Cricket Club Issue 41 - Page 49

Plymouth children’s involvement as they were the lifeblood to ensure the Club’s future. “Plymouth has always encouraged the development of young players and this has borne fruit over the last few years with 7 of our young players selected for the Devon Lions development side and 3 players for the full county side. “The County always supported the clubs and he felt it is important that the club support the County. After a number of years of concentrating on off the field matters everyone at Plymouth can now concentrate on what really matters – playing Cricket.” In 1990, Keith White MBE and Bob Widdecombe MBE bought Plymouth Cricket Club saving it from closure and going into administration. Keith White, Managing Director and co-owner of Michael Spiers Jewellers together with Bob Widdecombe, Director of Vospers joined together to revive the ailing sports Club. Both highly successful businessmen and sports enthusiasts…Keith, a county and international squash player, and Bob a county and national badminton player relished the thought of promoting the Club. To their credit they installed the first Astroturf in the South West enabling hockey, five a side football, tennis and American football to be played on this surface. The semi-finals and finals of the National hockey tournaments were staged at the Club in 1999. Both men were members of the Lords Taverner’s and were commended to the Sports Minister at the time and granted the opportunity of a synthetic wicket for the Cricket Club. England International Geoffrey Boycott OBE and Sir Ian Botham OBE as well as Somerset’s Sir Viv Richards OBE all came to the Club to promote the game and obviously were welcomed by large crowds of people. The ‘Michael Spiers Invitation Squash Tournament’ hosted some of the leading overseas internationals took place at the Club as well as hosting Jahangir Khan the famous ten times squash world champion. The American football was certainly an innovation and very successful part of the Club. The Club produced many rising stars especially in the hockey section where John Bleby and several other players were selected for England International Honours. Gary Drake, a junior Wimbledon champion, trained at the Club and was sponsored by Keith and Bob. At its peak there were over 3,000 members. Keith and Bob were extremely proud of their contribution to the city of Plymouth and certainly encouraged all the schools and universities to use their facilities. The Club was eventually sold to the directors of Plymouth Argyle and subsequently was taken by Goals R Us. Plymouth Cricket Club moved to Mount Wise where it has enjoyed great success. Keith continues to be a sponsor of the Cricket Club and wishes them every success for the coming sea