Where are they now? Kent – Joint County Championship winners 1977

By Neil Fissler

The County Championship has only been shared three times since its inception in 1890. Middlesex and Yorkshire shared the title in 1949 before Lancashire and Surrey couldn’t be separated at the top of the table 12 months later.

And it would be another 27 years before Kent and Middlesex both finished at the summit of the table with 227 points.

Kent, who only lost two games, were unfortunate to have their match against Essex at Castle Park, Colchester, at the end of August abandoned without a ball being bowled.

It was a golden period for Kent, who had been crowned County Champions for the first time since 1913 seven years earlier.

While in the one-day competitions they pushed Lancashire’s one-day wonders side all the way to win six one-day trophies in a decade they can lay claim to have dominated.

Seamer Kevin Jarvis said: “We won the Championship in 1970, but had a good run in one-day cricket especially under Mike Denness in the early days of the one-day stuff.

“Kent played a major role in one-day competitions especially the Sunday League and the Benson & Hedges. We had a good run in all the competitions throughout the Seventies.

“We shared the title in 1977 and then won it the following year. I believe that Middlesex were allowed to re-arrange one of their games because a one-day game was called off.

“And the only reason we shared the title was because Gloucestershire, who had beaten us in the Benson & Hedges Cup Final, failed to win their last game of the season.”

Jarvis took 47 wickets at 25.55 each in a season in which only John Shepherd took more for the county – 87 at 19.93 apiece.

And he points out that they even batted down as far as No.10 where Derek Underwood would come in leaving only himself as the only non-batsman.

“We had a reasonable side. John Shepherd, Asia Iqbal, Bob Woolmer, Alan Knott and Derek Underwood were Test stars.

“While the likes of myself, Graham Johnson and Alan Ealham were knocking on the Test door, but never quite made it so we had quite a strong side.

“The side was full of all-rounders, I think I was the only non-batter. I think you could even call Underwood a batsman, certainly a very, very good nightwatchman.

“And with the ball Derek was a class above anyone on a damp wicket, and we all backed him up quite well.”

BACK ROW (left-right):
Alan Ealham: Batsman and father of England’s Mark. Became Kent’s director of youth coaching. Also coached King’s School and Junior King’s School before his retirement.
Richard Hills: Seamer who has coached at Eltham College and Sevenoaks School, and is now golf partner with Rowe and Shepherd.
Grahame Clinton: Opening bat who coached both Surrey and Kent before becoming master in charge of cricket at Colfe’s School, in Greenwich, where he is also shop manager.
Bernard Julian: West Indies all-rounder has worked as a government coach in his native Trinidad & Tobago, where he coached Queen’s Park and was selector for their cricket board.
Kevin Jarvis: Seamer who settled in Pill, Bristol. Jobs since retiring include working for a bat manufacturer, and in charity.
Chris Cowdrey: England all-rounder, son of Sir Colin, has worked in the media with the BBC, TalkSport and Sky and has held several directorships.
Charles Rowe: All-rounder who moved into the City in 1984 with Rowe and Pitman (Warburgs) and worked in equity sales for the Matrix Group at the time of his retirement in 2010.
A Thomas: County physiotherapist went into private practice in the Kent area.
Colin Page: Served Kent as cricket manager between 1975 and 1980, then as director of youth coaching for 10 years prior his death in Tunbridge Wells, December 1990, aged 60.

FRONT ROW:
Bob Woolmer: England all-rounder was a teacher in Kent and South Africa. Was coach of Pakistan at the time of his unexpected death during the World Cup in March 2007, aged 58.
Derek Underwood: England left-arm spinner went to work for the Turf Club where he became director of sales until retiring in 2012.
Asif Iqbal: Pakistan batsman served the ICC as a match referee and ambassador. Ran the Cricketers Benefit Fund Series and was sports coordinator with ARY Digital in London.
Alan Knott: England wicket- keeper spent 14 years as specialist wicketkeeping coach to England teams and worked in the media. Now splits his retirement between Cyprus and Kent.
John Shepherd: West Indies all-rounder became cricket professional at Eastbourne College and then an ICC regional development officer before working as a rep for a sports travel company.

NOT PICTURED:
Chris Tavare: England opening batsman is a biology teacher at his alma mater, Sevenoaks School, where he is also master in charge of cricket.
Paul Downton: England wicketkeeper became a stockbroker at Cazenove & Co. Now lives in Sevenoaks and was managing director of England cricket until April 2015.
Norman Graham: Seamer who also played for Northumberland where he lives in his native Hexham and has worked in the financial services industry.
Nick Kemp: All-rounder who went into wealth management and is now the co-founder of Stoneford Associates a specialist renewables consultancy. His son, Ben, has played for Oxford University.
Graham Johnson: Opening batsman and brother-in-law of Graham Dilley, has spent 30 years in the financial services and sports and events sectors.
David Nicholls: Opening batsman who also kept wicket. Went on to work for Tonbridge-based sporting goods manufacturer and supplier, Lillywhite Frowd. He died in Dartford, June 2008, aged 64.

This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper on Friday October 30, 2015

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