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Where are they now? Derek Taylor

If ever a cricketer was born to play for this County then it has to be Derek Taylor because one of his middle names is Somerset.

Christened Derek John Somerset Taylor, the top-notch keeper, who was also a very handy batsman, returned to Taunton for the first time in seven years recently when he attended the Former Players Dinner earlier this month.

Derek started his playing career with Buckinghamshire in the Minor Counties before joining the Surrey staff in 1964, where he was under the watchful eye of Arthur McIntyre, the man who kept for the club during their championship winning years in the 1950s.

Derek made his first team debut behind the stumps for Surrey in 1966 and over the course of the next three seasons he made a total of 10 appearances but while Arnold Long, who was well established as the first team ‘keeper, was at the club, he knew he had to move to further his career.

“I played a few games at Surrey but I wanted to play regularly,” he said when we spoke to him recently. “Arnold Long was the number one ‘keeper and even though I was a better batter I knew that I had to move. Somerset were looking for a ‘keeper at the end of the 1969 season, so I came down to Taunton where I had 13 very enjoyable seasons.”

During his time with Somerset he was a key member of the team that won five one-day trophies in as many seasons, a period affectionately called the Glory Years.

Derek played in 280 First Class matches for Somerset, scoring 6800 runs at an average of 22.44 which included four centuries. He topped 1000 First Class runs in a season twice with his best being 1121 runs in 1975.

In addition Derek claimed 661 dismissals in First Class cricket consisting of: 587 catches and 74 stumpings. He also appeared in 261 List A matches, scoring 2035 runs.

At the recent Former Players Dinner he said: “I was last back here in 2011, but that’s seven years ago, so it was good to see some of the people who I played with. I hadn’t seen Budgie Burgess for 37 years nor have I seen Phil Slocombe since then. I’ve lived on the Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane for 25 years, but have now retired from the real estate business.”

Recalling some of the special moments from his 13 seasons with Somerset, Derek said: “I guess my outstanding cricket memory would have to be when I hung onto eight catches behind the wicket against Oxford and Cambridge Universities in the Benson and Hedges Cup to set a new one-day record. Another one would have to be when I scored my career best 179 against Glamorgan at Swansea in 1974.

“There were so many special times during my years with Somerset. One of them would have to be the semi-final against Middlesex at Lord’s and then when we beat Northants in the Gillette Cup final in 1979 on the Saturday. I remember stumping Allan Lamb who was their best batsman off Viv’s bowling.

“The next day at Trent Bridge we beat Nottinghamshire to win the John Player League, which was Budgies swansong. They were all good moments.”

Derek added: “I always enjoy coming back to Somerset and meeting up with everybody and hope that it won’t be seven more years before I come back to the next one!”

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03/07/2022 18:30 - The Cooper Associates County Ground