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Past Player Days

Past Player Day 2017 - Cheltenham

Almost 90 former county and international players joined in the Professional Cricketers’ Association’s 50th Anniversary at a special day at the Cheltenham Cricket Festival.

The PCA’s popular Past Players’ Day again attracted players from across the generations with PCA Chairman Daryl Mitchell, a current Worcestershire batsman, the youngest at 33 and Roy Booth, the former Yorkshire and Worcestershire wicketkeeper, the oldest at 90.

This year’s event, on the second day of Gloucestershire’s Specsavers County Championship match against Glamorgan, reunited Fred Rumsey, Mike Smedley, Eric Russell and Don Shepherd, four of the Founding Fathers of the players’ union who attended the inaugural meeting in 1967 along with Harold Goldblatt, an accountant who played a significant behind-the-scenes role in the establishment of what was initially called the Cricketers’ Association.

“The organisation has done everything that I hoped it would do and more. It’s now a very polished organisation.” Rumsey said.

“There are still things that it can do but it is covering all the fears that I had as a young man when I decided to form the Association.

“I am proud of the way that players’ welfare is now looked after. I am happy that they have cleared the backlog of special registrations. The money is better, they negotiate contracts better and the PCA Benevolent Fund covers them for sickness and injury and after they have finished playing, any problems they encounter.”

Rumsey first floated the idea of a players’ union in 1966 when he circulated to the 17 first-class counties. Despite opposition from the cricketing establishment – then the MCC – he gained sufficient support to convene the inaugural meeting in the Daily Express offices in London’s Fleet Street after the 1967 season.

“The fortunate thing in my situation was that I didn’t care. If they wanted to attack me they could attack me. I was prepared to take them on,” Rumsey said.

“I would have been prepared to go the media and the law courts to fight them. I didn’t give a damn about them.

“It wasn’t so much bravery than not caring less. I didn’t like their views on how players should fall into their way of life so I was quite happy to take them on.

“If you are going to be involved in what is nothing less than a union you are sticking your neck out with your employers. Your employers don’t like having to deal with people who say: we don’t like how you are doing things, we’d like to do it this way because it suits the players.”

Rumsey and Russell were among 20 former Test players at Cheltenham which was also attended by sponsors and PCA staff.

Between them the former players boasted 17,909 first-class appearances, 603,355 runs and 23,457 wickets.

Former players who attended this year’s PCA Past Players’ Day were: John Aldridge (Worcestershire), Iain Anderson (Derbyshire), Phil Bainbridge (Gloucestershire and Durham), Roy Booth (Yorkshire and Worcestershire), Tony Borrington (Derbyshire), Andy Brassington (Gloucestershire), David Brown (Gloucestershire), Ray Bailey (Northamptonshire), Rodney Cass (Essex and Worcestershire), David Constant (Kent and Leicestershire), Chris Cowdrey (Kent and Glamorgan), Brian Crump (Northamptonshire), Jim Cumbes (Lancashire, Surrey, Worcestershire and Warwickshire), Winston Davis (Glamorgan and Northamptonshire), Alan Dixon (Kent), Richard Ellis (Gloucestershire and Middlesex), Kevin Emery (Hampshire), Bob Entwistle (Lancashire), Duncan Fearnley (Worcestershire), Graeme Fowler (Lancashire and Durham), Graham Frost (Nottinghamshire), Norman Gifford (Worcestershire and Warwickshire), Edward Greenhalgh (Lancashire), David Graveney (Gloucestershire, Somerset and Durham), Brian Hall (Worcestershire),  Mike Harris (Middlesex and Nottinghamshire), Basharat Hassan (Nottinghamshire), Alan Hill (Derbyshire), Vanburn Holder (Worcestershire), Ron Hooker (Middlesex), Geoff Humpage (Warwickshire), Simon Hinks (Kent and Gloucestershire), Dean Hodgson (Warwickshire and Gloucestershire), John Inchmore (Worcestershire), John Jameson (Warwickshire), Keith Jones (Warwickshire), Tim Lamb (Middlesex and Northamptonshire), David Leatherdale (Worcestershire), Jamie McDowall (Warwickshire), Rajesh Maru (Middlesex and Hampshire), Colin Metson (Middlesexx and Glamorgan), Daryl Mitchell (Worcestershire), Graham Monkhouse (Surrey), Charlie Mulraine (Warwickshire), John Murray (Middlesex), Niall O’Brien (Kent, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire), Chris Old (Yorkshire and Warwickshire), Dudley Owen-Thomas (Surrey), Ken Palmer (Somerset), Roy Palmer (Somerset), David Partridge (Gloucestershire), Derek Pearson (Worcestershire), Pat Pocock (Surrey), Mike Procter (Gloucestershire), John Price (Middlesex), Neal Radford (Lancashire and Worcestershire), Perry Rendell (Somerset), Harold Rhodes (Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire), Bryan Richardson (Warwickshire), Dick Richardson (Worcestershire), Nigel Ross (Middlesex), Fred Rumsey (Worcestershire, Somerset and Derbyshire), Eric Russell (Middlesex), Don Shepherd (Glamorgan), Ken Shuttleworth (Lancashire), Mike Smedley (Nottinghamshire), David Smith (Derbyshire), Mike Smith (Warwickshire), David Steele (Northamptonshire and Derbyshire), John Steele (Leicestershire and Glamorgan), Andy Stovold (Gloucestershire), Bill Taylor (Nottinghamshire), Bob Taylor (Derbyshire), Greg Thomas (Glamorgan and Northamptonshire), Ian Thomas (Glamorgan), Roger Vowles (Nottinghamshire), Mark Wallace (Glamorgan), Matthew Wheeler (Northamptonshire), Bob White (Middlesex and Nottinghamshire).

