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Wolverhampton Cricket Club mourning loss of legend David Barnes

By Joe Edwards | Grassroots | Published:

Tributes are being paid to Wolverhampton Cricket Club legend David Barnes, who has passed away aged 80.

As a player, captain, chairman and president, Barnes was with the club for a stunning 65 years – making him the longest-serving member in their 183-year history.

He led the Danescourt men to victory in the final of the National Knockout – then known as the DH Robins Cup – at Lord’s in 1973, beating Maidstone-based Mote, with Barnes scoring the winning runs.

Barnes, from Tettenhall, played ‘well into his 50s’ and returned to Lord’s for the final of the competition in 1988, which Wolves lost to Enfield in a replayed game at Edgbaston after the original tie had been washed out.

Committee member David Lycett – who been with the club for 60 years, also as a player and chairman – was a close friend of Barnes’s, and said: “He was here with us at the club for 65 years.

“He went to Tettenhall College and joined the club in his teens.

“David took us to Lords in ‘73 for the final of the National Knockout, and that was a really big deal. I wasn’t playing for the firsts then but we all went down to watch and it was a great day.

“We weren’t in the Birmingham League at the time. We were still in the old Midland Club Championship, which we won year in and year out.

“The competition had only been going for a few years and we were the first team from the Midlands to win it, beating Mote.

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“He then went again in ‘88 as a player, under the late Pete Jones – and not many can say they’ve been able to go and play there, at Lord’s twice. He played well into his 50s.

“He was a fine cricketer and a fine supporter of our club. I held him in the highest regard.”

Skipper David Barnes looks on from the balcony at Lord’s during Wolverhampton’s memorable DH Robins Cup success against Mote

Barnes, as well as playing for Wolverhampton, also turned out for Shropshire in the minor counties, Worcestershire’s seconds and Staffordshire’s over-50s.

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He was a batsman but also useful with the ball, with his off-spin.

He went with the Midlands Cricket Club Conference to Australia in the 70s and captained the Wolverhampton Cricket Association side which toured the West Indies in 1976.

“David was fully committed to the club. His two sons, Richard and James, played for the club too – James has retired now, Richard still turns out for Bromsgrove and I’m sure his son plays, so cricket is in their family,” said Lycett.

“He was a personal friend of mine, we went on holidays together. He was just wonderful. He will be greatly missed.”

Club president Geoff Hopkinson was also part of the 1973 national knockout trophy-winning side.

The legends of 73 at a reunion to mark the 40th anniversary of the Lord’s win, front, from left to right, David Barnes, and Don Crofts, back, left to right, Peter Evans, Jim Turner, Nick Stroudley, Ron Davies, Don Lowe, Gerry Hill, Geoff Hopkinson and Mike Marcus

“I was the opening bat in that team, David was a very fine off-spinner – he was always among the wickets,” he said.

“He always fielded first slip too as he didn’t like running.

“That day, we were at the home of cricket and it was an honour. We had a very good side, an exceptional side, which was led with aplomb – David was a thinking cricketer. He played until his late 50s and when we were playing together, we would have been playing about 60 matches a year.

“I took over as president from him, he did a hell of a lot behind the scenes as well.

“Without characters like him, it’s hard for clubs to survive. He pointed the way.”

Chairman Mike Elphick added: “Everyone at the club was shocked to hear about the loss of David.

“Having recently become chairman of the club, I was aware of David’s long and considerable contribution both on and off the field. He was a real stalwart of Wolverhampton Cricket Club and he will be sadly missed. Our thoughts are with his family.”

Joe Edwards

By Joe Edwards
Multi-Media Sports Journalist - @JoeEdwards_Star

Sports reporter for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.

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