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Paul (PACMAN) Bail : 1965-2024

Paul (PACMAN) Bail : 1965-2024

Chris Goldie25 Feb - 17:10
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One of Richmond's finest batters dies tragically at the age of just 58.

We are devastated to have learnt today that Paul (PACMAN) Bail, unquestionably one of Richmond's most talented batters of the last 35 years, collapsed and died on Saturday 24th February whilst playing golf. It goes without saying that this tragic and desperately cruel news has rocked those who played with and knew PAC has sent shockwaves through our family of cricketers.
Born in Weston Super Mare, PAC went to Millfield School and came through the Somerset ranks and made his County 1st XI debut in 1985. From there he went on to Cambridge University where he won Blues in both cricket and football, achieving a rare double of playing both at Lord's and Wembley Stadium. In 29 first-class games he scored over 1000 runs, which included an outstanding 174 in the 1986 Varsity Match at Lord's. In 1987 and 1988, he played alongside a young Mike Atherton for the university.
In 1990, he moved to London and joined Richmond but had a modest season scoring 424 runs. In 1991, as he adjusted to club cricket, he led the 1st XI scoring 587 runs. It was in 1992 however when he really showed us all his class. In that League season he scored 882 runs at an average of 64. He hit three centuries in the League that season and added a further 218 runs in cup matches. Throughout the 90's PAC was outstanding. He toured South Africa with the Club Cricket Conference and was regarded as one of the most talented players in club cricket. In the early part of the 21st century, PAC went back to play for Weston Super Mare but returned to Richmond and chose to play 2nd XI cricket, primarily because his availability became limited. However he became a hugely important senior player in that side, setting standards for Richmond's youngsters to aspire to and helping the 2's to win the league title in 2010. Among those younger players was his brother Stephen (Sprog) who also went on to be a stalwart of the club.
PAC also bowled leg-spin, taking important wickets when needed. He was also a magnificent fielder - a catch at long-on in the last over of a cup match against Bromley which in effect won us the game, will live forever in the memory.
He was at time a frustrating player. He played his way, aggressive but classy, and so he had spells when he would launch his trademark cover drive early in an innings only to be caught at slip but he was always true to his style. He would hit spectacular 6's over extra cover which would take your breath away. As he would often say, with a twinkle in his eye, "natural talent"!
Off the field, PAC was charm personified. Hugely popular throughout the club, he was much admired and much loved. His tragic, untimely passing is utterly horrible. Our deepest sympathies go out to his wife, Amanda, and his daughter Ella as well, of course, to Sprog and his family. He will be deeply missed by all of us who played with him. RIP Paccers.
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