D'Oliveira leaves New Road legacy

Former Worcestershire chairman Duncan Fearnley says the memory of academy director Damian D'Oliveira, who has died at the age of 53, will live on through the many players he brought through the club's youth ranks.

Damian D'Oliveira, pictured left with Sir Michael Parkinson, has died aged 53
Damian D'Oliveira, pictured left with Sir Michael Parkinson, has died aged 53

The county announced on Sunday that D'Oliveira, son of the late Worcestershire and England legend Basil, had died after losing a two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer.

A statement on the county's official website read: "The players were informed of the news of his death shortly before the start of today's LV= County Championship match with Glamorgan at New Road.

"He leaves his wife Tracey and two other children in Marcus and Dominic."

D'Oliveira played for Worcestershire between 1982 and 1995 and scored more than 9,000 first-class runs.

As academy director he had overseen the introduction of a number of talented players into the first team at New Road, including his son Brett.

Speaking as former team-mates gathered for the county's old players' day, Fearnley explained how Damian had given his life to cricket and to Worcestershire.

"He had a good career here, he loved this club like his dad did," Fearnley said.

"His name will live on through the players out there now in the first team as many of them came through the academy he was in charge of.

"They have all come through the ranks together."

Fearnley remembered D'Oliveira growing up as a boy across the road after his famous father, Basil, signed for the club in the 1960s.

"He came down with Naomi (his wife) and they bought the house across the road from me," Fearnley said.

"Damian was only a few years old and our kids grew up together playing cricket on the outfield."

D'Oliveira, who had trials with football clubs Arsenal and West Brom as a youngster, played for Worcestershire from 1983.

He was part of the dominant 1980s squad that won two County Championships, two Sunday Leagues and the Benson and Hedges Cup.

The right-hand batsman's penultimate one-day appearance was as an opener in the county's 1994 NatWest Trophy final success.

D'Oliveira was coached at Worcestershire by his father Basil, who passed away at the age of 80 in November 2011 after a long battle against Parkinson's disease.

Born in South Africa, Basil D'Oliveira - or 'Dolly' as he was affectionately known - made headlines in 1968 when he was included in the England squad for the tour of his home country which had to be called off as the South African apartheid regime refused to accept his presence.

The incident marked the start of South Africa's sporting isolation.

Basil D'Oliveira played for Worcestershire between 1964 and 1980.