Festival Ambassadors -
meet legends of the game
One of the most memorable parts of attending a Golden Oldies Cricket festival is being able to meet, mix and mingle with some of the sports true legends. At Harrogate 2020 you will be in for a real treat, with Joel Garner, Barry Richards, Mike Proctor, John Wright and the effervescent Derek Randall in attendance. Get your questions and your camera ready!
Derek Randall - England
One of cricket’s greatest characters, Nottinghamshire and England batsman and brilliant cover fielder.
Derek Randall was nicknamed ‘Arkle’ after the legendary racehorse but always referred to himself as ‘Rags’. He played in 47 tests and 49 one day internationals for England, the highlight of his career (and highest score) being the superb 174 that he scored in the Centenary Test against Australia at Melbourne in 1977. His brilliant run out of Gordon Greenidge in the 1979 World Cup Final exemplified his speed and extraordinary athleticism in the field.
His antics in the dressing room and on the field, where he was a blur of perpetual motion, made him immensely popular with his fellow cricketers, crowds and cricket lovers worldwide. As his entry in the 1980 Wisden Cricketer of the Year said ‘The Retford imp was, and still is, one of the most fondly admired figures in the game…the rolling gait and big sad eyes make him Chaplinesque – and like all clowns, there is a pathos behind the public image…At times, genius sat on his shoulders – the only trouble was it would not stop fidgeting’.
He made 2,470 runs in tests at an average of 33.37, scoring seven centuries and twelve fifties and 1067 in one day internationals at an average of 26.67. He made his first-class debut for Nottinghamshire in 1972, scoring 28,456 first class and international runs in all with 52 centuries. He scored over 1,000 runs in a season eight times. He took 361 catches and stood out in the field by running, rather than walking, towards the batsman as the ball was bowled: he was responsible for many run outs. He retired from first class cricket at the age of 42 in 1993 but continued to play Minor Counties cricket for Suffolk, playing in the Nat West Trophy at the age of 49, and in a match for ‘Old Suffolk’ in 2004. He played for Matlock CC until 2010, when he was 59. He coached at Cambridge University and Bedford School, where he recommended that Alastair Cook be picked for the ECB National Academy.
He will be a massively popular figure with the Golden Oldies and the other ambassadors will have a lot of fun with him – there are dozens of hilarious anecdotes about his eccentricty.
Joel Garner - WEST INDIES
Batsmen would say that the overriding feeling when first confronted by the Big Bird was that he would trample on them such was the foreshortening effect of his 6ft 8 inches. Delivered from the clouds it seemed, and at a lively pace that when the mood took could be cranked up to the brisk side of rapid, the ball would rear alarmingly from barely short of a length. Allied to that was the most devastating toe crunching yorker the game had seen since that of Charlie Griffith. Of the top wicket-takers, few have a lower average than his parsimonious 20.98. If his value in Test cricket was as an integral part of the most formidable pace attacks ever - they spread the load so that he took five wickets in an innings on just seven occasions - then in one-day cricket, particularly in the overs at the end of an innings, when the unhittable yorker speared in relentlessly, he was priceless. At Lord's in 1979 he simply blew England's slim hopes away with 5 for 38, the best figures ever in a World Cup final.
Mike Selvey, ESPNcricinfo
BARRY RICHARDS - SOUTH AFRICA
Barry Richards played just four Tests - and the cricket world is poorer for it. They were all in 1969-70 against Australia, and Richards made the most of his limited time in the limelight. A talent of such enormous stature that he once batted (and did well) using only the leading edge in a Durban club match, Richards was forced by South Africa's sporting isolation to play elsewhere, thrilling spectators with his nimble, aggressive strokeplay for Hampshire, Natal and South Australia, and in Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket. There were many feats of remarkable batsmanship from one of the finest talents of the 20th century, including nine hundreds before lunch and 1000 runs in a season 15 times. But South Africans will never forget the Durban Test of 1969-70, when Richards and Graeme Pollock flayed the Australian attack to all parts of the Kingsmead ground.
Neil Manthorp, ESPNcricinfo
MIKE PROCTOR - SOUTH AFRICA
Probably one of the most natural talents the game of cricket has ever seen, Mike Procter was denied the chance to showcase his talents on the international stage by South Africa's isolation. His performances in the seven Test matches he did play - all against Australia - suggest he would have kept favourable company with other great allrounders of the late 20th century such as Ian Botham, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev and Richard Hadlee. He took 41 wickets at 16 apiece, and averaged 34.83 with the bat in the second of the two series. Always one for the spectacular, Procter put together a string of memorable performances for his English county side Gloucestershire, to which he was passionately loyal. He scored six centuries in consecutive first-class innings while playing for Rhodesia in the early 1970s, and went on to coach South Africa as they returned to the international stage.
Neil Manthorp, ESPNcricinfo
JOHN WRIGHT - NEW ZEALAND
A left-hand opening batsman with a sound defensive technique and a full array of strokes, Wright was an integral member of the 1980s New Zealand team that achieved notable overseas successes against England and Australia, and his century against Sri Lanka in 1990-91 meant that he scored a hundred against all six of his Test opponents (South Africa, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh later returned or joined the fold).
After his playing career, Wright took to coaching, first with Kent, and then taking on a far-more high-profile job as coach of India. It was a tough task, but he gained plenty of goodwill for the honesty and effort he brought into the task. He forged an excellent partnership with Sourav Ganguly, and their partnership brought India some famous victories, most notably against Australia in Kolkata in 2001, a series win in Pakistan and away Test wins in England and Australia. In December 2010 Wright was appointed New Zealand's coach. That stint lasted less than two years, the highlights of which was New Zealand's first Test win in Australia in 26 years, in Hobart in December 2011, and reaching the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup.