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Another retirement – another kindness shown


Following the appointment of Paul Downton, ex-Sevenoaks School student, past England wicket-keeper and past Managing Director of England & Wales Cricket Board, as Director of Cricket of Kent County Cricket Club my role became redundant. It is the first time Kent Cricket has had a Director of Cricket and it is an exciting role – with responsibility for the development of the professional teams and the identification of young talent and its development from U11 onward. As the profile below shows, the young talent part was my role – so I can now, at 76, leave it to others (Paul is only 60!).

So what have I been up to until now?

I played cricket for Bexley, Beckenham, Dartford and Gravesend, was a playing member of MCC and played for Kent 2nd XI. I served in various coaching and administrative roles in Kent Schools’ Cricket since 1967 and am currently its President. I selected and coached English Schools’ regional and national teams at Under 15 and Under 18 levels and was Chairman of English Schools’ Cricket Association in 1988 and of the South Region from 1996 to 2001.

I worked within Kent County Cricket Club, under Colin Page, coaching aspiring young players and young professionals. From 1967 to 2002 I coached Kent’s Under 15 to Under 18 county teams. I served on Kent Cricket Board (now Kent Cricket Community Group) from its inception and on Kent County Cricket Club General Committee, as a co-opted member, from 1979 until 2002 and from 2013 until 2018. I was until 2018 Chairman of the Pathway Group, responsible for the planning and delivery of programmes to identify and develop young talent. I “marketed” the absorbing of the professional game (Kent County Cricket Club) and the recreational game (Kent Cricket Board) into one body (branded Kent Cricket) and formulated its structure.

So at the end of my contribution, over 50 years, I have stood down. No payments involved over that time, just a desire to support the game and its young players. As with most volunteers you just get stuck in and hope others appreciate your efforts.

Well the County Cricket Club has certainly shown its appreciation in a huge gesture: by appointing me a (Life) Vice President of the Club.  I will not name drop, the other 13 are listed elsewhere – and they cause me to feel humbled.


Always heed good advice!


“Never put Fairy Liquid in your beer”

This photo was taken after hearing gurgling whilst showering in a hotel room.
Reward: Drinks on the house for the evening!

Mixed emotions


Since my last post in March my life has been like a blender; emotions and pressures of all sorts and varying degrees of pleasure and sadness mixed into outcomes of mild stress yet satisfaction. Sounds a bit schizo!

The main sadness was hearing that my good friend and colleague councillor John Cubitt had decided, through ill health, to stand down as Leader of the Council. That led to me taking over – at a time when we are losing £3m of government grant, grappling with the approaches to the Lower Thames Crossing passing through our villages, reacting to the planned extension of Bluewater, seeking to gain the best we can from Ebbsfleet Garden City and London Resort leisure park and seeking to extend crossrail to the borough  (so we can hop on a train here to get to Heathrow!). That has put pressure on the time of an old man and, despite all efforts, decreased ability to watch cricket!

Freeman.jpgDT Freeman 2017

On the other hand I have reason to be very pleased. My 41 years on the council and work in national and county cricket and rugby has been acknowledged by my election to be a Freeman of the Borough (see picture of scroll containing the citation, and the associated badge).

Also, I am about (hush!) to be promoted to a senior post in England Rugby Schools (ERFSU).

So the last few months have seen no change in the pattern of my life: I am asked to do things and I can’t say “No”.  But my body is beginning to say, “Don’t be silly, slow down”. But then that’s another trait: I don’t give in and I ignore good advice!

Such a kind gesture



I have now successfully completed 50 years of interfering with the work of others and the Rugby Football Union recognised that with a very kind gesture; giving me a “Valued Volunteer – Lifetime Achievement Award”.

This was presented to me at the England v France game post-match dinner by the England Head Coach, Eddie Jones, and I’m pleased to say that my finger nails were not so sore after the game that I couldn’t hold the certificate!

I was treated with great kindness before and after the match and was hosted by my friends from England Rugby Football Schools Union, RFU Council Members Fred Batchelor and Chris Kelly, who is RFU Junior Vice President, together with their wives, Pat and Morag.

