Club Cricket Conference

Monday, 27th March 2017

Welsh cricket community responds to help stricken Derrick

 

By Charles Randall

15 November 2016


Clubs in South Wales have been praised for rallying in support of  the much respected Welsh coach and former Glamorgan player John Derrick, who has had surgery for a brain tumour.

Derrick, 53, played for Glamorgan from 1983 to 1991 and joined the county support staff, rising to  first team coach before his appointment as  performance manager of the Cricket Board of Wales,  with responsibility for all the national age group teams.

Former  Glamorgan players Hugh Morris, Ian Thomas and Mike Powell, with the current wicketkeeper Mark Wallace, have started fund-raising to make Derrick's living arrangements more comfortable and provide financial security. The local cricket community, the Professional Cricketers’ Association benevolent fund and Royal London responded quickly and positively.

Powell, an insurance broker after retiring from first class cricket, disclosed that more than 300 tickets had been sold within two weeks for a John Derrick tribute dinner at the SWALEC County Ground in Cardiff  on 8 December. "It’s been very humbling to see Welsh cricket pulling in tight when we have needed it," he said. "Cricket clubs around Glamorgan have been phenomenal. A lot of them have taken a table at the dinner, which shows how much John is loved in this part of the world."

A JustGiving page raised £2,000 in the first week, which underlined the love and respect towards Derrick in Wales. Powell said: "John was a bit of father figure throughout my career. If it wasn’t for him I would definitely not have played first class cricket, so I owe my career to him. John has been involved in cricket for more than 35 years, so it is a very easy phone call for us to make, asking people to support him."

The PCA benevolent fund has built a reputation for helping current and former players and their dependants in times of hardship. The Caythorpe CC and former Nottinghamshire batsman Josh Mierkalns was an example this year, needing help to cope with a series of major operations for ulcerative colitis in the large bowel. Now working as a personal trainer at a David Lloyd gym in Nottingham, Mierkalns said: "I’ve spent endless days and nights in hospital wondering what was going to happen to me. Am I going to get better? Do I still want to live? I got that low and without the PCA’s help I definitely be in the position that I am today."

Darren Bicknell, a well known name in county cricket during his time as Surrey opener, sought help for scans on an arthritic hip that was restricting his mobility in his coaching duties as director of the Belvoir Castle Cricket and Countryside Trust. In despair over a 12-week delay in getting a scan, he rang the PCA and within a couple of days he saw a private consultant and the process moved forward quickly.

Luke Evans, the former Durham and Northamptonshire seamer, first sought PCA help last year after his wife suffered a stroke while the couple were on holiday in Greece. "Our castle has been knocked down and we have got to rebuild the foundation and the cement of that is the support of the people around us," he said. "High up on that list, if not at the top, is the cricketing community, the PCA and the Benevolent Fund and their contribution in a pretty grim situation. But the light is just starting to peek through."

Even the most eminent players can be vulnerable. Andrew Flintoff, currently president of the PCA, disclosed in August that he had needed help. "Playing professional cricket, you experience massive highs. Playing for Lancashire, playing for England in Ashes-winning series... but on the flip side of that I have had some pretty dark times as a professional cricketer," he said. "I have had times to myself where I didn’t know where to go. I was the type of player who was always bad at asking for help."

The latest PCA involvement is with John Derrick. The dinner in Cardiff is hoping to attract an attendance of 400, with exceptional auction items helping to build a sizeable fund.

Dinner tickets:
holly.littleton@glamorgancricket.co.uk

Donations:
www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/pcabenevolent/JohnDerrickDinner 

PCA Benevolent Fund:
http://www.thepca.co.uk/benevolent_fund.html