Former Selkirk cricket star believed killed by shark

Bryn Martin. Shark attack. {played for Selkirk cricket club in 1974)
Bryn Martin. Shark attack. {played for Selkirk cricket club in 1974)

A FORMER Selkirk cricketer regarded as one of the best players ever seen at the club is believed to have been killed in a shark attack in Australia.

Bryn Martin has been missing since he went for his regular morning swim at Perth’s Cottesloe Beach on October 10.

Shark experts say the 64-year-old’s torn swimming bathers – which have been recovered – show damage consistent with that which a great white shark would cause.

And, this week, Mr Martin has been fondly remembered by former team-mates, opponents and officials at the Border Cricket League club.

George Reid played alongside the Australian when he was appointed Selkirk Cricket Club’s overseas professional in 1974 and has remained close friends ever since, even staying with the father-of-two businessman in Perth on his honeymoon with wife Ann.

He said he was shocked to hear of his pal’s disappearance.

Mr Reid said: “I have kept in touch with him ever since he played for Selkirk and have visited him in Australia several times.

“Myself and my wife even had our honeymoon there 24 years ago.

“He went swimming in the sea every Sunday morning with his friends and then had his breakfast.

“My daughter noticed a tribute page to Bryn on Facebook on Monday and we left a message of condolence.

“It was a real shock when I heard – you do not expect one of your friends to die in such circumstances.”

Mrs Reid added: “It is horrendous – we cannot come to terms with it. It is like something you would read in a fictional book.”

Mr Martin arrived in Selkirk with wife Dianne and six-month-old son Alistair, and lived in the County Hotel before moving to a house in Raeburn Place.

Mr Reid described his friend as a popular figure in the town during the 1974 season, excelling both as a player and coach.

The trophy for the club’s best young player that year was named after him, as well as a cricket tournament for Borders primary schools.

Mr Reid told TheSouthern: “He was a very good all-round cricketer. He took 90 wickets and made 920 runs while he played for us, but unfortunately we lost a lot of close matches and didn’t win anything.

“Bryn was an absolutely great guy. He did a lot of hard work in all the schools teaching cricket.”

His 1974 performance was described by the then Selkirk CC chairman Elliot Dryden at the club’s end of season dinner as the best all-round record produced by a player, amateur or professional, ever connected with the club.

Former Gala CC player Kenny Allan paid tribute to his former club rival, who was on the verge of appearing for Western Australia before picking up an injury.

Mr Allan told us: “He was probably the best professional Selkirk had.

“He opened the batting and was a really good player and scored a few runs against Gala. He was also an excellent coach.

“His record speaks for itself.”

Mr Martin returned to Selkirk on a couple of occasions, including a visit to see youngest son Craig, who stayed with the Reids and turned out for St Boswells Cricket Club in 1995 as a 17-year-old bowler.

Eldest son Alistair told reporters in Perth last week that his father was a “great person”.

He said: “He loved his morning swim and was aware and accepted the risks associated with ocean activities. There will be be a lot of people who’ll miss him.”

Cottesloe Beach was closed for two days following Mr Martin’s disappearance, with shark scientist Rory McAuley adding: I am nearly 100 per cent certain that the damage I saw with the gentleman’s bathers was caused by a shark”. And it was most probably a great white.

Despite extensive searches, Mr Martin’s body has still not been found, but the presumed attack is the third shark fatality along the Western Australian coast in 13 months, with a large shark reportedly spotted 200m off a different Perth beach two days later.

Grant Kinghorn of Selkirk CC added: “The club’s book shows he was the first professional at Selkirk since before the Second World War.

“The club never won anything that year, but he did return to play in a veterans’ game against Hillhead in the mid-1990s.

“Everyone at Selkirk Cricket Club pass on their condolences to his family.”