SOMERSET’S oldest player living will be the VIP guest when his former county play a Twenty 20 game at South Devon CC.
James Hildreth is taking a Somerset team to the Newton Abbot club on Tuesday to play South Devon in a testimonial match.
Tony Sutton, who was 96 in March, played for Somerset back in 1948 after finishing his studies at Oxford University.
Sutton had gone back to university following war service with the Westminster Dragoons. He was awarded the Military Cross for rescuing an injured crewman from a tank while his unit were fighting through Holland.
Sutton a cricket blue in 1946 and 1947, opted for a career in law rather than cricket and moved to Devon to practise.
He carried on playing cricket for South Devon CC in Newton Abbot, where he was 1st XI captain between 1954-1962 – the longest stint of any skipper since the War.
Away from his position as a senior partner with Tozers in Teignmouth, Sutton found time to play hockey and rugby. After retiring from cricket in the mid-1970s, he played golf and tennis.
South Devon are rolling out the red carpet for their VIP guest, who will be introduced to the teams before the game. Before the game gets under way, he will supervise the toss between the captains.
Barry Widdicombe, the South Devon chairman, said having Sutton at the match would add to the occasion.
“Tony has had a long association with our club – and an even longer one with Somerset,” said Widdicombe.
“He is our oldest player too and so having him as our VIP guest for the match is totally appropriate.
“I am sure he will look forward to meeting members of the present Somerset side – and I imagine they will be keen to talk to him about his experiences.”
Somerset have already confirmed that current captain Tom Abell and former skipper Marcus Trescothick will be in their side.
Ashes winner Trescothick is no stranger to the Newton Abbot ground having played there in the 2015 testimonial game played for Peter Trego.
Somerset players will be running short coaching sessions with South Devon’s young players on the ground before the match starts.
Tickets for lunch with Hildreth and his team-mates sold out some time ago. There are still some places in the VIP marquee, where a buffet is included in the £20 ticket price
Contact Chris Hart (07834 256834) or Ian Shepherd (07919 033349) for tickets.
Admission is by programme costing £5. They can be purchased in advance from office at Newton Abbot Recreational Trust in Marsh Road, where South Devon are based. The match starts at 5.30pm.