Monday, December 7th, 2015

England Hero From 40 Years Ago Guest Speaker Of Cricket Society

England Hero From 40 Years Ago Guest Speaker Of Cricket Society

The short list has just been announced for the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year – but the winner of the award 40 years ago will be the guest speaker of the Worcestershire Cricket Society in the Graeme Hick Pavilion tomorrow evening (Tuesday) starting at 7.30pm.

David Steele was called into the England side by captain Tony Greig at the age of 33 and became an Ashes hero in 1975 who caught the imagination of the cricketing public.

He only played eight Tests but left an indelible mark on English cricketing history with the way he stood up to some of the most fearsome bowlers in the world.

Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson, who had destroyed England the previous winter Down Under, were first on the menu followed by Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Wayne Holding and Worcestershire's own Vanburn Holder.

The bespectacled, gey-haired Steele was an unlikely looking figure to face this fearsome barrage and when he went out to bat for his debut at Lord's, Thomson greeted him with 'what have we got here, Groucho Marx'

But Steele showed immense courage in making scores of 50,45, 73, 92, 39 and 66 against the Aussies and led Greig to say 'he was the man who would fight for me to the death.'

He was voted Sports Personality of the Year and one of the five Wisden Cricketers Of The Year.

It was a similar story the next summer and Steele scored a superb century against the Windies at Trent Bridge.

But he was overlooked for the winter tour of India, supposedly because of a weakness against spin, and that was the end of his Test career and he went back to playing county cricket for Northamptonshire and Derbyshire until his retirement in 1984.

Steele will no doubt be recalling those two golden summers in his career next Tuesday and non Cricket Society members can attend for an admission charge of £3.

A reminder that the traditional mince pies and mull wine will be available to enjoy in the last Society evening before Christmas.