Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

Worcs Chairman Pays Tribute To 30 Years Service Of Rhodes And Leatherdale

Worcs Chairman Pays Tribute To 30 Years Service Of Rhodes And Leatherdale

Worcestershire CCC chairman Stephen Taylor has paid tribute to Steve Rhodes and David Leatherdale who this year are both celebrating 30 years service with the County.

Taylor hailed the contribution of the duo who recveived a Long Service Award during last night's Gala Evening-Awards Night staged at New Road.

Yorkshire pair Rhodes and Leatherdale both arrived at New Road in 1985 looking to establish themselves as first team players and played with distinction for two decades.

Rhodes became assistant coach to Tom Moody in 2005 but quickly was promoted to Director of Cricket mid-way through that season.

Leatherdale became Commercial Manager when he hung up his spikes in 2006 before eventually replacing Mark Newton as Chief Executive in 2010.

Taylor said: "Who would have thought that two Yorkshiremen would rock up at New Road in 1985 and have such an impact on the club for the past 30 years!

"But I'm proud to say that is the case at Worcestershire CCC and I would like to pay tribute to the massive contribution of Steve Rhodes and David Leatherdale on and off the field for three full decades.

"Now they are both modest men and you never hear them talking about their own achievements with the County.

"But I think it is only fitting that what they have done at this great club for so long should be recognised.

"They both are as passionate about Worcestershire and care about Worcestershire as if they were born and bred in the County instead of being two young men of the North who came here looking to build first class careers in the game.

"Of course, it was shortly after the arrival of the pair of them, who would go onto be nicknamed Bumpy and Lugsy that Worcestershire would embark on one of the golden periods in their playing history.

"Back to back County Championship titles, back to back Sunday League titles, Lord's One-Day final successes followed from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s.

"Worcestershire was suddenly the 'in' county – not only for superstars like Ian Botham and Graham Dilley – but also the big rock stars of the day like Elton John, George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Jeff Lynne.

"But although there were a lot of stars what stood out about Steve and David was the fact they were really good traditional cricketers with a lot of passion for the game.

"They were your really solid players, from whom you knew what you were going to get, how they were going to perform, and 99% of the time that's what they did.

"Bumpy, of course, went onto play Test and One-Day cricket for England as well as being one of the best wicket-keepers on the county circuit and a lower middle-order batsman who made many contributions to Worcestershire's success, often when most needed and the backs were to the wall.

"David figured in many of those rescue partnerships with Bumpy, was a more than useful performer with the ball, particularly in limited overs cricket, and one of the best close to the wicket fielders of his era.

"They would both admit it was not easy making the steps to the other side of the fence and both learnt a lot in that transition.

"But Steve getting his England Lions recognition for this winter just shows where he is going as a coach and as a Director of Cricket and the squad of young talent he and his backroom team have helped to assemble – Matt Mason, Kevin Sharp, Elliot Wilson and not forgetting the late Damian D'Oliveira – means the future is bright.

"With David, as chief executive, I now realise how highly he is held in the ECB as one of the chief executives who has the cricket experience and knowledge as well as the commercial and business experience.

"It is also a significant period in the club's history with the rebuilding of New Road, and Phase 3 is next on the agenda, and to have David at the helm is reassuring and gives a confidence that the club is in safe and reliable hands.

"I know there have been good and bad times in those 30 years, on and off the pitch, but having that consistency really does well for the future and holds us in good stead at what is quite a turbulent time in cricket at the moment.

"Us having the consistency that Steve and David bring is crucial.

"That loyalty to the club, now both 30 years apiece, is immense and there would not be many people at other counties in such positions of authority that have that amount of service under their belts with one county.

"It is a massive achievement and a massive thank you for what Steve and David have achieved – and hopefully will do so for many years to come."