Chesterfield Cricket Lovers' Society


More than sixty members and guests were in attendance for the visit on Wednesday 16th November of Roger Knight, the former Surrey Captain, who, after Cambridge University, had also fitted in a distinguished teaching career with spells at Gloucestershire and Sussex. There had then followed over twelve years` service as Secretary/Chief Executive of MCC.

It was Mr. Knight's first visit to The Society since he had turned out for us on a particularly bitterly cold and snowy evening in the early 1990s, whilst Headmaster of Worksop College. He told us, however, that this was the first time he had been to Queen's Park since 1973 when, on the day after Gloucestershire had won the Gillette Cup at Lord's, they had been required to fulfil a Sunday League Fixture against Derbyshire. Unfortunately, not everybody had arrived in Chesterfield by the 2pm start time, which meant that Roger and off spinner John Mortimore had been obliged to open the bowling.

Mr. Knight devoted much of his address to his experiences as an Administrator at Lord's . He saw his role as Secretary/Chief Executive of MCC as being threefold. First, he had to run a private members' club, which was seventeen thousand strong. Apart from anything else this entailed organising about 400 Matches per Season for members to play in various parts of the country. The vast majority of these MCC One Day Fixtures were still played on a "timed" basis, with declarations to be considered, a format which our guest preferred to the "Limited Overs" concept, since it encouraged bowlers to take wickets rather than merely to restrict runs. In addition to Cricket, incidentally, MCC ran other Societies/Membership Groups, encompassing such activities as Golf, Real Tennis, Chess and Bridge.

Secondly, he had duties to administer Lord's. During his time as Chief Executive he had seen a number of major changes - the new Indoor Cricket School, new offices for the ECB, the new Grandstand and, of course the Media Centre. His third function had been as an ambassador for the Game,

Mr. Knight discussed the current position of MCC within the Game. It had written out the Laws of Cricket in 2000 and was Custodian of those Laws, It was also, however, Custodian of the Spirit of the Game, which meant Respect - for your own team colleagues; for the opposition and the Umpires; and for the traditional values of Cricket. He had been dismayed by the recent "spot-betting" scandal.

Since retiring from his post at Lord's in 2006 Mr. Knight had remained active in Cricket administration, having served as President of Surrey and of Cambridge University C C. He was also on the Board of Governors of a School in Taunton.

In "Questions and Answers" Roger ranged over such diverse topics as: the preparation of Lord's for its part in the 2012 Olympics; the impact of the introduction of Lady MCC Members; the use of technology in order to aid umpiring decisions; and some reminiscences of his experiences as a County Cricketer.

All in all, it was a thoroughly inspiring and educative evening for all of us, from a splendid Speaker.

We were pleased to welcome back as Chairman David Marshall, looking remark fit and well after his recent confrontation with the Surgeon's knife, followed by a spell of "Grandpaternity" leave in Kent. Members stood in silent respect for Jean Cockell, a founder member and Vice President, who had recently died. It was also announced that Mrs Doreen Buxton, the widow of Former Derbyshire Captain, Ian, had accepted the invitation to become a Vice President.

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