FORMER England supremo David Graveney is Babbacombe CC’s top-table guest of honour for the club’s 125th anniversary celebration dinner.
Babbacombe played their first game in 1893 and moved to its distinctive, valley-shaped ground at Walls Hill in 1902. Generations of teams have played there ever since.
The 2018 season was not a great one for Babbacombe as the 1st XI were relegated from the Tolchards Devon League B Division and the 2nd XI narrowly avoided a similar fate in their division.
Saturday night’s dinner date at the Babbacombe Hotel will be a celebration of all the good things achieved by the club over 125 years, including the impressive social club on the ground, built and improved by members for more than a century.
In the club’s early days at Walls Hill players changed in a what had been the Torquay Ladies Hockey Club pavilion at Plainmoor, prior to being dismantled and re-erected on the other side of town.
Graveney had a 20-year playing career with Gloucestershire, Somerset and finally Durham – as well as an 11-year stint as England’s chairman of selectors. Currently, he is the national performance manager for the ECB.
Babbacombe members are looking forward to hearing some of the vast fund of anecdotes Graveney has accumulated in the 46 years he has been involved in First Class cricket.
More than 120 past and present players, officials, supporters and members will e joining Graveney and comedian Tank Sherman for the celebration dinner.
Most of the guests still live locally, although John Rankin is travelling down from Hampshire for the dinner and Gary Kynman is flying in from the Channel Islands.
Former Torquay United defender Derek Harrison, who played cricket for Babbacombe in the early 1970s, will be at the dinner.
Babbacombe has long been known as a family club and quick look down the guest lists reveals sizeable contingents from the Passmores, the Gouldings, the Drakes the Goodwins and the Lorams, among others.
Elder statesmen Arthur Perrett and Max Sandford were along the first ex-players to reserve their places.
Representatives from neighbouring clubs include Paul Mitchell (Abbotskerswell) and Colin Knight (Paignton).
Paul Bates, a long-time player and former 1st XI captain, will be master of ceremonies for the evening. One of Bates’ responsibilities will be to run a bumper raffle. Among the prizes pledged are bats signed by Graham Gooch and the late Keith Miller, meals out, signed county shirts, and a Christmas hamper.
Headline sponsors for the event are Devon accountancy firm Darnells.