With the new cricket season drawing ever closer, this will probably be a strange, maybe even poignant summer for a certain school’s master in charge of cricket... someone I know very well...
My father David will be guiding the St Peter’s, York 1stXI for one last season... nothing particularly noteworthy you might think... except that Dad has been running the team since the 1960s and maybe even more remarkable is the fact that only two men have looked after the side since the end of the Second World War... 67 years no less.
The previous incumbent was a gentleman named Robert Harding. Unless you have an association with the school, you probably won’t recognise the name, but interestingly, one of his grandchildren, Clare, is married to ex-Holby City actor and Strictly winner Tom Chambers.
Back when I was very young (very very young), I apparently spotted Mr Harding (who would only ever be called “Sir” by the pupils...) in his white umpire’s coat and according to my mother, I walked up to him and said: “Hello Robert... are you a painter..?”!
Well it was funny when Mum told the story...
I played in the 1st XI for four years between 1979 and 1982... I took a few wickets and scored probably fewer runs, but they were good times and I know that Dad (or “Sir” as he also was - even to me - back then) has a remarkable memory for players and games that he has watched down the years.
The best? Well like I said in a blog a few weeks ago, that accolade goes to Jonny Bairstow of Yorkshire and now England. There have been countless other fine cricketers along the way... David Riley, Gordon Tait, Shaun Gorman,
Mike Davis, Tom Woolsey, Nigel Durham, Nick Kay... and the incomparable Jon Glen to name just a few.
But come August, the last page will be turned on what I think is a remarkable chapter in the history of St Peter’s School. I’ll certainly be popping down to watch a couple of games... to reminisce about how much better the school side was “in my day”... before I’m reminded just how bad my fielding and batting actually were!
This is just to wish you all the best for a great summer of cricket Dad... and on behalf of every player that you’ve coached, encouraged and supported, congratulations on a fantastic career.
All my own work... almost.