Dorset Cricket Society

Résumé of events 2016-17










Chris Finch & John White

27 members gathered for the 1st meeting of the new season. The EGM business of approving the accounts was swiftly dispatched. The remainder of the time was spent discussing the season just past, ably led by Chris Finch (a man of Kent) and John White (Hampshire's announcer at the Ageas Bowl). Unsuprisingly, the controversy over Hampshire's late reprieve and Durham's demise was foremost in the discussion. The addition of Kent into the mixing pot added extra spice! Another topic to get a considerable airing was the proposals for the new T20 competition. Local cricket was also discussed, it was noted how many teams from outside the county played in the Hampshire League!




Alastair Hignell

39 members gathered for the 2nd meeting of the season to hear the sad news that Leo Harrison, Hampshire W/K, had passed away this week. Leo came to a Society meeting with Jimmy Gray back in the early days.
We then had an excellent afternoon listening to Alastair Hignell. He signed for Gloucestershire when he was 18 and waiting to go up to Cambridge University. At Uni he was 1st XI Captain of both the cricket and rugby sides, the first person to hold both those positions. He also joined Bristol rugby club and found his way into the 2nd XI due to the 3-day week!. From there he progressed to the 1st XI, before England came calling with the 1st of 14 international caps. However Alastair mainly talked about his cricket career and the experience of playing with batsmen like Mike Proctor and Zaheer Abbas, relating many stories from his playing days. Unfortunately the effect of playing two sports gradually told on him and he spent increasing amounts of time injured. During one of these winter spells he was invited to do some radio work with the local BBC station as an expert summariser. So a new career was born. He worked his way onto Radio 2 and continued until around 2008 when the effects of MS made it too difficult to continue. After that he still managed to write a book, Higgy, which was voted Rugby Book of the Year 2012. Many thanks Alastair for a fabulous afternoon!




David Allen

45 members and guests assembled as old friend of the Society Dave Allen returned to entertain us. Dave has recently stepped down as archivist of Hampshire CC, but it was more the changes in county cricket that concerned him. His theme was that for the 1st half of the 20th Century there had been little change to the way the County Championship had been played, whereas in the 55 years since Dave had become a Hampshire life member, change had become relentless. Throughout all this, his concern was that the County game was being diminished. Next season will see only 14 games and Dave envisaged a future structure of three divisions of six teams, with only one home match per month on average. As ever, members were keen to contribute to the debate, which made for a lively afternoon. Many thanks Dave for returning once again.




Jimmy Adams

A bumper turnout of 57 members and guests came to see Jimmy on his return. Jimmy, as ever, was very candid with his assessment of Hampshire's season and discreet about the future progress of the side. After half an hour of prepared talk there followed a full hour of questions and answers, with a multitude of topics covered from the amount of first class cricket played to the merits of relegation to allow a side to rebuild. Many thanks Jimmy and here's to a more successful season in 2017.




Keith Booth

37 members gathered as Keith Booth and his wife Jennifer came to tell us the story of Jack Crawford and also about the difficulties of creating a biography from scratch, when the subject is someone who was born in 1886. Jack Crawford was an amateur player who played for Surrey from a very young age. He became the youngest player to score a century and a double century in the same season in the county championship. He was selected 12 times for England going on two overseas tours, but fell out with Surrey when he was asked to captain a team which had been weakened for disciplinary reasons against the touring Australians. Although, as an amateur, he was at liberty to decline to play, Surrey chose not to select him again. He journeyed to Australia and played for South Australia, then moved to New Zealand and played for Otago. World War I then intervened, but after the war he did return to England and made his peace with Surrey playing a few more games. He was described as the Kevin Pietersen of his times. An interesting delve back almost a 100 years.



Chris Finch

38 members attended this week's meeting to hear Chris Finch talk about his personal friend Colin Cowdrey. Chris promised us a 'warts and all' talk and he certainly delivered. While applauding Colin's masterful batting at times, Chris also drew attention to what he was not; not as careful with his wicket as Geoff Boycott, not as dashing as Ted Dexter, not as resolute as Ken Barrington. However he had a wonderful career spanning 27 seasons and was a mainstay of England's middle-oredr for much of that time. The Basil D'Olivera affair was highlighted and Chris felt that Colin should have been much more forthright in his support for Basil. With contributions from Alan Rayment, who played against him and Peter Pemberton who knew him from Colin's sons playing for Pete's club, we had some extra information to round off the afternoon. Many thanks Chris.




