By Neil Fissler
Andy Lloyd remembers well Bob Willis’ first season in charge of Warwickshire as it brought about a change in fortunes for the county.
Warwickshire, who hadn’t won a trophy since lifting the County Championship in 1972, started the season magnificently.
The county who had finished in the bottom half of the table the season before swept all before them in the opening weeks of the Sunday League.
Hampshire (eight wickets), Yorkshire (five wickets), Sussex (nine wickets), Lancashire (eight wickets) all fell in the opening month. Then Surrey (16 runs), Essex (five runs), Northants (26 runs) and Middlesex (five wickets) quickly followed them.
It wasn’t until the ninth game of the season against Worcestershire at New Road that they finally tasted defeat by 15 runs.
Lloyd said: “This was Bob Willis’ first season as captain and we won the first eight games of the season unbelievably and he was away at the Tests.
“So we fiddled around with Dave Hopkins and Steve Perryman playing a bit and it ended up that half way through the year he signed John Snow.
“I remember he came to play the last seven or eight games for us and caused great hilarity when he dived for a ball at Leicester.
“He got green stains on his trousers and nobody had ever seen those before on John Snow’s trousers.”
Even though the second half of the season didn’t go as well, winning only three of there remaining eight games Warwickshire hung on.
They claimed the title on the penultimate weekend of the season after beating Leicestershire by six wickets at Grace Road after chasing down 181.
They held off Somerset in second place by two points after losing the final game of the season at Edgbaston to their nearest rivals by 26 runs.
Lloyd added: “Middlesex also started the season pretty well but then we beat them which gave us a bit of a cushion over them.
“But Somerset in those days were very competitive with Ian Botham, Viv Richards and Joel Garner but for some reason they didn’t get off to a very good start.
“And our last game of the season was against Somerset but thankfully by then we were six points clear and had already won the league the previous week.
“They beat us and got second place but we weren’t too bothered. We were still celebrating from the week before.
“We won the County Championship in 1972 but that was the first time that we had got anywhere near any silverware since that time.”
REAR LINE (left to right):
Geoff Humpage: The wicket-keeper batsman joined the West Midlands constabulary and was a policeman in Birmingham.
John Claughton: Batsman. Became a master at Eton College, then head master at Solihull School and is now chief master at King Edward’s School in Edgbaston.
Gladstone Small: The England fast bowler has worked as a cricket commentator and also works the after-dinner and corporate hospitality circuits.
Chris Maynard: A wicket-keeper/batsman. Career was ended by a knee injury. Has been a publican in Wales.
David Smith: Batsman brother of Paul who also played for Warwickshire. Has worked in marketing and been CEO of Leicestershire and Northants. Now runs a sandwich shop.
Steve Rouse: Seam bowler. Started his own sportsground maintenance business before returning to Edgbaston as head groundsman. Was then consultant head groundsman for the Dutch cricket board.
David Hopkins: Seamer who now lives in Halesowen and has been working as a quantity surveyor since leaving school.
Anton Ferreira: South African born allrounder who became his country’s director of coaching. Now coaching manager for Cricket South Africa.
John Snow: England fast-bowling legend. Went on to play in Kerry Packer’s World Series which gave him the money to set up a successful travel business.
John Whitehouse: Opening batsman. Went on to captain the county, became a successful businessman in newspapers and magazines and then served as cricket chairman and honorary treasurer.
FRONT LINE (left to right):
Steve Perryman: Seamer who went into coaching with Warwickshire and now runs his own coaching business. Is also a director of sports equipment company Cicada Sports in West Bromwich.
Alvin Kallicharran: The dashing West Indian now lives in North Carolina where he has spent time coaching.
Dennis Amiss: England opening batsman who became chairman of the Warwickshire committee. He was then deputy chairman of the ECB until 2011 and now runs the Amiss Consultancy.
Bob Willis: England fast bowler who captained his country. Went into the media with Sky, then the BBC before rejoining Sky Sports.
David Brown: England seam bowler who retired from the game to farm and breed racehorses and ran Furnace Mill Farm in Wyre Forest, near Kidderminster, until retiring.
Dilip Doshi: Indian spinner. Is now the managing director and of Indian luxury goods distributor Entrack International.
Phil Oliver: Batsman who runs sports equipment company Cicada Sports in West Bromwich and is also an ECB coach.
Andy Lloyd: One-Test England batsman who became Warwickshire’s chairman of cricket. Had a corporate hospitality business and now runs a stud farm.
Chris Clifford: An off-spinner who is the all-time leading wicket taker in the Yorkshire League, spending 40 seasons with Scarborough. Was also a PE teacher.
Gordon Lord: Batsman. Worked in training and development for the Lucas Group before going into coaching and is the ECB’s head of elite coach development.
Keith Maguire: A seamer who, after being released in 1983, became a policeman with the West Midlands Constabulary.
Alfie Sam: A batsman who hailed from St Vincent. Was last known to be working and living in New York.
Tony Smith: The all rounder brother of David is now living in Perth, Australia. He has worked in advertising sales and was general manager of Salmat for 20 years.
Gary Thomas: A batsman who is now living in Cape Town where he became a successful businessman running a hotel as well as other investments.
This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper, Friday June 10 2016
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