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History - Honours - Professionals - Roy Gilchrist - Frank Tyson - Hedley Verity

Basil D'Oliveira

1931-2011

The Cricketer Who Changed The World

It is very rare that a Sportsman, let alone a Cricketer could say he has changed the world. But Basil D’Oliveira, Middleton Professional between 1960 and 1963 can comfortably say that he has. A Cape Coloured All Rounder, he was brought to England in 1960 with the support of John Arlott, as he was banned from playing first Class Cricket in his native South Africa, for purely being the wrong colour of skin. It was Middleton he first came to and then onto Worcestershire before being selected for England in 1966 against Garfield Sobers’ West Indians. He made the transition to Test Player smoothly and was selected as one of Wisden’s five Cricketers of the year in 1967.

D’Oliveira’s moment of destiny came in the 1968 Ashes when he famously scored a beautiful 158 at the Oval against the Australians - seemingly cementing his place in the side for the forthcoming tour to his native South Africa. However, as is the case, Politics and Sport don’t mix and the South African Government issued a statement saying if D’Oliveira was selected the tour would be abandoned, losing thousands of pounds for the MCC, England’s tour operators. Because of this, he was shockingly left out of the touring party under the pretext that his bowling would not be effective in his native country. The press retaliated, arguing the MCC were only interested in money rather than moral judgement. However, when Warwickshire's Tom Cartwright was ruled out because of injury, the MCC backed down and D’Oliveira was called up into the squad. South African president BJ Vorster had already made it clear that D’Oliveira's inclusion was not acceptable and despite many negotiations the tour was cancelled. This, coupled with the 1970 Commonwealth summit, led to the ban of South Africa from playing International Sport. It was only in 1992 that South Africa were once again allowed to play International Cricket, due to the collapse of the Apartheid regime.

Because of this, D’Oliveira’s Cricketing skill is often overlooked. A brilliant all rounder, he scored 5 Test Centuries at a healthy Average of 40.05 and took 47 wickets with his Medium Pacers. For Middleton, they say he used to frequently hit the ball into the houses at the Towncroft Avenue End and place the ball neatly and majestically as well as anyone who has played the game.

After retirement he became Coach of his adopted county Worcestershire, overseeing some of the most glorious years in the Counties History during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. As a way of thanks, one of the stands at New Road was renamed the ‘Basil D’Oliveira Stand’ in recognition of his outstanding achievements for the County.

With deep sadness, 'Dolly' passed away on the 19th November 2011 after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. He will truly be remembered as “a cricketer with character.”  He was a legend in his own lifetime. However, his name will always be linked to a dark era of our History and proof that eventually some good will always come out of ignorance and injustice.



Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 April 2017 )
 
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Middleton C.C. currently have three senior teams competing in the Penine Cricket League, and five junior teams.

Senior matches take place on the majority of Saturday and Sundays.

The Junior sides play on various nights throughout the week, as well as the Under 13s playing on Sunday mornings.

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The Club hold a weekly draw. The cost is £5 per month, and the weekly prize is £50. Anybody interested should contact Peter Collinson.
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