After the sad passing away of Derek Semmence recently, I was reminded by your webmaster that I was the last surviving full time professional at Torquay Cricket Club in 1960.
How things have changed. In the sixties T.C.C. played touring teams Monday to Thursday, Friday being the only day with no cricket. Teams such as Turners Sports from High Wycombe, Glamorgan Nomads, Coventry and North Warwick to name a few, brought very strong sides in the hope that they would beat Torquay CC. These mid-week games attracted large crowds, with deck chairs all around the boundary, and entry with score card was one shilling!! The fixture list included such teams as Pakistan Eaglets, The Australian Country XI, The Shell Shield winners Jamaica, and First Class County sides such as Sussex, Gloucestershire and Hampshire. The TCC bar was the busiest in the town and the enclosure full of members and friends on fine afternoons and evenings. Although Torquay had an extremely strong team sometimes guest players would supplement the side, and I recall with pleasure playing alongside the West Indies captain Frank Worrell and Bill Alley who was that year one of the five cricketers of the year, and many other well known, Test players. As the season progressed Torquay1st XI were the team everyone wanted to beat, and in fact it was not until the 38th game that the first defeat came.
As a club we were supporting local charities by arranging celebrity matches, and I recall the occasion at Cockington when the club raised a considerable sum as a contribution to the League of Friends of Torbay Hospital. The team of celebrities included such well known, names as Morecombe and Wise, Tommy Cooper and many other well known, comedians of the day. They got more laughs than runs!!!
Sadly, we are in lockdown without any prospect of cricket in the near future. We are however all trying to raise funds for the NHS as indeed we did 60 years ago. I hope that during these unusual dreadful times of Covid 19 you all stay safe, so we can look forward to the 20/21 season.