Somerset hang portrait of ex-captain, chairman and president Kerslake in 1875 Club

Brian Rose (left) and Roy Kerslake at the unveiling

A PORTRAIT of Somerset’s former captain, chairman and president Roy Kerslake is now on display in the 1875 Club in the Somerset Pavilion at the Cooper Associates County ground in Taunton.

The portrait, by local artist Mike Tarr, was unveiled on the opening day of Somerset’s final home match of the season, the game against Surrey, which was abandoned on Friday due to bad weather.

Kerslake started his cricket career with home-town club Paignton and was quickly talent spotted by Devon CCC, playing in their colts side in the late 1950s, alongside future Test umpire David Shepherd. He made his Somerset  2nd XI debut in 1960 and the following season was a virtual ever-present in the 2nd XI that won the Minor Counties Championship for the first and only time.

Kerslake dismissed Somerset legend Viv Richards on 98 playing for the Minor Counties against the Windies at Torquay in 1976. He  played for the Minor Counties when they beat the touring Australians in 1977 at Sunderland.

Kerslake served Somerset as 1st XI captain, chairman and president, a position he stepped down from in 2015.

Before the portrait was unveiled Brian Rose, who led Somerset in the ‘Glory Years’ spoke of the important part Kerslake played during that time.

“During the late 70s and early 1980s when Roy was an integral part of the team and cricketing community, he helped me enormously and was a forerunner of what has now become director of cricket,” said Rose.

“Roy helped me personally in so many ways as a young player when I was fighting to get back into the side.

“He went on to become chairman of the club during a time when the club had its problems, and some of the members criticised him for being too close to the players. I was very thankful that he was because he benefited both the side and the club.

“Roy’s ideas and philosophies are still about today through Andy Hurry and this season, when the team has made enormous strides on previous years. It all stems back to those days in the way that young players are treated, the way they handle players and the way they encourage cricket in the South West.  Congratulations Roy- you did a great job!”

Before unveiling the portrait Kerslake said: “ I have been very privileged and proud to have been associated with the club on and off the field for so many years since I first played for the 2nd XI. 

“It has been a long haul and today I feel very humble and a bit of a fraud when I look at some of the great characters of this club and see the great achievements that they have all made.

“I am flattered and very grateful to be honoured in this way.

“I would like to thank Mike Tarr my old friend whose work you see before you and I would also like to thank my wife Lynne and my family who are here today for all their support which has meant such a lot to me.

“I would like to thank Richard Gould, who was the chief executive in my early years, for all of his help.

“I would like to make a special mention to Sally Donoghue, without whom the club would not function. I doubt that as a president I could not have functioned without her.

“Finally I have to say a big thank you to all of the members here today and of this club. It has been marvellous the support and friendship which you have shown Lynne and me all along the line and I think it is that feeling of family friendship that makes this club so unique and so special to be a member of.

“I think that we have a great club and it’s going in the right direction. I believe that we are well placed to face the challenges that undoubtedly lie head of us with the evolving future to the structure of our game

“I just hope that Lynne and I, God willing may have several years yet to be able to enjoy and share with you the pleasure of watching what is the roller coaster of Somerset cricket and dare I say it hope to celebrate the first ever time we win the championship title.”