Next in our Manor Memories series is someone judged by many as one of the most talented cricketers produced by the club. Dave Renham played for Worthing at a junior level, before becoming one of the best batsman in the Sussex League throughout the late 1980s and 1990s. His appearances became more occasional after he moved away from the area, but he played enough to finish his career amongst the highest ever runs scorers for the club.
What’s your earliest memory of the Manor Ground?
My earliest memory of the Manor Ground was when I was about 9 and was watching the first team play against East Grinstead. A certain John Snow was playing for East Grinstead. He must have been coming back from injury or something because I’m sure he was still playing for Sussex and England at that point. I remember Tony Browne who was opening nicked one and didn’t walk; Snow clearly did not take kindly to that and then decided to bowl properly quick and skittle Worthing out.
What do you remember of your Worthing debut?
To be honest I cannot remember who it was against. It was in 1984 and I was just 17. Later that year I do remember scoring my first 1st XI league 50. It was against Hastings who were a great side then. We chased down around 230 for just 3 down. We finished 5th that year I think and were a decent side.
What was your favourite game for Worthing and why?
Well I have two – one from a personal perspective and one from a team perspective. The best team game was the Cup semi-final of 1992 and if you read Tim Dunn’s piece he describes the game in great detail. I have nothing much to add other than Justin Watts played a brilliant innings and helped give us a total to defend.
Personally I felt let myself and the team down in that game – I was batting at 3 and got to 42 and felt in good nick, but my arrogance got the better of me. I had just hit the bowler over his head for a once bounce four and they moved a man back to long off. I decided that if the next ball was pitched up it was going over the ropes for six. It was pitched up and I dumped a slight mis-hit straight down long off’s throat. Fortunately Justin and the bowlers dug us out of the hole I had left us in.
From a personal perspective it was the cup game before the Horsham semi-final against Littlehampton. Although I scored a few league hundreds I never got a cup 100 but in the game against Littlehampton I got 97 which I felt was a pressure knock and helped us win the game.
Dave is seated 2nd from right
Who was/were your favourite teammate/s and why?
Too many to mention them all, but in my early days I got on really well with Martin Rose. He became captain in 1986 and I was his vice captain at the age of 19. He had an excellent cricketing brain and tactically was by far the best captain I played under. I learnt a lot from him. He left the club soon afterwards which was a huge loss. I have known Tim Dunn, Justin Watts, Paul Westlake and Anthony Aduhene for nearly 40 years and we had plenty of fun on and off the pitch. Back in the day we played Sunday cricket too on a regular basis and in a slightly more relaxed atmosphere and there was a lot of p’ss-taking! Later on John Kaye and Andy Lutwyche were good teammates and importantly good additions to the team.
Favourite away ground and why?
Easy one this, Horsham. Was a great wicket and playing Horsham back in the 80’s and 90’s was always a huge challenge. I was lucky enough to score well against Horsham on several occasions and gained their respect which was hard to do back in the day.
Best overseas player you played with and against?
Best overseas player I played with was probably Dean Potter. I have played with and against better cricketers than Dean, but he made the most of his ability with bat and ball. He took a first class ‘5 for’ in New Zealand but never really made it.
Best overseas player I played against is a tough one. Several bowlers come close – Karl Bauermeister, Merrick Pringle and Heath Davis, but Keith Bradshaw was an outstanding batsman who played in the mid 80s. He played for Tasmania from 1984 to 1988.
Best “English” amateur(s) you played with and against?
The two best players I played with for Worthing went on to play pro-cricket. Martin Speight was an excellent batsman and decent keeper – I remember his 98 against Horsham when he basically took them to the cleaners. We put on 137 together and although I didn’t like playing second fiddle, I had no choice that day because he was simply brilliant.
Dominic Clapp I only played with a few times late on in my career, but his record for Worthing is excellent. I actually taught him when he was at school and even at the age of 5 you could tell he was going to be a decent cricketer.
Best bowler I played with was Alistair Lawry – a left arm spinner that played with us for a few seasons.
Best amateur I played against was Ian Cox from Bexhill. He was a super batsman and a top guy too. Wasn’t the worst bowler either! We played some representative cricket together in our early days and he was great to have on your team rather than playing against him.
Dave with Tim Dunn on tour in Somerset in 1998
Best and funniest memories on the field?
Funniest memory was when we were playing against Chichester and one of their players smashed it straight to cover and didn’t walk. The dulcet tones of Terry Burstow could be heard from the steps of the pavilion ‘Don’t you play catches at Chichester?!’
Best moment on the field was my first League hundred when I was 19 against East Grinstead. It should have been a year earlier when I was 95 not out against Three Bridges but our captain at the time, Robbie Miller, thought we should declare. I have (and never will) forgive him!
Best memory off the field?
Winning the 1st XI Young Player of the Sussex League award in 1985 when I was 18. I won a bat which I have still got 35 years on!
If you could pass on any advice to our juniors about playing cricket, and playing for Worthing CC, what would it be
Playing for Worthing Cricket Club created memories and friends for life. It is so important the club keeps going and gets stronger.
Don’t do what I did which was basically waste several of my best years. My first season in the 1st XI was 1984 and my last in 2003, but I had lost my love for the game by the end of 1992. I was only 25 at the time, but I had failed to make the grade at County level and from then on I played solely because of the people I played with. The cricket was a poor second and I felt I had done ‘my bit’. It’s a big regret now as you can never get time back ……
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