Almost one year to the day, Frederick Alan Franks, founder of Zug Cricket Club (1984), passed away at home in Australia after a short battle against cancer.
In conjunction with his daughter Elizabeth, Cricket Switzerland remembers one of the pioneers of Swiss cricket.
Fred (Frederick Alan) Franks was born in England on the 19th of March 1946. He was always interested in sports. Even as a young boy he started with athletics, and when spending his school years in Australia, he continued with athletics but also played cricket. With success! Soon cricket became his favourite sport.
When he came to Switzerland in 1972 (he married Ruth, a Swiss national, that year) he missed cricket and for a short while took up athletics again (runner-up in shot-put and javelin in Zug County
Championships for two years running).
He met some English people thanks to his job and found out about cricket being played in Zurich. He joined one of the clubs, but driving to the practices in the evening, was too far for him. So in 1984 during the summer holidays, he put an ad in the Zuger Amtsblatt (Zug being a location with a number of international companies), looking for cricket players interested in starting a club. Amazingly he received a good number of replies and the Zug Cricket Club was born with Fred being the first president. The team consisted of Swiss, English, Scots and Sri Lankan nationalities (John Lebe, Adrian Watney, Roger Sutton, Chris, Johann, Patrick Taylor, Malcolm and Michael de Silva).
Fred was the driving force, organising equipment and matches, preparing lunches: in short, when he was not working, he was “cricketing”.
Fred involved his family as well. On weekends, together with his family, Fred drove around central Switzerland looking for a suitable ground. They stopped at schools, football grounds and big open fields. Eventually the club was allowed to play on a ground on the Zugerberg. Fortunately, with the help of a friend, they found a sports ground in Obfelden, which became their home ground for many years.
Zug played in the Swiss League and at competitions in Zuoz and even travelled to Heidelberg/Germany. Fred also represented the Swiss national team playing in Berlin and Mata.
Fred was very keen to get Swiss youngsters interested in the game, so for two years (1990 – 1992) in the winter months he offered indoor cricket lessons in his village. He had hoped that other clubs would follow suit and so build the basis for junior matches. Regrettably at that time there were no takers.
Even after Fred left for England, Zug Cricket Club continued, spreading the spirit of the game with an annual family get-together - a Sunday packed with sport, fun and music!
Fred left Switzerland for England in 1996 and in 2010 went to Australia.
He continued to play cricket, still being one of the best bowlers in an over 60s club. He was active until about 5 months before his death on 4th February 2020.