Chesterfield Cricket Lovers' Society


Any suggestion that our Anniversary Celebrations began merely "well" would be a modest understatement; with Geoff Miller`s visit to Chesterfield F C`s PROACT Stadium on the10th of October we were away to a "flyer". A highly acclaimed and accomplished public speaker, Mr. Miller was at the top of his form and entertained the audience of over 150 Members and guests for more than two and a half hours (punctuated only by a half time interval for supper). He was unstinting in his efforts to make the evening a memorable one for The Society and he succeeded! In the first half of he Meeting he recounted anecdotes from his life in Cricket, beginning in his extreme youth and then working through his distinguished Test career to his present position as the National Selector, in which capacity he has presided over the winning by England of three Ashes Series and has taken them to the top of the Test Cricket and Limited Overs` International Tables. Mr. Miller has, of course, made many friends in the world of Cricket over the years, none more so than Sir Ian Botham, and he had witty stories to tell of their experiences on tour. His humour, however, was self-deprecating in the main and there was never any attempt to poke fun at, or belittle, other well known sportsmen - Geoff`s jokes were invariably directed against himself.

What shone through Geoff`s address like a beacon was his pride at being a local lad. Born, raised and educated in Chesterfield, despite his many years of prominence on the international sporting stage, he had retained his roots in and around the town. (He was delighted to be appointed during the evening as an Honorary Life Member of the Society).He was quick to acknowledge his debt of gratitude to his late parents for their support, as well as to several local junior coaches who had helped him on his way, including Jim Brailsford, who was present at the Meeting. It was clear that one of the reasons for Geoff`s enduring success had been his sense of perspective. This was illustrated by two incidents. During a Test Match in which he had enjoyed some personal bowling success the Team had been presented to H M The Queen, who had made a point of stopping in order to congratulate him. Back home a couple of days later he had been scolded by the Refuse Collector for having failed to make his dustbin sufficiently accessible. "Next time you can empty your own bin, Miller!"

Geoff Miller gave the Meeting an update on the illness of Christopher Martin-Jenkins, who had originally planned to be our speaker on this particular occasion. It was agreed that our Chairman should send a message of good wishes to CM-J on behalf of everybody in the room.

After the interval Mr. Miller turned his considerable talents to auctioneering, selling off four items (two signed England Team Photographs, which he had kindly supplied, and two signed Cricket Shirts, generously donated by John and Ian Blackwell and Derbyshire C C C respectively). This effort raised a massive £340 to augment Society funds.

There then followed a "Q & A" Session, during which our guest dealt with several topics, some serious; others more light hearted, ranging from "KP", to Ravi Bopara, to Sir Ian and to the make-up of the Test Selection Panel and how each member interacted with each other over division of work, expression of opinions, etc..The final question of the evening related to "the most famous dive in Derbyshire Cricket History" which Geoff was happy to relive for the benefit of his audience and which had resulted in the 1981 NatWest Trophy being diverted away from Northampton to a more northerly destination!

A gracious vote of thanks was given by Simon Storey, the new Chief Executive of Derbyshire C C C and David Marshall, Niven Roper and Mike Taylor were thanked by our President, Trevor Bowring, for all their organizational efforts in making the event such a success.

Earlier in the evening Mr. Marshall had given a most warm and friendly welcome to all the members and their guests and introduced them to those on the top table, who included Mrs Doreen Buxton (our most recently appointed Vice President and the daughter-in-law of one of the founder members), Mr. Bob Wood (Secretary of The Council of Cricket Societies) and Mrs Wood and former Derbyshire all rounder Mr. Peter Eyre .He thanked President Trevor for his invaluable support for the Meeting; also Niven and Mike for their preparatory work in liaising with Chesterfield F C . He asked us to remember the name of the late Frank Robinson, without whose vision and work The Society would never have been founded.

A superb start to our Celebrations, with much more to come…….

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