Seaside team selects John Paul Getty II

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The Independent Online
ONE OF Yorkshire's oldest amateur cricket clubs has audaciously persuaded John Paul Getty II, son of the late US oil baron, to be its new president.

The county's cricketing types are particularly choosy when deciding who sets foot in their members' rooms and at first glance Sir Paul, who secured a British passport only in 1997, seemed a little short on local blood. Scarborough CC was undaunted, however, and Sir Paul accepted.

He has little to fear from the North Yorkshire locals. The club announced that it was "delighted" to have recruited the billionaire philanthropist and passionate cricket fan.

Cec Snell, the club's chief executive, was quick to discount any suggestions that Sir Paul had been approached for his money. "We'll show a profit for this year," he said. "There's also no capital outlay needed for a while, because we've done a lot of work on the ground. He doesn't have to get his wallet out."

But privately, the club hopes Sir Paul's connections will bring in new sponsors. Since the 1980s, key players have retired and several promising youngsters have been lost to county cricket.

The new president has much to live up to at the 150-year-old club. The Duke of Edinburgh, Sir Len Hutton, the Duchess of Kent and Michael Parkinson have all held the title Sir Paul is to take up from January.

The club hosts a famed, annual, week-long cricket festival, the 113th of which finished in glorious sun in front of large crowds on Sunday.

Sir Paul was introduced to cricket by Mick Jagger, and the game is credited with helping him to kick his drug habit. He is a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club, a former president of Surrey CCC and has built an oval in the grounds of his 2,500-acre estate in the Chilterns.

In 1997 he realised a dream when the visiting Australian Test side played his own team there. "I think the British passport was a minor event compared to that," he said.

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