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Where are they now? Chris Tavare

At the end of the 1988 season Chris Tavare, who had enjoyed a highly successful career with Kent, was looking for another county for one final season before bringing his First Class playing days to an end.

Eventually he decided to come to Somerset where he stayed for five years and captained the side.

We met with him recently and spoke about his time at Taunton.

“After leaving Kent my intention was to go somewhere for a year,” he said. “I thought about where I’d enjoyed playing my cricket most and, in the end, I decided to join Somerset.

“There were three reasons behind this decision. One was that I had always enjoyed playing there, secondly my wife had grown up in the county, so there were family links and thirdly Vic Marks was captain at the time. I had played a lot of cricket with him at university and also toured with him a couple of times, so it seemed like the right place all round.

“However, at the end of the first year Vic sidled up to me and said he had been offered a job with a national newspaper. Shortly after that I was asked to be captain.

“I enjoyed my time with Somerset, and we had some success in the one-day competitions as well.”

Chris talked about his favourite season with Somerset.

“I think that the year I enjoyed most was my last season in 1993. Andy Caddick had just qualified, we had Mushtaq Ahmed alongside the likes of Neil Mallender and suddenly we had a really good bowling attack. As a captain and a first slip fielder it was a pleasure to be in charge of that.”

Chris recalls well the match against Lancashire in May of that year, which had a dramatic outcome. It was also a fixture which saw the debut of Marcus Trescothick.

“That was a very low scoring game on a green wicket and lasted about two days,” he recalled. “I was thinking about it the other day and the winning innings, as it turned out, was by Andre van Troost! He managed to slog Wasim Akram for a few, which at least gave us a total to bowl at.”

“During my time at Somerset we had a couple of semi-finals which we unfortunately lost, and as a batter it was a good place to play.

“I came for one year and stayed five so it worked out pretty well for me in the end!”

Regarding his memories of playing at Taunton, Chris said: “I think the first time I ever played for Kent at Taunton was in 1976. You had to look out from the Old Pavilion, which was a box on stilts, and I remember that in the last innings we were batting and Graham Burgess suddenly he got one that really swung, and he just rolled us over.

“Last summer I came down to Taunton with some friends and caught up with Marcus. I reminded him that he had started off his career just as I was finishing, 25 years ago. It’s extraordinary just how well he has managed to keep going for all of these years.

“What impresses me about Somerset is how they still draw the crowds in for a Championship game. The new stand makes a big difference without losing the really good atmosphere that there always was.

“I’ve just retired after teaching at Sevenoaks School for 24 years, which is something I really enjoyed. I liked being in the classroom and running the cricket at the school.

“I will still go back to watch the first eleven play at school and I’ve been regularly watching my old club Sevenoaks Vine playing. I grew up in the area, so I enjoy going back to where I used to play and still know everybody.

“In addition, I’m learning some new skills. I’ve always been interested in photography, so I’m now developing that.”

Chris added: “Taunton is just such a lovely place to come and watch cricket. It’s great for a non-Test Match playing ground. Now that I’m retired, I can come down to visit my son in the West Country and pop into the ground to catch up with a few familiar faces.”

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