Norman fears for club cricket's future
CRICKET: Few cricketers have emerged from Ipswich schools as talented as Richard Robinson, the former Suffolk all-rounder who died earlier this year.A special match is being played for Robinson on Thursday, June 27, at Rushmere Sports Club, the home of his main club Browns.
FEW cricketers have emerged from Ipswich schools as talented as Richard Robinson, the former Suffolk all-rounder who died earlier this year.
A special match is being played for Robinson on Thursday, June 27, at Rushmere Sports Club, the home of his main club Browns.
It will be part of Browns' golden jubilee celebrations, the club being formed in 1952 and having played most of its cricket at Humber Doucy Lane, before moving to Rushmere six years ago.
Robinson served Browns for 20 years and was captain for much of that time and club stalwarts Terry Bailey and Allan Collins are putting together a side for June 27.
"We will play under the name of a Richard Robinson memorial XI and will pit our wits against the current Browns side," said Bailey.
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"I am trying to get as many previous Browns captains as possible to take part, although a couple of players will be unable to make it as they are playing for a Suffolk XI against Browns the following day."
A number of ex-Browns stars will be returning including prolific run-getter Tony Warrington and seam bowler John Richardson, who is now living and playing in Norfolk.
Robinson, a talented competitor at most sports, had a natural leaning towards cricket.
He could hit the ball harder than anyone in the county and could bowl with as much accuracy and venom, if necessary, as anybody in Suffolk.
But perhaps the most memorable moments for spectators came from his spectacular catches in the slips.
Any edge, however fast, that came within a yard or two was pouched by an enormous hand that would stretch out and gobble its prey.
Like all big-hitters, 'Robbo' struggled to score runs consistently. Too often his pleasure at seeing the ball fly over the boundary would induce him to strike out before he had a proper sight of the ball or a knowledge of the pace of the wicket.
Some opposition captains knew this and resorted to spin as soon as 'Robbo' appeared at the wicket.
But woe betide any team who failed to take any early chances that came their way. For when 'Robbo' got his eye in he was impossible to contain.
Good length balls that would worry any normal batsman to death would be sent hurtling back beyond the bowler with such pace that a man standing on the boundary beside the sightscreen would stand no chance of cutting it off.
Decent bowling attacks would be massacred, whether at club or Minor County level.
The season after Richardson moved to Norfolk, Browns operated successfully in the top flight of the Two Counties Championship with virtually three bowlers, the Howlett brothers, Graham and Keith, and Robinson.
Such was the stamina and accuracy of this all-seam attack that even the best batsmen around failed to get to grips with the situation.
'Robbo' would open the bowling, remove the core of the opposition batting, take a rest to allow the Howletts to wreak their havoc and then return at a more leisurely pace to remove the tail.
Sometimes he resorted to spin to get out a stubborn batsman, such was his versatility.
He was fortunate to play in a county side that contained a host of other star Suffolk-based performers in the astute Bobby Cunnell, elegant Roger Howlett, consistent Colin Rutterford and run-machine Warrington.
But few in the history of Suffolk cricket have possessed the natural ability of a player who died just one season after qualifying for what could have been another successful cricketing period – with the Suffolk Over 50s.
His special game starts at 11.30 am and many a glass will be raised in his memory during the day.