So – a big “Thank You” to all concerned.

Torture by telephone (company): Update


Just in case you are really really interested in the saga (see blog titled Torture by telephone (company)): I eventually left Vodafone in March 2016 with a little compensation and successfully moved to another provider.

Job done then. Well not quite: EVERY month since then I have a received a text and an email from Vodaphone informing me that my bill for the month is £124!  The good news is, of course, that I can ignore them without the hassle of being cut off like the bad old days!

Assertion disproved?


Watson Grand Slam Try

For many decades England Rugby Football Schools Union was responsible for selecting U16 Divisional Squads, for arranging a Divisional Festival and selecting / coaching England U16 teams. In recent years its competence to do so was challenged in some corridors of the Rugby Football Union; there were claims that we picked the wrong players, not least by selecting early maturers.

The inevitable occurred last season: the Professional Game at Twickenham took over the responsibility, creating (very reasonably and understandably from the perspective of its remit) emphasis on searching out and developing those aspiring to play professional rugby. No interest is now shown in those talented school players who don’t want to go to Academies, don’t want to play professionally; just want the chance to represent their country as an U16.

However, this post is about challenging the claim that we (I was Chairman of Selectors of London & South East Division (LSE) and an England selector for the last 5 seasons) made poor selections. Yesterday (19th March 2016) England completed an historic season by winning the Grand Slam. The England squad included 8 of our LSE players:

Jack Clifford (2008/2009)
Elliot Daly (2008/2009)
Owen Farrell (2007/2008)
Jamie George (2006/2007)
Maro Itoje (2009/2010)
Joe Launchbury  (2006/2007)
Kyle Sinkler (2008/2009) (Harlequins) [update 27/11/2016]
Anthony Watson (2010/2011)
Marland Yarde (2007/2008)

There were others in the squad from divisions elsewhere in the country and whilst I can’t recall all the boys who played for us (I just did my job!) George Ford and Luke Cowan-Dickie did, Michael Haywood (LSE)  and others are in contention. Some of the “older” players were in our U16 England teams (like Ben Youngs), but I wasn’t directly involved when they were around.

A plethora of others are in the professional game: From LSE U16 squads mainly 2007/2008 to 2010/2011 (ie not including players in the other three divisions)
Harry Allen (2007/2008) (L Irish)
Nick Auterac (2008/2009) (Bath)
George Catchpole (2009/2010) (Leicester)
Danny Cipriani (2006/2007) (Sale)
Nathan Earle (2010/2011) (Saracens)
Matt Gallagher (2012/2013) (Saracens)
Matt Hankins (2008/2009) (Saracens)
Michael Haywood (2007/2007) (Northampton)
Will Hooley (2009/2010) (Exeter)
Harry Lightfoot-Brown (2011/2012) (L Irish)
George Merrick (2008/2009) (Harlequins)
Ben Ransom (2007/2008) (Saracens)
Harry Sloan (2009/2010) (Harlequins)
Tom Smallbone (2009/2010) (L Irish)
Nick Tompkins (2010/2011) (Saracens)
Sam Twomey (2007/2008) (Harlequins)
Jackson Wray (2006/2007) (Saracens)
etc, etc – my memory is fading

So there! lol

Anyone have a mallet?


DT Mallet (1)I thought I’d post a few examples of how the best laid admin can be of no avail.  I could quote a lot more …… and may do as I recall them!

I am Administrator for Kent Schools’ Rugby Football Union and keep in touch with schools by email and on our website;

  1. In November I sent an email to all schools saying that it was time to enter our U13, U14, U15 and U16 Sevens Competitions. It said entries can only be done on line and explained (highlighted in yellow) how to navigate to the right page and stated the link to click on
    Immediate email response from one teacher: “Great Dave! How do we enter?
  2. Today I emailed the few schools that had gone on line to enter but had yet to pay, explaining just that and that the closing date was getting near
    Immediate email response from one teacher: “Thanks. Have we paid?”