Alan Rayment obituary

Sport

My friend Alan Rayment, who has died aged 92, played first-class cricket for Hampshire from 1949 to 1958. Subsequent roles led him to social work and counselling.

As a middle order batsman and an outstanding fielder, Alan had a relatively modest career record but was good enough to play in 199 matches for Hampshire. He was a member of the sides that finished third and then second in the County Championship in 1955 and 1958 – high water marks in the club’s history up to that point.

Known universally by the nickname Punchy, Alan was born in Finchley, north London, to Wennerloef (nee Carter), a milliner, and her husband, Samuel Rayment, a salesman of ribbons and velvet.

Alan went to Finchley grammar school during the second world war and then played cricket for Finchley, catching the eye of Hampshire when he appeared against them for Middlesex second XI in a match at Bournemouth. One of the finest performances of his career was an innings of 104 on a treacherous pitch in 1955 against Somerset at Weston-super-Mare, where most of the other players struggled to get any runs at all.

After cricket Alan taught English, history, scripture and games at Princes Mead prep school in Winchester and then set up his own estate agency in Southampton. He sold the business in 1965 and retrained at Westhill College in Birmingham to become a community worker.

That led to jobs in the 1970s as an assistant warden at Abbey community centre in Kilburn, a warden at Pollards Hill community centre in Merton (1971-74), and as a senior community worker and then senior social worker for West Sussex county council. From 1982 until 1993 he mainly worked as a self-employed psychotherapist and bereavement counsellor.

Over the past quarter-of-a-century we got to know each other through my work as the club’s historian, spending time at matches and talking most weeks on the telephone. He was always delightful company.

In 2013 his memories of his early life, as well as his cricketing career up to 1949, were published in an autobiography entitled Punchy Through the Covers. He was working on a follow-up volume, covering the years after 1949, when he died. Friends are planning to complete and publish it.

Alan’s first marriage, to Betty Griffin, with whom he had six children, ended in divorce in 1970, and his second marriage, to Joan De Torre, ended with her death in 2005. He is survived by his partner, Elizabeth Lloyd, his children, Denis, Valerie, Martin, Stephen, Angela and Peter, nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren.