The only person who could start the series is our Chairman, Tim Dunn. A fabulous servant to the club, probable leading ever run-scorer (to be debated!) and the only captain to have won one of the major trophies on offer in the Sussex County League. Over to Tim…..
What’s your earliest memory of the Manor Ground?
In 1980 my parents moved to Worthing and I was 14. I’d been told from my previous club, Alderley Edge in Cheshire, that this was the best club in Worthing and that they played in the main county league, which was the highest standard in the County. I remember walking to see the ground and it looking so big and open, with its giant pavilion and scoreboard, it looked like a proper ground to me. I watched a lot of the game going on, which was a first team game on the main square. Some of the players had Martlets on their jumpers and the standard looked high and I was hooked immediately.
What do you remember of your Worthing debut?
It was against Chichester in 1986 at the Manor Ground. Both myself and my good friend Arwel Roberts made our 1st XI league debuts in this game. I made an ok 25, in a 50 plus partnership with Andy Rixon, one of the senior players in the side to guide us to around 170, which was a decent score on the manor wicket in those days. I remember they got nowhere near our score and batted out the overs for a draw at 8 down. Arwel dropped a simple catch at cover which would have given us 9-10 overs at the last 2 batters. When I see Arwel, I always tend to give him a friendly reminder of that moment!
That game just gave me the bit of confidence I needed that maybe I could play at that level, but it took me a few years to really believe it as the step up from 2nd XI was so big.
What was your favourite game for Worthing and why?
It must as Captain for our Sussex League Cup semi-final v Horsham in 1992 away. In those days the cup competition was 45 overs a side and Horsham were a top side, full of star players and a top overseas fast bowler from South African named Nico Pretorius; so, they were firm favourites and would have expected to beat us quite easily.
They won the toss and put us in and soon had us 4 down for not that many. I came in to join Justin Watts at the crease and agreed we needed to hang around a bit, try and see of their spinners (Mark Upton being the main one) then have a bash at their 5th bowler and then the other seamers when they come back on, hopefully with some wickets in hand so we can just post some kind of score. I remember telling our umpire Ken Cracknell (no neutral umpires in those days!) we’d make about 180 and him telling me “no chance”! Anyway, that’s how it worked out, Justin and I hung around for a while, I was out for 18 but felt I’d done a good job for the team. But then Justin just went berserk and played out of his skin at one point hitting Pretorius over extra cover into the car park for 6. He was out eventually for 60 odd and we made the 180 I’d predicted, batting out our overs which was so important.
We had an excellent quick bowling unit with John Coles, Anthony Aduhene and a very young raw Danny Law (who went on to play for Sussex, Essex and Durham). In the dressing room before their innings I said we’d start down the hill with John Coles and Aduhene will come up it as he can use his short run and just keep it tight. Well, he wasn’t amused by this and threw a huge strop and proceeded to bowl like a drain. They were very quickly 30-odd without loss and we were staring at a very quick return down the A24 back to Worthing.
I got Aduhene off after a couple of overs and brought on our left arm spinner Alastair Lawry who really didn’t like bowling with a new ball. However, needs must, and in his first over got the wicket of Terry Farley, who was a fantastic player and capable of destroying any attack.
John had done a great job coming down the hill with some good pace but then I replaced him with Aduhene who was chomping at the bit to get back into the action and that’s when the game really changed. Anthony then proceeded to bowl like we knew he could, nipping out 2 or 3 more as their scoring rate slowed down dramatically. We then got Danny Law into the action who bowled as quick that day as anything I’d seen which their batsmen weren’t too keen on. With the quicks rotating down the hill and Alastair and Arwel Roberts from the bottom end, they never really looked like overhauling our total especially when their tail-enders were turning down singles, so they didn’t have to face-up to Danny Law! I think they finished up about 6 short and we were in the Cup Final to be played at Hove.
We went on to win the final v Bexhill at the Manor Ground after rain ended our chances of playing at Hove, but nothing beats semi-final for the way we battled as a team to overcome maybe the best side in the County on their home ground. With our visiting supporters, a great time was had in the bar afterwards.
Who was/were your favourite team-mate/s and why?
I was 1st XI captain for a total of 7 seasons. A spell from 1989-1992 and then again from 1996-1999. In all I played regular 1st XI league cricket for Worthing from 1986 – 2006. I appeared for a few after that but went on to play more in the 2nd XI with my old mate Justin Watts as Captain and with my eldest son Harry and then on to Captain the 3rd XI and play with my youngest son Jack and with my mate Paul Westlake and his boy Jack.
