Derek Bridge: Giant of Minor Counties cricket

 

Derek Bridge was a man of many parts. By profession, a distinguished schoolmaster of long standing, for more than half a century, he also served the world of cricket with unswerving devotion. Here, his unstinting efforts, both on and off the field, made a most vital contribution to the game at all levels.

The eldest son of an electrical engineer, Bridge enjoyed a somewhat nomadic childhood, educated at Newbury Grammar School, Selhurst Grammar School and The King's School, Peterborough. However, like so many of his generation, his seemingly effortless progress was rudely interrupted by the Second World War. Having served as a captain in the Tank Regiment he returned to his studies, reading English at Hertford College, Oxford.

Although he was a talented right-arm off-spin bowler and resourceful lower-order batsman, his first class cricket career encompassed a mere two months in the summer of 1947. At the beginning of May, he took 2 wickets for 30 runs for Oxford University against Gloucestershire in The Parks.

A month later came the first of three appearances for Northamptonshire as he scored 25 not out against the visiting South African tourists. Two further games quickly followed, a rather uninspiring draw with Surrey at Peterborough and then a trouncing within two days by Warwickshire at Edgbaston, as the legendary leg spinner Eric Hollies ended with match figures of 11-101.

Alongside cricket, Bridge's equally enduring sporting passion remained rugby union. Tall, lithe and extremely quick on his feet, in his day he wasa dashing wing three-quarter. Having been awarded a Blue three years in succession while at Oxford, he went on to play for the Barbarians, Bedford, Richmond, Dorset, Wiltshire, the East Midlands – and on one occasion made the reserve bench for an England international.

In 1948, his talents found a particularly happy and expressive outlet teaching English at Sherborne School. There, over the next four decades, both the breadth of his intellect and the warmth of his personality made him an inspirational guide for countless generations of students. Equally at home in the classroom or on the games field, Bridge influenced all aspects of school life. Having served as an officer in the Combined Cadet Corps, for 21 years he ran the 1st XI Cricket team and, from 1959 until 1974, served as Housemaster of Harper House.

He made his debut for Dorset at Dorchester in July 1949, his first ball in Minor Counties cricket claiming the wicket of the redoubtable Lancashire batsman Cyril Washbrook, caught behind for 15. Captaining the side for 12 seasons from 1954 onwards, his best bowling return of 7 for 40 came at Wimborne in August 1959 and heralded a fine 10-wicket victory over Berkshire. Amid a remarkable 20-year playing career with the county he made 173 appearances, scored almost 3,600 runs and captured 429 wickets.

Soon after retiring from playing, Bridge joined the Dorset committee, serving as secretary from 1977 until 1993. Proving an able administrator with an ordered mind and a keen eye for detail, he also became the first Chairman of the Dorset Cricket Board. At the same time, his expertise found a ready outlet within the management structures of the Minor Counties Cricket Association. In 1993, he succeeded Derek Wing as Chairman of its all-powerful Cricket and Selection Committee.

For many years he represented the Minor Counties Cricket Association, initially on the Test and County Cricket Board and later on its immediate successor, the English Cricket Board. When, during the 1990s, the very future of the MCCA was threatened by the radical restructuring proposals contained within the all-encompassing Maclaurin Report, Bridge proved as adept in committee as he had been out in the middle. Indeed, the very continuation of competitive cricket at minor-counties level bears testimony to his remarkable talents.

It was easy to like Derek Bridge: he was a modest man, pleasant and friendly, his cricket matching his personality, stylish and elegant. A sporting ambassador without equal, for five years between 1997 and 2002 he enjoyed a particularly successful period as President of the Minor Counties Cricket Association. At the time of his death he was the long-serving President of Dorset County Cricket Club.

Derek James William Bridge, schoolmaster and sportsman: born Crumpsall, Manchester 30 November 1921: married 1944 Sheila Chivers (died 2011; one son, two daughters); died Tyn-y-Graig, Builth Wells, Powys 13 March 2012.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living