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Meet the Officials: Harry Bates

Harry was invited to play cricket for the Brigands in the 1970s by Peter Cantello, though his contribution in that first match was to be mainly as an under-employed fielder at square leg. Occasional matches followed before the Royal Navy took him away from Hampshire until the late 1980s.

Harry's talents were spotted as he was then invited to join the Committee and immediately and, to his surprise, became the Grounds Member. The club was then using a contractor to maintain the ground but the cost was prohibitive, so the Chairman, Anthony Banes-Walker’s solution was to do the work ourselves with a part-time groundsman – a system that remains to this day.

The primary worry was the state of the equipment held by the club, it was old, (the roller was made in the 1930s) and unreliable. Over the years and with some not-so-subtle persuasion and research – equipment has been purchased and brought up to a high standard (though the 1930s roller is still in use).

Harry has risen to the challenge, aided by professional advice from many sources, a 30+ year learning curve and the good services of the groundsman, Rod Price, the ground and associated facilities are in good shape.

Harry said "being a member of the Broadhalfpenny Brigands has been a huge privilege as has the opportunity to play and work on the Down. The lasting friendships made amongst Brigands, members of visiting teams, and all who have given ground care advice, have enriched my life and for which I am most grateful."

Harry was awarded the Dom Rock Memorial Trophy in 2021 for his services to the Brigands, and to the Broadhalfpenny Down Preservation Trust.

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