Don Crossley

35 members gathered to hear Don Crossley's tales of his time in the Merchant Navy back in the 1960's. He sailed on several of the big liners of the day including the Queen Mary. His itineraries around the Caribbean and the Pacific made many of us envious, on a cold November's day. Don started as a ship's writer with P&O, but as his career progressed he was a steward, a wine waiter and the ship's medic. Throughout the afternoon, we were let into the secrets of how to make a bob or two to augment the pay. Techniques such as mixing the soft drink leftovers from earlier in the day into a 'fruit punch' for the children and then standing at their end of the table to enquire from the parents as to whether the children wanted drinks! By the end of the afternoon HMRC should have been marching him away. A most enlightening afternoon, with much prompting from the audience and a brief sing-song! Many thanks Don.




Stephen Chalke

40 members attended Stephen Chalke's talk about character or characters in county cricket. As ever Stephen wowed us with his immense knowledge of county cricket and all seemingly delivered so effortlessly. He had us roaring with laughter about Bomber Well's delivery action and his attempt to bowl an entire over while the local clock struck twelve o'clock, then you could have heard a pin drop as he recounted Jeff Edrich's experiences as a Japanese POW. We had some insight into why Robin Smith was unceremoniously dumped from the England Test team by Ray Illingworth and other stories which kept us marvelously entertained. In truth the 90 minutes went faster than a Bomber Well's over! A brilliant afternoon, many thanks Stephen.




Paul Pearson

Paul Pearson entertained 35 of his fellow members to a glimpse of his impressive collection of autographed sports memorabilia. Such is the breadth and quality of his collection that Paul only had time to scratch the surface of his football and Olympian items. As his enthusiasm, dedication and determination shone through, it became evident that behind most signatures there lay an interesting story. As in other walks of life the landscape of autograph hunting has changed and Paul bemoaned the growing wall of security around the leading sports players, the increasing illegibility of their signatures and the negative effect of dealers. As there is a little bit of the autograph hunter in all of us we closely identified with his early steps in his hobby and we began to wonder if there was anyone's signature that he didn't possess. A most enjoyable nostalgic afternoon, which prompted demands for a return visit.



Neil Middleditch

Neil Middleditch returned for a second visit to keep 42 members and guests entertained with a talk and Q & A session, which had something for everyone; from the diehard supporter to those like me who wouldn't know a straight through silencer from a two stroke! Neil explained that two potential sources of sponsorshsip were unavailable to speedway as the bikes run on methanol rather than petrol and they were totally different from anything ridden on the road, so road bike manufacturers weren't interested. There was a considerable discussion of the rule changes for the 2017 season which meant that some of Poole's top talent may be moving on. In all, a good afternoon with a different sport.




32 members and guests gathered for the final meeting of the year, the traditional Christmas Buffet and film. As usual Mollie and all the members came up trumps with the buffet. We then watched a compilation of former Test captains talking with Jonathan Agnew, including such greats as Gary Sobers, Clive Lloyd and Richie Benuad. The 2nd half of the programme showed the last innings of the highest successful run chase in Test history, when the West Indies reached their target of 418 against Australia with three wickets to spare. The warmth of a Caribbean calypso certainly warmed a December afternoon.




Matthew Maynard

51 members and guests turned out to hear Matthew Maynard open the 2017 season. He had a succesful career as a hard-hitiing batsman and occasional wicket-keeper playing 4 Tests and 14 ODIs for England before he moved into coaching. He explained how hard it was coming into the England dressing room at that time, being the 29th player selected for England in that series against the West Indies. Even the cap he was presented with was 2nd hand! He talked frankly about his participation in the rebel tour to South Africa, with the financial rewards on offer far exceeding anything the county game could offer. In his latter days at Glamorgan, he played with Viv Richards. After retiring from playing he has coached and was Director of Cricket at Glamorgan before moving to his current post at Somerset. Many thanks Matthew for a most enjoyable afternoon.



A record 72 members, partners and guests attended our 8th New Year's Lunch, held for the 1st time at the Remedy Oak Golf Club. Many thanks to David Hain for his organisation of another successful event, as we enjoyed a three course lunch, a 'cracker' of an introduction from the chairman, Chris Finch, followed by Derek Hopkins' Heads & Tails and a free raffle to conclude.




