Remembering 'Rocky' Regan - one of greatest at Congresbury CC
PUBLISHED: 17:00 08 August 2019
Michael 'Rocky' Regan is one of Congresbury Cricket Club's biggest names, having been involved with the club for 52 years.
Regan led the Somerset club to unprecedented success and, with today (August 8) marking 13 years since he passed away, he is still remembered fondly by former teammate and friend Colin King and sister Mary Regan.
He was very special," said King. "We won the Bristol & District Premier Division three times, Somerset Lnockout and Bristol & District Knockout all under Michael Regan and I was lucky enough to play in all of them."
Regan was born in London as the youngest of four children on August 21, 1938, before moving to Ireland and ended up in Congresbury after his dad wanted to find a safe place in the countryside to escape the horrors of the Second World War.
Having taken up cricket at an early age, Mary recalls throwing tennis balls for him to bat outside the house but after starting to play for Congresbury at the age of 16, it wasn't until a year later on August 6, 1956, when Mike made his mark and picked up nine wickets for eight runs in a match against Wells City.
"It was when he was really quite young," said Mary. "He only really just started playing for the club. It was a home match, Wells were in Congresbury, my mother was doing the tea and someone every now and again said 'there's another one down, there's another one down' and someone in the village shouted out 'what did you put in that tea Mrs Regan?'
"That was the start of his particular cricket career but I think the more important aspect is what he did for the club and what they won in the time he was captain and then what he did for the young people of the club and then for the young people of Somerset because he trained the young teams of Somerset."
Former opening batsman King added: "It's thanks to people like Mike Regan, the club was drifting apart, players were getting old from the war and Michael came along and lifted it right up.
"He was a top player in his heyday, he was a very quick bowler and his captaincy - he had no favourites.
"Some argued for a little while - they soon shut up - one or two got heaved and that was it.
"Michael was captain, he was straight, honest and a hard man but he was a genuine man."
On April 10, 1973, members of Axbridge Ladies Guild, the Cheddar Mums' Night Out group as well as skittles players from Wrington and Congresbury were on a plane when it crashed near Hochwald in Switzerland.
Out of 137 people on board, 108 people would sadly lose their lives and Mary Regan reveals how Mike offered to go over and help.
"He went down and identified any bodies which they couldn't identify because he knew all the people who were on the planes because most of them were villagers," she said.
"He was a community-minded person and willing to do things. If things were necessary he would be willing do them to help them and the fact that he had the ability to do it.
"Sometimes people often want to do things which they aren't able to do but Michael had ability to do it as well and the concern for people to do it."
King said: "He went over and done what he could, he identified a couple and he was a good man, a very good man."
Regan qualified as a senior cricket coach in 1982 becoming a youth team coach for the Somerset Cricket Association between 1985-96 and then youth team manager between 2004-6 coaching a young Jos Buttler.
"It's very important," added Mary Regan on coaching Buttler.
"It just means his coaching certificates weren't wasted and he coached what appears to be an international cricketer and a World Cup winner too."
'Rocky' would live up to the age of 67 where he died of cancer and King, who lives just around the corner from where he is buried at St Andrew's Church, says he still misses him.
"I miss a very great friend in Michael Regan, because he was a genuine guy who did a lot of good for a lot people," he said.
"Michael will always hold a special place in my memory,"
Mary added: "He also left some money to the cricket club in his will and so they bought the electric scoreboard."
King added: "You'll never see the likes of him again, (he was) well respected throughout the Weston district. He was a legend and not only for the village but cricket in general through the whole of Somerset."