WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

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The Independent Online
By taking part in the inaugural first-class match there, England laid a milestone for cricket in Soweto, but they are not the first international side to play in the black township. That ground was broken 22 years ago, five years after the Basil D'Oliveira affair, with a one-day match between a D H Robins XI and an African XI coached by Don Wilson, in which John Edrich and Graham Roope each scored a century.

Roope, the former Surrey and England all-rounder, remembers the occasion. "We were the first white team to play in Soweto," he said. "At the time it was a major development and I'm a bit disappointed there's been little mention of that game. I know things went backwards later, but people then were trying to bring integration to sport and the game in Soweto was Derrick's idea to help things along.

"It was a very strong side, full of Test players but also including Younis Ahmed of Pakistan and John Shepherd - the West Indian who was the first black cricketer to tour South Africa."

Roope, who once kept goal for Wimbledon in the Southern League, retired from first-class cricket in 1982, but continued to play at minor counties level for Berkshire. After spells in sports management and the travel industry, he has ambitions to coach at professional level and now works for Ampleforth College, in Yorkshire, where Don Wilson is director of sports development. "After 18 years in the game, I want to put something back and I feel I've got a lot to offer," he said.

Based outside Leeds, where he lives with his fiancee, Ruth, Roope still plays regularly, at 49, for Farsley CC (president: R Illingworth) in the Bradford League. Divorced, he has two daughters, Charlotte, 20, and 16- year-old Fiona.

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