Paul Prichard

An excellent audience of 46 turned out to hear Paul Prichard talk to the Society. Paul started from his early years at Hutton Cricket Club, which was the sole inspiration to his rise in cricket. He swiftly established himself in age-group representative teams, often playing a couple of years under-age. At 16 he was offered a contract by Essex and jumped at the chance. Almost immediately he wintered in South Africa, where the apartheid system came as a shock to a naive ex-schoolboy. Future winters would be spent in Australia playing grade cricket where, by the age of 21, he was captaining a side including Australian Test players such as Lenny Pascoe. Once he broke into the Essex side, he quickly established himself, scoring 84 on debut. He succeeded Graham Gooch as Captain of Essex, as they then achieved a number of one-day successes. Following his retirement from 1st Class cricket he played for Berkshire for three seasons and has coached at Canford School. He is now starting his 2nd season as the Dorset Coach. An excellent afternoon's enjoyment.




27 members gathered on a bitterly cold January afternoon to show sporting artefacts and swop stories. We were shown a World Cup Final ticket from 1966 along wi th a programme carrrying signatures of Booby Moore and Alf Ramsey. Chris Finch brought along a commerative jug depicting Percy Chapman (see picture). We had a book detailing 175 years of Ormskirk Cricket Club, written by our club member Ken Lea and signed by three of "The Invincibles'. On the story front, we heard of John Wellman's woes at the racetrack and how finally a winner turned out to be very expensive. Many thanks to all those who contributed to the afternoon's entertainment.




Jeff Mostyn

59 members, family members and guests gathered to hear AFC Bournemouth's Chairman Jeff Mostyn on his return to the Society. Jeff updated us all on the current state of the team and the difficulties that they had encountered as the transfer window closed, without the hoped-for signings. He also went in to some detail about the club's ambition to move to a new ground and how they were working closely with the local council to find a suitable site, bearing in mind factors such as transport and access, as well as a training ground. Throughout the afternoon Jeff was candid while being discrete, so nobody found out where the new site was likely to be, despite some probing questions. There followed an insightful question and answer session, with topics such as Matt Richie's departure, Jack Wilshere's future and referring standards amongst those discussed. Jeff very kindly delighted us for a full 90 minutes, without a half-time interval! Many thanks once again Jeff.



Jack Winn

31 members attended on a freezing February day to hear Jack's sporting memories. Now we like to hear of other sports as well as cricket and Jack did us proud, as his talk encompassed football and squash as well. In addition there was a showbiz angle as Jack was involved in arranging charity games with characters from stage and screen and personalities such as Ertha Kitt who came for the raffle and stayed! Locally Jack played for Old Bournemouthians, Bournemouth Amateurs, then became a founder member of Wayfarers. Initially an opening batsman, he was turned into a useful bowler by his coach at Bournemouth School, a former Glamorgan player. With tales of football and squash it was, in all, an interesting afternoon of local sport. Thanks to Jack




James Tomlinson

An audience of 49 members and guests turned up to hear James Tomlinson speak. He has just retired as a Hampshire player during the 2016 season. He told us of his career, mainly up to his break-through in county cricket in 2008 and particualrly of his trials in getting acceptance as a good enough player as a youngster. More than once he was told that he wasn't good enough/tall enough/fast enough to succeed at the top level. Despite that he followed his own path through university before succeeding in the county game. We then had a fascinating Q&A session, in which we learnt some of the techniques necessary to bowl at the highest level. We also gained insight into the likes of Shane Warne, Dominic Cork and Dimi Mascarenhas. With just over an hour of Q&A, James was delighted to beat Jimmy Adams - competitive to the end! Many thanks James.



Bobby Parks

48 members and guests welcomed Bobby Parks to the Society. He had the unique experience of being one of four players to keep wicket for England in the same Test Match. This all occurred after Bruce French had been hit on the head while batting. Bobby had a long career with Hampshire finishing with over 700 1st Class dismissals and over 1000 in total. He is now involved in women's cricket and was the successful coach/manager to the Southern Vipers T20 side that won the first year of the women's T20. After his initial talk, there was a considerable question and answer section, until finally his coaching committments at Hampshire called. Another very interesting afternoon.




