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Past Player Days

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.