Former Players Love Being Back!
Last Friday evening was a very special occasion for Somerset County Cricket Club when they hosted the Former Players Association Annual Reunion Dinner in the County Room at the County Ground.
The Somerset Former Player’s Association was established by John Barnwell back in 1982, when 30 cricketers who had turned out for the county over the years gathered for a dinner in the recently built Colin Atkinson Pavilion.
Thirty three years on the Association is still alive and going strong and this year was attended by 31 former players, including five who were there at the inaugural gathering.
Eddie Lawrence took over the running of the Former Players group from John Barnwell, and for the last 10 seasons John Harris has been the chairman and coordinator of the group.
Somerset players came from right across the country to spend time in the company of former team mates and to once more enjoy the company of cricketers in the surroundings they used to once call home.
The oldest player attending the evening was Philip Fussell who is 85 and played twice for Somerset back in 1953 before returning to farming and becoming a champion clay pigeon shot, while the youngest was Sam Spurway, who at 28 years old is a mere fledgling member of the group.
There were several newbies at Friday’s reunion dinner including fast bowler Bob Clapp, who played for Somerset between 1972 and 77, during which he appeared in 15 first class matches and took 25 wickets at an average of 29.36.
Bob’s forte however was the 40 over John Player League in which he played in 23 matches and took 52 wickets at an average of just 13.92!
The tall right arm paceman who hailed from Weston super Mare has been teaching firstly in Lancashire and more recently in Oxfordshire so been unable to attend gatherings in term time.
During the course of the evening Peter Robinson made a presentation to John Harris, the retiring chairman, who has spent a lifetime in cricket and Roy Kerslake presented Sam Spurway with his Somerset Former Players tie.
Keith Parsons then talked to three players in turn about their Somerset cricketing experiences- Roy Kerslake from the 1960s, Andy Caddick (1990s) and Pete Trego from the current team, which was certainly entertaining and informative to listen to.
This year for the first time the event was coordinated by another former Somerset bowler David Gurr, who has been helped by Keith Parsons and Sarah Trunks from SCCC.
Reflecting on the evening Gurr said: “We had people coming down from London, from Yorkshire, from Oxfordshire, in fact right across England.
“I thought it was an excellent evening and the camaraderie and the atmosphere was really great. The club put on a great dinner, the food was superb which everybody enjoyed and the feedback from everyone who attended has been very encouraging and we are already planning for 2016!”
Gurr added: “It was great to be able to give something back to the Club where I enjoyed my time playing county cricket!”