Mike Vimpany

Mike Vimpany told us of his recent trip to Australia, with visits to cricket very much in the foreground. Mike toured Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, watching cricket in all of those locations. He was present to see David Warner score 100 before lunch on the 1st day of a Test Match. He concentrated primarily on T20 cricket or the Big Bash as it is quaintly entitled down under! The majority of matches were sell outs, the teams are franchises, merely hiring the ground and matches are on free-to-air tv. This led on to discussion about how successful a similar T20 competition would be over here. It was felt that support was of a more 'tribal' nature over here (as in football) and that few people would be enticed to travel from Southampton to Hove for a Southern franchise home match. Particularly as the game is only a 3 hour experience. Many thanks to Mike for a thought-provoking afternoon.




Andy Walsh

Andy was the general manager of FC United of Manchester for 11 years. The team was established by Manchester United fans upset by the purchase of Man U by the Glazer brothers. For several seasons they played at Bury's ground, but have recently built a brand new stadium, which was officially opened with a match against Benfica. Andy gave a fascinating insight into the finances of professional football and a truly inspirational talk about what can be achieved by volunteers with a vision. We wish him and them every success in the future.



Joe Hardstaff

38 members and guests were well entertained by Joe Hardstaff, a gentleman with a fine sense of humour. His father and grandfather both played for Nottinghamshire and England, but when Joe's chance of a professional contract came, he was forbidden to sign it by his father. He entered the RAF and after a career flying planes around the world, he retired 34 years later as an Air Commodore. Joe then served as the secretary to Middlesex CCC for nearly 10 years. Joe's father was a fairly feisty character and had several altercations with Gubby Allen, which ultimately ended his England career, despite considerable prowess with the bat. Many thanks to Joe and Phil Brightwell, who conducted the question and answer session.


John Barclay

John Barclay brought out the best attendance of the season, as 58 members and guests crowded the hall to hear him speak on his fourth visit to the Society. Proceedings commenced with a minute's silence following the terrorist attack the previous day. Chris Finch then invited John to become our 3rd Life Vice-President, which he gratefully accepted along with a cheque for his Arundel Foundation.

After all these formalities, John then gave another masterclass in public-speaking. On this occasion he welcomed audience participation almost from the start. His theme of the afternoon was 'Changes' in the game of cricket and urged the audience to suggest changes that have occured for the good (in our opinion) in the past few years. He started with the 1 day game and covered pitches, weaving in his wonderful stories, before passing over to us. Minimum overs in the last hour, overseas players from 1968, World Series cricket & the introduction of helmets plus 20 overs cricket were all signalled as good changes. At present the number of amateur participants is declining rapidly and this needs to be addressed urgently. We heard how John and Devon Malcolm tried to ruin a generation of South African batsmen in Soweto, then John wrapped up the proceedings by retelling his experience of upsetting Malcolm Marshall and Michael Atherton's explanation for not walking. A truly wonderful afternoon's entertainment and as a Vice-President we have him on a retainer to come back! Many thanks John.



28 members attended the AGM. Chairman Chris Finch reported a highly successful season, with membership increased and average attendances at a record high. Thanks were expressed to the many guest speakers who had entertained us during the season. The Society had donated over 600 pounds to charity. Chris Finch very kindly averted a crisis in the running of the Society by agreeing a final, fourth, year as Chairman. After the formal business, members settled down to hear from some of our previous speakers. Jimmy Gray, Johnny Dennis, Michael Simkins and John Barclay all stirred memories as excerpts from their talks raised many a laugh.


Derek Hopkins

28 members came to bring the curtain down on the 2016-17 season. We started with Derek's quiz - with a difference, well two actually. Firstly some of the questions could be answered! Some were even 'Yes - No', Derek is obviously mellowing with age. Secondly he was joined in the setting of questions by John Wellman who, having celebrated his birthday the day before, asked a round of questions based on his sporting life. All in all, a very entertaining afternoon ensued. Many thanks to Derek and John. The afternoon was then completed in time-honoured tradition with the consumption of a cream tea accompanied by birthday cake from John. Thus ended probably the most successful season of the DCS - we have a record number of members, a record average attendance and undoubtedly we have had a cracking variety of excellent speakers. Many thanks to all those who help us to achieve this and thanks to members for their regular support. The new season will commence on Thursday 12th October 2017.

To see memories of the previous year's programme click here
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Last revised 9th April 2017
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