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Derek Semmence RIP


The committee regret to have to inform members of the recent passing of Derek Semmence the club pro between 1963 and 1965.  (Evo now believes there is only one surviving club pro from the pre-league era – David Post a sprightly 82 year old still actively involved match days with the Tics.)

Derek initially played for Sussex between 1956 and 1960.  He is still Sussex’s youngest centurion, scoring 108 against Nottinghamshire in his debut season aged just 18 years and 25 days.  After a gap of a year, he played one solitary match for Essex in 1962.  Torquay engaged Derek as their pro for 1963/4/5 - following in the footsteps of Jack Kelly.  His three years with the club were a success with the bat (RHB) and bowl (RM).  Although not re-engaged by the club for the 1966 season, he did make his final appearances for Devon that season.  Derek then returned to Sussex for a final two seasons.  Subsequently, he turned out for both Northumberland and Cambridgeshire.

Afterwards, for many years, Derek was the Professional at Hurstpierpoint College.  His most famous pupil was Martin Speight who went onto keep wicket for Sussex and Durham.  Speight was in the mighty Combined Universities side, containing the likes of Atherton and Hussian, who nearly turned Somerset over on the quarter finals of the 1989 B&H Cup.  (Daniel Doram who we will hopefully see in action with Torquay sometime this season was a pupil at the college in the post-Semmence era.)

Derek continued to play club cricket for Worthing well into the 2000s and like so many ex-pros now played for Sussex at O50, O60 and even O70 level.  Until recently it is understood he was still serving Worthing as their Club President.

In recent years.  His son, Mark, maintained the family links with Devon, when he was Headmaster at Mount Kelly before taking on the same position at Repton College – Chris Read was subsequently “poached” from Uppingham School to join him.

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