July 16, 2000

Beardsley: A proud Geordie - and he loves cricket

Peter Beardsley
Peter Beardsley calls for Test Matches in
the North-east

Photo © AllSport UK

Soccer star Peter Beardsley took time off from his work as England team coach to talk to reporter Andy Jalil about his love of cricket and of the North-east ..... and to watch a great day's play.

He said: " A lot of hard work has gone on here in Durham to get the international game and luckily there is a week-end of two great matches. That is a fantastic achievement," he said.

NatWest Series

Look at the turn-out, a full house on Saturday and another good crowd for the second day even though England are not playing. All the hard work has been worth it, it's been a long road and a lot of people have also worked behind the scene. For us in the North-East to have games like these is very encouraging."

Leading among the people who were instrumental in developing the facilities and bringing cricket of this level to the area was Don Robson who is leader of the Durham County Council and former chairman of the National Cricket Association, before it merged with the ECB.

"I shall encourage my son in cricket"

Beardsley continued: " Cricket is a family sport, a great sport, I have always been keen on it, as a boy I played at Wallsend Cricket Club and in school too. I wasn't much of a batsman but I did all right as a wicket-keeper. My boy now plays at school, he is a wicket-keeper. He is still young so he hasn't progressed to club level as yet but I'll encourage him.

"There are young cricketers now coming into the England squad, that is good for this area, sport means a lot in the north-east and they crave for a good cricket team as well as a good football team."

There's talent in the North-east

Beardsley went on to say: "The facilities here at Chester-le-Street cater for the entire area. There is a boy, Nicky Peng, in Jesmond, from a school just across the road from my son Drew's school and he has now played first-class cricket for Durham this season, scoring 98 on his debut. So it's fantastic that we have youngsters coming through and that is the future of sport.

"I would always encourage youngsters to take up the game after the way cricket has taken off in this part of the country. I would be genuinely delighted to see my boy do well at either cricket or football. Even though I was a footballer, if he represented England in either I'd be ecstatic."

Board more encouraging in cricket than football

He then went on to say: "I am helping Kevin Keegan with the England squad, the full national side. We are doing O.K., we didn't have a good run at Euro 2000, but in September we have got the World Cup preparation to look forward to and that is the thing now to get ready for.

"I am glad to see a lot of cricketers who have finished playing are asked to join in for coaching and generally to give advice and so on. But in football there are not so many places for ex-players. In cricket the Board seems to encourage a lot more to join in to help which I think is a great idea."

He finally added: "People thought that because of the weather, cricket wouldn't take off in this area but it has done so. We have a ground now to compare with other Test grounds, which is fantastic for people like me who love the sport and are able to come and watch.

Now we want the five-day game

"The main aim is to get the five-day game here, I think it's very close after the success of the one-dayers here. The people who decide on Test venues will, I hope, make the right decision and bring it to Durham."