I’ve played with so many great players and lovely people. I’d say Anthony Aduhene, Dave Renham, John Coles, Justin Watts, Paul Westlake in the early days and Andy Lutwyche, John Kaye, Chris Mansell, Iain Burstow and Pedro Venus in my later first team days were my favourite teammates.
Best overseas player you played with and against?
Easily the best overseas player I played with was an Australian guy named Ben Cameron who played for us in 2001. Ben was very driven so not everyone responded to him in quite the same way but I just loved his enthusiasm for the game and his desire to work hard and get better which really rubbed off on me. Shame I didn’t meet him in my 20s as I’m sure I’d have scored many more runs than I did. He just had a way of making me believe in myself and to do what I did well and not try to be anything different. Also, to see him bat was sublime. The way he would build an innings and move through the gears wasn’t something I’d really seen or appreciated before in a batter.
Playing against would probably be Meyrick Pringle from South Africa who played for Haywards Heath in the league for a couple of seasons (played for South Africa in the 1992 World Cup semi-final v England). He could bowl with real pace and menace and could bat extremely well also. He had scored a double hundred in a Sussex League match so you can believe my surprise when he I watched him on TV a couple of years later strolling out at number 11 for South Africa! He was always a nemesis for us in our games v the Heath but a lovely guy also who was keen to chat and have a beer after the game.
Best “English” amateur(s) you played with and against?
Best Amateur bowlers played with are Anthony Aduhene, Alastair Lawry and Andy Lutwyche. Anthony was a terrific bowler who at times was as quick as a lot of them and could always seem to come up with the vital wicket when I needed it. Alastair was a left arm spinner from Cornwall, more in the Derek Underwood style with his quicker pace and brilliant accuracy, he was so hard to score off and was a Captain’s dream to have in your armoury. Andy was a gentler medium pace. When you first saw him, you’d think what was all the fuss about? But on the Manor wickets he was brilliant. He was responsible for some of the low pitch marks we used to get purely through the things he made the ball do that just no one else in the game could do! With JK behind the sticks it was a lethal combination for opposition batters.
Best amateur bowlers in the opposition would be David Hartley (leg spinner at Three Bridges), Phil Threlfall (quick bowler at Three Bridges) and Phil Price (quick bowler and batter at Middleton). They always got the better of me!
Best batters would be Dom Clapp, played one season opening with him in 2001 when he just got onto the Sussex staff. Should have made it as a pro if just someone had really believed in him and given him more opportunity. Also, David Renham, who was the best batter in the team for many years.
Playing against, I always thought Ian Cox from Bexhill & David Briance from Chichester were the best around. Both were hard to get out and if you didn’t get them early, they would really hurt you.
Best wicketkeepers I’ve seen would be John Carter at Horsham and John Kaye at Worthing. Both were absolutely brilliant glovemen, particularly standing up.
Best and funniest memories on the field?
Best moment is scoring my one and only Sussex Premier League 100 (113) v East Grinstead in 2001 and funniest moment was watching Terry Burstow walk out to bat as a non-striker in the last over of the game against Bexhill then proceeding to walk to the end of the bowlers mark and remove his pads & gloves and telling the striking batter Anthony Aduhene that he will not be running and has no intention of facing a delivery!
Best memory off the field?
That would be coaching the Worthing U16 team to back to back Sussex Junior cricket festival wins at Arundel Castle in 2011 and 2012. We had won SJCF’s at U16 level before but never back to back. I had a fantastic group of players, many who now make up the core of our current 1st XI, which makes me even more proud.
Worthing CC is obviously in your blood…..what has the club meant to you over the years?
Next summer will be my 40th year as a member of the club. I’ve played in every senior side, coached junior sides at every age group level, captained the 1st XI for 7 years, been Chairman for 15 years but am still as passionate as ever. I love the off field social events we hold, love seeing the young players enjoying the game and the buzz on a Saturday evening. I think the current set up we have in the club is one of the best we’ve ever had and we are in a good place to move the club forward to more on and off field success.
Anything else you want to share?
I played in 2 good teams in my career. In 1992 we had probably the best bowling attack in the league but lacked a top consistent scoring batter. In 2001 we had an excellent batting unit but probably lacked a top spin bowler. I often wonder who would have beaten who but at least I’d have been on the winning side!
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