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Jaron Semper, 1970 - 2024

Jaron Semper, 1970 - 2024

Nick Friend20 Feb - 22:59
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A tribute from Evan Flowers to a modern-day North Midd legend, who has passed away at 53

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the sudden and tragic loss of North Midd's much-loved West Indian showman and club icon, Mr Trevor Jaron Semper. "Sempi" aka "the badman", "the warden" or "the singing plumber" was one of the most charismatic and talented cricketers ever to grace Park Road. He tragically passed on Friday morning after a short battle with sepsis.

Semper joined The Midd in 2007 at the recommendation of Alex Hill and Frankie David (a former North Midd first-teamer and the West Indian "BIWI" cavaliers manager), continuing a proud tradition of elite West Indian players to have played at Park Road, including Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and many others. Semper joined us in the latter stages of his career, having captained his country, Montserrat and featuring in the infamous Stanford T20 Super Series in multiple years – he once joked that his $10,000 prize award from Alan Stanford for "play of the day" was all spent by midnight on matchday, which was a much better return than having an account at Stanford's bank!

Jaron made 94 appearances for North Middlesex between 2007 and 2017 and was one of the Middlesex league's best allrounders in this period, taking 172 career wickets at 15.85 at an economy of 2.85, with best figures of 7 for 53, coupled with some memorable and belligerent displays with the bat – the best being a savage 99 in 2010, a season in which he scored 388 runs at an average of 35.27. Players across the league will vividly remember his raw power and attacking flair with the bat, as well as his skilful, unrelenting off-breaks and cutters which made him one of the Middlesex league's talismen (many would say mascot as he was partial to entertaining crowds).

His contribution to the modern success of North Middlesex and its vibrant social culture cannot be overstated. Sempi was a key player in the club's two championship promotion seasons in 2007 and 2013 which paved the way for the club's last decade of Premier League success. Despite being deep into his 40s when The Midd returned to the Premier League, Sempi was able to defy his age and turned matches on their head, often targeting and dismissing gun players with his masterful bowling and, of course, his trademark singing and outlandish celebrations at the fall of a wicket.

Sempi's unique style mixed the best traditions of combative Caribbean flair with a laid-back style of showmanship that became the stuff of legend, not only at North Middlesex, but across the league. Who could forget his unique batting preparation in his Mr Vegas plumbing van, his comical shirtless commando rolls and Balotelli flexes at the fall of a wicket, or the use of his cricket spikes as a mobile phone to dial the operator and dutifully inform them that the dismissed batsman was no longer able to answer the call (the most memorable of these was Ollie Wilkin after hitting Jaron into Ealing Broadway only to be trapped LBW in front next ball…cue the music).

On more than one occasion, the opposition bowler had to pause in their approach because Jaron was still on one knee holding the pose from the previous boundary stroke, even after the match had paused for the retrieval of the ball and play had resumed. A truly extraordinary scene. As much as opposition teams may not have appreciated being on the receiving end of these antics at times, invariably opponents of all kinds ended up chuckling to themselves at his ridiculous routines. Sempi had a huge heart and brought much joy to many people's Saturday afternoons across London over many years.

He had a rare gift of making friends out of his adversaries, and he always appreciated opponents that played entertaining cricket and tried to force a result – he was often heard from fine leg providing instructions to batsmen blocking out draws: "Artist – we got no time for draws here!" Sempi's infectious personality and passion for cricket – and fire-water at fine leg – helped to create the production line of fun-loving, attacking and gregarious cricketers that North Middlesex is renowned for, some of whom have gone on to play the game at higher levels, ensuring that Sempi's legacy of fun and passion for Caribbean music can be heard wafting from the balconies of the Lord's pavilion and other famous county grounds on suitable occasions.

It takes a special man to single-handedly influence the vernacular and musical tastes of hundreds of people. Semper's infectious legacy of music, fun and passion for cricket runs through the veins of all who played with him. Jaron was a proud West Indian, a proud Middie, and most of all, a proud husband and father. He is survived by his wife Mikella and children Bevincia, Javincia, Jaron and Jarden who remain part of our North Midd family. We'll never forget him.

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