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Worcestershire sign RAF Corporal

ESPNcricinfo staff

November 12, 2012

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Graeme Cessford in action, 2012
Graeme Cessford will suspend his military career to have a try at county cricket © RAF
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Worcestershire have signed Graeme Cessford, a Royal Air Force Corporal, for the 2013 season.

Cessford, 29, has been granted elite athlete status by the Royal Air Force which means he can take his chance in county cricket before returning to the military when his contract expires.

During the 2012 season Cessford made three appearances for Worcestershire's Second XI, taking seven wickets. He also played for Northumberland Minor Counties and Chester-le-Street in the North East Premier League.

"I'm delighted to have signed for Worcestershire," Cessford said. "I'd like to extend a massive thank you to the Royal Air Force, the RAF Sports Board, and Worcestershire for giving me this fantastic opportunity."

Worcestershire's director of cricket, Steve Rhodes, said: "Cess has the ability to bowl with pace and this will be a valuable asset in our 2013 campaign. He will give the squad some depth for bowling spots and I am looking forward to working with him."

Squadron Leader Sally Varley added: "Corporal Graeme Cessford has been granted Elite Athlete Status by the Royal Air Force. This status allows him time to realise and develop his cricket potential through the opportunity to play for Worcestershire County Cricket Club. In addition, the Royal Air Force has exceptionally adjusted Corporal Cessford's employment for a year to include a public relations engagement role."

Cessford is not the first county cricketer to join from the military in recent seasons after Gloucestershire signed David Wade, an active Lance Corporal with Royal Signal Corps in the British Army, although he was released after the recent 2012 season after a two-year stint where he failed to break into the First XI.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

This post is under the cricinfo.com/england directory. The writer is on about English military playing not the wider world. It's been a long times since the armed forces here were officially recognised as first class with their own teams. In fact open military participation in mainstream sport which used to be common 70+ years ago is almost none existant these days. The last major representative to cross over that I can remember was, Dame Kelly Holmes - the double Olympic gold medalist middle distance runner - was "Corporal" Kelly Holmes when she started her running career, so it does happen now and then.

Posted by   on (November 13, 2012, 10:48 GMT)

9ST9 - He's talking about the English game, as opposed to the wider world. It is much less likely to happen in England, because in Sri Lanka there is an Army side in the first-class set-up.

Posted by 9ST9 on (November 13, 2012, 5:57 GMT)

Hmm I suggest Steven should dig up some stats on Military cricketers - If im not much mistaken Mendis of SL was a soldier , and so was another sri lankan spinner S.Prasanna and the 1990's medium pacer S.Silva.

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