Goodwood’s first match since the announcement of the death of His Grace, The Duke of Richmond, brought Chichester to the ground as opposition – and it was perfect stting in which to pay tribute to him.
Goodwood and Chichester players stood in silence to remember him and celebrate his life before the start of the game.
Both clubs have lost not just their president and patron but also a terrific cricket enthusiast and a marvellous supporter.
The Duke wanted to see cricket flourish at Goodwood. He gave advice and support, supporting the introduction of electricity and a bar in 1989 which gave the club vital financial security.
The Duke worked to cement cricket at Goodwood during the 1990s by introducing the now annual Lord’s Taverners’ match, while as president of Sussex (he was president/patron of Sussex CCC for 25 years) he brought his XI to play the Sussex chairman’s team, and then the 300th anniversary celebrations in 2002 which included matches versus the Lord’s Taverners, the MCC and a period match versus Hambledon.
The Revival cricket match also started during this time.
Cricket is the oldest of the estate sports and he was delighted at the recent developments, writing in this year’s Goodwood fixture card: “I am delighted to support the alliance between the Goodwood and Chichester cricket clubs.
“It has been wonderful to see the increased use of the cricket ground over the past few years and particularly the number of junior matches, they are of course the future of the game.
“I greatly applaud and encourage the plans that both clubs and the estate have to become a centre of excellence for the development of cricket, in this area. I wish everyone the very best in their endeavours to achieve this and also a superb 2017 season on and off the field.”
His Grace was a wicketkeeper and played for the club in the 1950 and 60s and also brought his own side (Lord March’s XI) to play the club. He was absolutely thrilled that this game had been revived by his grandsons Charlie and Will.
The Duke would say he was a guardian of Goodwood for future generations – and that includes cricket. Both Goodwood and Chichester cricket clubs, in remembering His Grace, believe they can take his lead on this – enjoying the games they play as individuals, learning to be part of a team, making lifelong friends and but also ensuring this game is still played here and across the county and country in the future.
Club officials said it was wonderful to see His Grace at the ground this season, his last visit being only six weeks ago, to see his grandson’s team beat the home Goodwood side.
A spokesman said: “He was above all a lovely man, great company, he had a natural charm and a great sense of fun; we have much to thank him for and much to learn from him. The club’s thoughts and prayers are of course with his wife, The Duchess of Richmond, and all her family as we remember and celebrate his life.”
Rain won the day on this occasion, with Goodwood making 164-4 (J Heyworth 44, Matt Beard 45, John Clifton 32*) before the weather intervened.