The PCA’s 50thAnniversary history film can be viewed here.

Past Player Day 2016 - Cheltenham

Almost 90 former county cricketers, including  20 who played international cricket, enjoyed the fifth annual Professional Cricketers’ Association Past Players’ Day at Cheltenham College.

 The event, which took place during the second day of Gloucestershire’s Specsavers County Championship match against Essex, and brought together players from across the generations.

 Roy Booth, the former Yorkshire and Worcestershire wicketkeeper, was the oldest player present at 89 and Steve Adshead, another wicketkeeper who played for Leicestershire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire , was the youngest at 36.

 Among the first time visitors was Alan Butcher, the former Surrey, Glamorgan and England opening batsman, who enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with former team-mates and opponents.

 “I have had a fantastic day. It’s a great setting to begin with, I always enjoyed playing at Cheltenham and it’s fantastic to come and meet lots of cricketers from lots of different eras,” said Butcher, who coached Surrey and Zimbabwe after he retired from playing.

 “There were people that I haven’t seen for ages, some whom were difficult to recognise at first glance but I’m sure they thought the same about me. I have got to thank the PCA for putting on such a fantastic day for all us old blokes to come along and enjoy, reminisce and remember the old days.”

 Although Past Players’ Day is a highlight of the PCA’s social calendar it is also an opportunity for PCA staff to remind former players about the services that the Association provides and to make them aware of some of the pioneering health initiatives available to them.

 Former Lancashire, Durham and England batsman Graeme Fowler has recently been appointed a PCA Mental Health Ambassador and he spoke at Past Players’ Day about the work he is doing in helping to raise awareness of mental wellbeing. Mike Soper, the former Surrey chairman, spoke his battle against prostate cancer and stressed the importance of regular check-ups against the disease.






“In view of what we heard about the work that the PCA are doing on mental health within the membership this day is very important,” Butcher said.

 “A vital part of the mental health process is feeling connected to people and feeling that you are still part of a community.

“You might spend 20 years in a dressing room which is like being in a family. It means that you have a support group around you but when you have to walk away from that it can prove very difficult to re-create that situation.

“Days like this re-create it, to relive their careers and remember that they are still part of a special community and that they are not on their own.”

Jim Cumbes, the former Lancashire, Surrey, Worcestershire and Warwickshire seamer, combined his cricket career with that of a professional footballer as a goalkeeper for Tranmere Rovers, West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa and Southport before he became Lancashire’s chief executive.

Cumbes, who was awarded the PCA Special Merit Award last year, was a member of the Professional Footballers’ Association before the PCA was formed in 1967 but he attended the second meeting of the Association in the spring of 1968.

“I think the PCA is a great organisation. I went to the second ever meeting which was held at the Strathallan Hotel in Birmingham when Derek Dougan of the PFA came and addressed the cricketers,” Cumbes said.

“It was amazing how many players were against it in those early days. A lot of them took the view that it was a union and they saw it as a left wing organisation rather than an association of cricketers.

“It’s great to see how the organisation has grown and it now does some fantastic work in educating players about mental health and preparing them for life after cricket through the excellent work of the Personal Development and Welfare Managers.”

The PCA Past Players’ Day was hosted by former Kent captain David Fulton who interviewed Cumbes, Fowler and PCA founder member Fred Rumsey.





Cheltenham Past Player Day 2015

On July 15th, Cheltenham woke up surrounded by grey skies and there was only one thing that could brighten the day. As past cricket players, young and old, gathered for their yearly PCA reunion the sun came out and the conversation started flowing. Incredible players from the Steele brothers, who told stories about the huge array of sports stars in their family, to the wonderfully dressed Graeme ‘Foxy’ Fowler, who wore some dashingly flowery sleeves, came along to enjoy the experience offered completely free to its members by the PCA. The day brought out many memories of competitiveness and friendship which was led by our brilliant host, England and Lancashire man, Mike Watkinson. 

With this year bringing in our largest collection of past players to date we can boast the appearance members from Roy Booth, the former Yorkshire and Worcestershire wicketkeeper, the oldest past player present at 88 to Adam Rouse, the former Hampshire and Gloucestershire wicketkeeper, the youngest at 23. Another great face seen at the event was George Sharp, the former Northamptonshire wicketkeeper attended the Past Players’ Day for the first time having retired from umpiring at the end of last season.

“It’s an excellent day. It’s great to see so many old players who have you played against, some of whom I haven’t seen for 20 years or more,” Sharp said.

“The PCA do a fantastic job for the players through the Benevolent Fund for people who fall on hard times they do a wonderful job.”

Let us hope for beating our record for attendees next year and seeing more faces that have been sorely missed.