Tributes paid in Chichester and beyond after death of a true Mr Cricket

The cricket community is mourning the loss of a player and volunteer who gave so much of his life to the sport.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 12:29 pm
Richard Briance meets the Duke of Edinburgh at a Club Cricket Conference event

Richard Briance, who has died aged 89, will be fondly remembered by generations of players for his service to Chichester Priory Park and the wider game.

He held prestigious roles with the MCC and Club Cricket Conference and played for clubs wherever he lived before settling in West Sussex and becoming a player and so much more over many years to Chichester Priory Park CC.

Richard leaves widow Marlene, to whom he had been married for 67 years, sons David and John, daughter Suzanne and four grandchildren.

Richard with Chichester Priory Park in 1976

He was heavily involved in cricket from a young age and when the family moved here in 1973, he joined Chichester Priory Park.

Richard became captain a few years later and his team loved his style of captaincy, especially his use of the spin bowlers in league cricket.

Son David said: “I had the pleasure of opening the batting with him in the first XI in 1979. We did this three or four times that season, then again the following season. He played on and off in the first XI until the 1984 season, when we won the league for the first time.

“After that he played in the lower sides but his main role was cricket manager and he oversaw the senior sides and managed to blend youth and experience in team selections.

Richard served many teams in many different roles during his cricketing life

“He oversaw the increase in the quality of the cricket produced by all sides while ensuring fun and always upholding the etiquette of the game and its values.”

In 1990 Chi Priory Park won the Sussex Cup against Eastbourne at the County Ground in Hove and David said: “I’m sure I’m not the only one who remembers him running on to the pitch arms aloft when we won off the last ball.

Three league titles in three years followed for the first XI and the seconds also shone.

In the 1970s Richard – whose business interests included running a boyswear clothing company – was instrumental in introducing the annual cricket week to the Chichester club.

Richard and son David at a coin toss during a Chichester cricket week match

Paul Hillier, who knew Richard well from Priory Park days, said he’d remembered ‘The Pres’ as someone who influenced and guided him as a sportsman and importantly, a human being: “Quite simply, a remarkably generous man who provided me and many others with opportunities through cricket that I/they never dreamt possible. His passion was contagious and showed us how hard work and ‘doing the right things’ brought rewards and success.”

David Perrin of the Club Cricket Conference pays tribute to Richard Briance

Richard Briance was widely known in club cricket and was associated with many clubs and teams, a status recognised in 1996 when he was elected that year’s president of the Club Cricket Conference, a century-old federation of cricket clubs in the south.

Richard was at Wimbledon Park CC before joining Shepherds Bush CC in 1964, going on to skipper them for three years. He brought youngsters into the team including all-rounder Keith Jones who went on to play for Middlesex.

By 1982 Richard was managing teams at Chi Priory Park

He moved briefly to Kettering CC but moved south and began his longest association with Chichester Priory Park CC in the Sussex League.

He served as an opening batsman, captain, then for many years president.

He worked hard to develop the club’s strength as well as its social side, especially during its renowned annual August Cricket Week, which attracted leading teams like two-time national club champions Teddington CC and the touring Kenyan Kongonis.

Richard was proud that his son David succeeded him as both an opener and captain at the club. His grandson George is now doing well too, playing for Middleton. Richard’s enjoyment of cricket went far beyond local clubs. He was a keen player for illustrious nomadic team, The Wanderers, now defunct.

He played for the MCC and for several years managed its week-long tour to the Channel Islands.

With friends from various clubs he formed the Buckingham Cavaliers, a touring team which went on to stage several tours to South Africa and an annual tour to Jersey which lasted nearly 30 years. Aged 68, he went as a supporter on the Cavaliers’ tour to Argentina in 2001.

At the Club Cricket Conference Richard was on its former executive council before becoming president.

He was proud to be among the former CCC presidents who met the CCC patron, the Duke of Edinburgh, in 2010 and again at the CCC’s centenary lunch in 2015. Through his sportswear businesses, he supplied kit for CCC overseas tours. He was appointed a CCC life vice-president.

Richard will be remembered for his devotion to the game. He found friends and much fun from cricket. After Cricket Week matches at Chichester, he liked to muster home and visiting players into what he called his big band, leading them in miming instruments to the music of Glenn Miller.