13b Top cricketer

13b – Gary Rich

ONE of a select band of Island cricketers to have chalked up 20 inter-insular appearances, something a late-1970s Les Beaucamps School kid could not have dreamt of. Throw in every honour to be won in the domestic game – all with Cobo – and the now retired all-rounder can reflect on an outstanding career where he has squeezed out every ounce of natural talent to achieve what he has done.

For sure, all the encouragement of his late father Les, a stalwart at the Electrics, and Beaucamps sports teacher Bryan Preston, has brought dividends many times over. It was as a teenager in the early 1980s that he won a spot in a then struggling Cobo team as a medium-pace bowler who could bat.

He enjoyed a modicum of success bowling seam up but before long he took sound advice to bowl spin and, from that moment on, he barely looked back. In inter-insular terms his 29 wickets leaves him lying third in the all-time Guernsey list and in ICC European competition he also claimed 18 wickets along with 25 in World Cricket League tournaments. He often recalls his 19-over straight spell on a turning pitch at Grainville in 2002, this after Jersey had won the toss on a damp morning and imagined they would win the game because of it. At the end of the game Guernsey supporters lowered the Jersey flag to half-mast. An ever-present in the Cobo team for more than two decades, the accolades include GCA player of the year in 1993 and 1997. The strength of the Cobo batting for much of his time with the club meant he invariably batted in the lower middle order where his fierce determination won many a tight match for the club. Although his stroke play was not up with the finest, his temperament under pressure was outstanding, seldom refusing to buckle. Add to that a steady stream of high-level bowling performances, he would rate as unquestionably Cobo’s finest ever all-round cricketer which, itself, is a high honour. Warren Barrett may have been a better player, but in terms of overall commitment to one club, Rich, also a fine fielder with a strong arm, stands head and shoulders above the rest.

It was in 1989, aged 25, that he won that first full Island cap, but while fellow debutant Stuart Mackay marked the occasion with a century, Rich, selected on batting alone, had to be satisfied with 12 from 37 balls faced batting at No. 6. At that stage of his development, Barrett and Ralph Anthony were Nos 1 and 2 spinners in the Guernsey side, and it was only with the retirement of the former that the Cobo all-rounder got a chance to join Anthony in spinning tandem. For Rich it was not a very successful start in that role, but he grew into it and in 1994 he took 4 for 43.

His early years in the Guernsey side coincided with a spell of Caesarean domination but the tide would turn and he would play a significant role. In 2001 he scored 35 and took 2 for 68. The 2002 win brought a second four-wicket haul – which really should have been a five-for only for a couple of catches to go down – and he would forge an excellent new spin partnership with Jeremy Frith.

One of his most memorable innings was an unbeaten century in the 2005 GCA KO final against Wanderers, but he had shown himself to be a consistent scorer 15 seasons earlier when his overall tally for the season was 720. That 2005 century was the third of his career, the previous fully 20 years before in a weakened game against St Saviour’s.

One of his finest all-round performances for Cobo came in the 1990 ‘Upton’ when his 70 and four wickets underpinned a win over the strong Sporting Club Francais side. Remarkably, he did not win the man of the match award, which went to long-standing rival Tony Carlyon.


V Kenny lbw b Jewell                            7

M Webber c Rousseau b T Carlyon        6

N Hunter c Therin b T Carlyon              6

G Rich c Sampson b T Carlyon              72

A Ayton c S Carlyon b Jewell                31

R Batiste c Webber b Jewell                  41

P Butler b T Carlyon                             14

B Robson b T Carlyon                           10

M Fooks b T Carlyon                             7

M Poole run out                                    1

A Shepherd not out                    0

Extras                                                   15

TOTAL                                                  210

Bowling:       T Carlyon 16.3-4-43-6, Jewell 17-0-84-3, Webbe 11-3-29-0, S Carlyon 5-0-39-0

Sporting Club

T Rousseau c Fooks b Shepherd           3

W Webbe b Rich                                   5

S Carlyon c Rich b Butler                      55

T Carlyon c Fooks b Rich                      50

K Therin lbw b Rich                               6

K Tollerton lbw b Rich                           0

H Kearns b Butler                                 5

N Jewell b Butler                                  25

S Clark c Webber b Butler                    1

J Bell st Fooks b Butler                         12

J Sampson not out                               2

Extras                                                   14

TOTAL                                                  178

The 2005 GCA Cup final scorecard.

Other notable performances:

4-33 v Hampshire Maniacs in 1993, 4-35 in 1996, 4-29 in 1997, 40* and 2-10 in 2001

Malta Festival 59* v Italy in 1993 and 35* & 3-20

2010 –          Euro 50 overs         3-46 v France, 4-22 v Norway

2009 –          WCL best was 25 runs and 3-39