Stephen Hunter Cosh 1920 - 2017

21 Mar

Cricket Scotland are saddened to hear of the passing of former Scotland Captain Stephen Cosh who died on 15th March at the age of 97. Stephen who was known as Hunter, played for Scotland between 1950 and 1959 and captained his country from 1956 to 1959. 

When Hunter was ten he was sent away to boarding school at Edinburgh Academy and soon got over his homesickness through the love of sport, especially rugby and cricket. He later became captain of the 1st cricket XI and at the age of 17 played fly half for the Scottish schools’ rugby team. 

After leaving school, Hunter started to train to become a lawyer whilst also being active with the Territorial Army having previously been head of the school’s Officer Training Corps. When the war broke out, Hunter volunteered for the army and at the age of 19 was commissioned as an officer in November 1939.

On 6th March 1942, he married Betty Naismith whom he had met at a sergeant’s dance in Callander, Perthshire while he was receiving mountain warfare training with the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

He saw action in France twice during the war. First in June 1940 with the second British Expeditionary Force before being evacuated from Cherbourg on the last ship to leave the port and secondly on D – Day plus six and up to the end of the war. He ended the war at the age of 25 with the rank of Major. Hunter received the MBE from King George VI for war services in the Normandy bridgehead.

By the end of the war, with a family to support, Hunter decided to give up his training to be a solicitor which only paid 10 shillings a week, and went into the grocery business of his grandfather Robert Wallace. He later became Managing Director of Robert Wallace Limited which had two well-known retail outlets in Ayr High Street which was a busy shopping centre in those days. 

Hunter resumed playing cricket for Ayr after the war as a wicketkeeper and hard hitting batsman. He also played for Ayr Rugby Club 1ST XV as fly half and full back. He would work in the shop on Saturday mornings then travel to afternoon games on his bicycle to the Old Racecourse in the winter and Cambusdoon in the summer. His achievements for Ayr Cricket Club included a score of 81 not out in 20 overs in Ayr’s Rowan Cup final win over Clydesdale in 1951. He also scored 142 in a Western Union match against Drumpellier at Cambusdoon (a ground record at the time). Hunter’s performances for Ayr soon earned him selection for the Scottish cricket team who he represented 42 times as wicketkeeper, batsman and latterly as Captain. 

His achievements for the Scottish cricket team included a top score of 99. In first class matches he once hit four sixes in an innings and on another occasion in the field took four catches during an innings. He scored a total of 873 runs for Scotland and his last match as captain before he retired was the Scottish cricket team’s first win ever over an English county. 

When Hunter gave up cricket he took up golf and was a member of Old Prestwick Golf Club and applying his competitive nature to golf, he got his handicap down to two. Once during a club knock out competition he birdied the first hole at Prestwick three times in the same day – the morning semi-final, the afternoon final and the final playoff hole! He later became Secretary of Prestwick Golf Club.

Throughout his life, Hunter maintained a keen interest in all of his family and was a constant source of helpful advice and support to his three children, seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. This included giving fielding practice to young grandchildren in his back garden at the age of 75 and also career advice to older grandchildren.

Hunter and Betty were able to celebrate their 75th Wedding anniversary on 6th March this year and on that day received a message from the Queen congratulating them on this remarkable achievement. Betty has provided much love and support throughout their 75 years of marriage and latterly nursed him through all his illnesses and for this he was very appreciative.

Hunter was a member of Ayr Baptist Church and was latterly cared for in Airlie House, which is part of Ayr Baptist Homes.

The funeral service will take place at Masonhill Crematorium, by Ayr, on Friday 24th March 2017 at 3.30pm, to which all family and friends are invited. Family flowers only.

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