In 1969 the Old Brightonians were invited to take part in the Public Schools knockout competition run by the Cricketer and sponsored by Mercier Champagne. Nobody expected very much from us. We had a good side but not a great one, but we did have self belief and enthusiasm. The first match was against the favourites, the Old Tonbridgians. This was the closest game we played. With the scores equal we won through to the next round, having lost fewer wickets.
Thereafter things got much easier, the team went from strength to strength and we sailed through to the final, at Burton Court , near the Chelsea Baracks, against the Stowe Templars where we won in a canter. The reward was a lovely weekend in Epernay courtesy of the Mercier family. It was our equivalent of winning the Ashes. No OB side has reached the final since then, and the OB`s are currently twelth in the order of merit. The winning team was Tony Lush, captain, Brian Parsons, Richard Smyth, Derek Pickering, Ian and David Lock, Warwick Sabey, Peter Lush, Sandy Farrar. Adrian Harland and Mike Rowland.
With all the recent euphoria over the England team retaining the Ashes in Australia, many OBs will not be aware or remember that when England last successfully defended the Ashes in 1986/87 I was fortunate enough to be appointed Manager with Mike Gatting as Captain and Micky Stewart as Coach. Like the successful OB team not a great deal was expected of the side. After some poor warm up games, one journalist wrote "The team can`t bat, bowl or field". Well, England won the series by the time of the Christmas Melbourne Test and went on to win the two one day competitions. In those days there were no bus parades round London or receptions at no 10, but we did have a wonderful party at the Melbourne Hilton with Elton John as the DJ.
I worked at Lord`s for some 20 years, initially as head of PR and Marketing for the TCCB, now known as the ECB. I managed the England team every year on overseas tours from 1986 to 1991 visiting Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka , Pakistan and India. At the time it was the longest sequence of tours for any England Manager. It was a wonderful experience, which my family will never forget. Being less active now my sporting activity is limited to the occasional round of golf with my Grandson Daniel driving the buggy round the course at Bognor. To see his face when I miss another short put is a sight to behold.