Derrick Robins      

Full name Derrick Harold Robins

Born June 27, 1914, Bexleyheath, Kent

Died May 3, 2004, Bishopscourt, Cape Town, South Africa (aged 89 years 311 days)

Major teams Warwickshire

Batting style Right-hand bat

Fielding position Wicketkeeper

Batting and fielding averages
Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 Ct St
First-class 5 7 3 70 29* 17.50 0 0 4 0
Bowling averages
Mat Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
First-class 5 - - - - - - - - - - -
Career statistics
First-class span 1947 - 1971

Derrick Robins was a wicketkeeper who played just two first-class matches for Warwickshire in 1947, but then became a successful businessman and one of the game's most significant patrons. Starting with a cement-mixer in a field, he turned his firm Banbury Buildings into a major public company. In 1960, he became chairman of Coventry City FC and hired Jimmy Hill as manager, and their combined acumen and innovative drive made a failing club into one that stayed in the top division for 34 successive seasons and became a model for progressive thinking. Cricket was a harder game in which to find room for a man of Robins's determination, though he did take charge of the Eastbourne Festival, first organising the matches played by Colonel L. C. Stevens's XI, then taking over the fixtures in his own right. In 1969, D. H. Robins's XI played the opening match against the West Indian tourists with Robins as captain of a team containing eight Test players; he was then 54 and it had been 22 years since his last first-class match. He captained another star-studded team against the Indians in 1971, when he was already 57. (No one older has appeared in a first-class match in England since the war; his nearest rival Bob Wyatt was 56 when he turned out for Free Foresters in 1957.) But the following year he had six heart attacks in a week - he was not a man to do things by halves - which put paid to his cricket, his chairmanship of Coventry, and his business career. The South African administrator Jack Cheetham, however, asked him to start organising tours to South Africa. The four Robins teams, in successive seasons from 1972-73, were early busters of the anti-apartheid boycott and included many of the era's leading players. Robins insisted that the parties were multi-racial (John Shepherd of Kent was on the middle two trips) and shrugged off the political flak, organising trips elsewhere in the cricketing world as well. But the South African link was strongest, and he made his winter home there from 1975 onwards. Some players found the Robins style a little overbearing; most enjoyed the ride. He continued to organise golf tours long afterwards, involving many of the players from those 1970s trips. The Robins's XI maintained its own arcane rituals and jokey hierarchy, with such positions as Keeper of the Chair (Robins himself), Senior Keeper (Peter Parfitt), Keeper of the Peace and - most intriguingly - Keeper of the Liaison.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack

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