Saturday, August 15th, 2015

Lord King Of Lothbury Relishing Reunion With County Legend Graeme Hick

Lord King Of Lothbury Relishing Reunion With County Legend Graeme Hick

Worcestershire CCC president, Lord Mervyn King of Lothbury, has a love affair with the County stretching back unti the late 1950s.

The former Governor of the Bank of England, who replaced John Elliott as County President in March, was instantly hooked on the Club after watching his first match at New Road.

Now Lord King of Lothbury is delighted to be be assisting in an official capacity and has already shown his intention to play an active role by attending and playing a role at various functions which form part of Worcestershire CCC's 150th Anniversary celebrations.

Next Friday (August 21) he will be part of a dinner function at New Road which will mark the return to New Road of batting legend Graeme Hick – the day before the former England player is in charge of Australia Under-19s in their ODI versus England Under-19s on the ground.

Lord King of Lothbury said: "I spoke at the inauguration of the new pavilion in honour of Tom Graveney and Graeme Hick and one of the things I am looking forward to is seeing Graeme again when he comes to New Road with the Australian Under-19 side . I'll be presiding over a dinner the night before.

"It's a bit invidious because you can't usually compare but I think the batsmen who stood out for me were Tom Graveney and Graeme Hick."

Lord King of Lothbury's first introduction to New Road was in 1959. He said: "The very first memory is I came here in 1959 when George Dews was playing and he taught occasionally at my father's school which was a secondary modern school. We met him and he signed my scorebooks and it was the first autograph of a Worcestershire player I got.

"From then on we couldn't stop coming back to New Road. I'd take the Midland Red bus from Wolverhampton, often change at Kidderminster, a packet of cheese and marmite sandwiches, and sit and watch the cricket at the New Road End.

"I've lived abroad on a number of occasions, particularly the United States, but have aways followed Worcestershire initially in the press and then the internet when it got invented and then I was able to come a bit more regularly."

Lord King of Lothbury has vivid memories of the back to back County Championship triumphs – the first in Worcestershire's history.

He said: "The bowling was obviously the unit that won the Championship. The batting had always been a bit fragile although there were some very good players like Kenyon, Horton and Headley.

"It was when Tom Graveney arrived in 1964 and Basil D'Oliveira in 1965 that we had a strong batting line-up.

"To win the Championship you have to have bowlers to bowl sides out twice and Flavell, Coldwell, Carter, Gifford, Slade and Standen with Horton bowling off spin was an extraordinary powerful group of bowlers.

"In one season four bowlers took 100 wickets. It is hard to imagine these days, with bowlers getting tired after bowling a few hundred overs, when they used to bowl 1,000 overs a season."

Lord King of Lothbury is particularly delighted to be President at New Road in such a landmark year for Worcestershire CCC.

He said: "It was a tremendous honour to be asked to be president. I could never have imagined it especially in the 150th Year and it means a lot to me personally.

"I have been keen to play an active role. I spoke at a dinner the day before the New Zealand game and I'll be speaking a number of times this year for the club in various capacities.

"I made it clear to David Leatherdale (Chief Executive) that while I'm here, every minute is for him to suggest things I might usefully do to help the club which means so much to me."