Interview by Miles Dilworth
Role: Captain of Cricket / Deputy Chairman
Nicknames: Deaks, Norman Stanley, LeBron
Special strength: Taking wickets with longhops
Cricketing hero: Wolfie
Walk out song: American Pie - Don McLean (come on tour to find out why)
Richmond CC in three words: My second home
You have been at the club since 2001. What have been your highlights?
The Cotswolds tour is always a highlight and everyone should experience it at least once. I have been involved in four league wins, but winning the 2nd Xl league in 2010 stands out. I’ll never forget taking the final wicket off the last ball of the match against Brondesbury to win the game. Brondesbury finished second, three points behind us.
I must mention last season, too, which I draw great pride from [Deaks was captain]. We finished second, however, had we not been rained off at Teddington, while eventual champions Shepherd’s Bush managed to get a game in and win, we would have won the league. We had a great set of lads and it was really pleasing to see a number of ex Richmond colts play key roles in our success.
Tell us about your new role as Deputy Chairman / club mascot / squash diluter.
My primary role is Captain of Cricket. It is mainly a support role for the various captains, helping with strategy, recruitment and acting as chairman of selectors. The side and decisions belong to the captains but I am there to help ease their burden. With Covid-19, we have been focused on reducing our costs, generating additional revenue streams and generally guiding the club so that we still exist for future generations. There has been a huge effort and great support from our membership. We are in a strong position now and are all confident we will come out of this crisis in good shape.
Do I dare ask for your favourite off-the-field anecdote? Try to keep it family friendly...
Sam Goodwill [Deaks’ successor as 2nd XI captain] was 18 and on his first Richmond tour. Halfway through the week he was called out of the bar by the manager as his mum was on the phone at reception to check up on him and make sure he wasn't homesick. Heavy ribbing and fines followed. A few weeks later our academy side, which Sam was in, was in the Cup Final at ODP and there was a big crowd. As the boys took the field after tea they were in a huddle, I snuck behind the bar and got hold of the microphone for the PA system and announced: ‘Could Sam Goodwill please come to the bar, could Sam Goodwill please come to the bar. Your mum is on the phone and wants to know how you are.’ When I came outside his teammates were on the floor and his family, including his gran, were in hysterics. Sam didn't speak to me for two years. We are good mates now and he's a stronger character for it.
Sam said some pretty inflammatory things about you in his 'Who We Are' interview. Is there anything you'd like to say in response?
Earlier this year I spent an evening on the phone with an ex RCC team mate who is now England Cricket and Man City sports psychologist. It was clear that Sam was in a difficult position this season. Unfortunately, neither of us had David Moyes' number to set up a chat so Sam could see how he went about replacing Alex Ferguson. We decided that due to Sam's insecurities and need to stamp his authority on my team, I would create a forum where he could do this. Hence the ‘Who We Are’ series. You are welcome, Sam.
I've been asking others to describe themselves, but Sprog [2nd XI stalwart Stephen Bail] has saved you the bother: 'Looks like Ronnie Barker, spins a tale like Clive Barker, plays cricket like Sue Barker...and he's northern.' Is that a fair assessment?
Sprog has earned the right to have that opinion and it's probably not a million miles away. As long as I get a right to reply when he is interviewed.
I don't think there is anyone at Richmond who is as outwardly passionate about the club as you are. How big a part has it played in your life?
Massive. It has been like a second family. As a direct result of Richmond, I have two God children, have been a best man, an usher twice and I met my ex-wife at Old Deer Park. I am looking forward to giving back to the club what it has given to me.