His­toric Bab­ba­combe cel­e­brate 125 years with an­niver­sary meal

CRICKET

Herald Express - - Marketplace - BY CON­RAD SUT­CLIFFE

FOR­MER Eng­land supremo David Graveney is Bab­ba­combe Cricket Club’s top-ta­ble guest of hon­our for the club’s 125th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion din­ner.

Bab­ba­combe played their first game in 1893 and moved to its dis­tinc­tive, val­ley-shaped ground at Walls Hill in 1902. Gen­er­a­tions of teams have played there ever since.

The 2018 sea­son was not a great one for Bab­ba­combe as the first XI were rel­e­gated from the Tolchards Devon League B Di­vi­sion and the se­cond XI nar­rowly avoided a sim­i­lar fate in their di­vi­sion.

Sat­ur­day night’s din­ner date at the Bab­ba­combe Ho­tel will be a cel­e­bra­tion of all the good things achieved by the club over 125 years, in­clud­ing the im­pres­sive so­cial club on the ground, built and im­proved by mem­bers for more than a cen­tury.

In the club’s early days at Walls Hill play­ers changed in a what had been the Torquay Ladies Hockey Club pavil­ion at Plain­moor, prior to be­ing dis­man­tled and re-erected on the other side of town.

Graveney had a 20-year play­ing ca­reer with Glouces­ter­shire, Som­er­set and fi­nally Durham – as well as an 11-year stint as Eng­land’s chair­man of se­lec­tors.

Cur­rently, he is the na­tional per­for­mance man­ager for the ECB.

Bab­ba­combe mem­bers are look­ing for­ward to hear­ing some of the vast fund of anec­dotes Graveney has ac­cu­mu­lated in the 46 years he has been in­volved in First Class cricket.

Bab­ba­combe cel­e­brate their 1987 Brock­man Cup win

More than 120 past and present play­ers, of­fi­cials, sup­port­ers and mem­bers will e join­ing Graveney and co­me­dian Tank Sher­man for the cel­e­bra­tion din­ner.

Most of the guests still live lo­cally, al­though John Rankin is trav­el­ling down from Hamp­shire for the din­ner and Gary Kyn­man is fly­ing in from the Chan­nel Is­lands.

For­mer Torquay United de­fender Derek Har­ri­son, who played cricket for Bab­ba­combe in the early 1970s, will be at the din­ner.

Bab­ba­combe has long been known as a fam­ily club and quick look down the guest lists re­veals size­able con­tin­gents from the Pass­mores, the Gould­ings, the Drakes the Good­wins and the Lo­rams, among oth­ers.

El­der states­men Arthur Per­rett and Max Sand­ford were along the first ex-play­ers to re­serve their places.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from neigh­bour­ing clubs in­clude Paul Mitchell (Ab­botsker­swell) and Colin Knight (Paign­ton).

Paul Bates, a long-time player and for­mer first XI cap­tain, will be mas­ter of cer­e­monies for the evening. One of Bates’ re­spon­si­bil­i­ties will be to run a bumper raf­fle. Among the prizes pledged are bats signed by Gra­ham Gooch and the late Keith Miller, meals out, signed county shirts, and a Christ­mas ham­per.

Head­line spon­sors for the event are Devon ac­coun­tancy firm Dar­nells.

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