff and he always insisted that her invaluable help was given on the policy of "if you can't beat them, join them".

He left the records section in 1964 and in 1985 reduced his connection with the Press Association to that of a stand-in.

Geoffrey began collecting cricket books and memorabilia in 1926. Books dominated every room of his Hampstead home where they filled many glass fronted bookcases. Here, of necessity double banked to save space, they were arranged in orders of height the level and even the direction of the title on the spine. In the dining room they were also arranged in order of colour. He owned some 12,000 books reputedly the largest cricket library in private hands. He also owned many thousands of items of Cricketania. The curator at Lord's cricket ground would often refer knotty problems to him. The library was sold by private arrangement a little before his death for a reported, but widely believed to be an exaggerated, £250.000.

In early May 1998 he decided to visit Buxhall where he was born and where his sister still lived.

Geoffrey died there on 9th May 1998 aged 87.



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