JOHN BARCLAY

Our Society is delighted to welcome back John Barclay and Stephen Chalke for an evening of cricket conversation.

Stephen has run Fairfield Books, a specialist cricket publisher, for over 20 years producing over 40 titles and having won several awards. Stephen wrote and published ‘Through The Remembered Gate’ in 2019 - a book covering the inside story and the ups and downs of Fairfield Books.

Stephen will be chatting with the inimitable John Robert Troutbeck Barclay, known in cricketing circles as ‘Trout’.

John Barclay was born in Bonn (West Germany as was) on 22 January 1954 where his father was serving at the time. However, the family moved to Sussex in 1956, when John was aged two, and he has lived there ever since. John captained his prep school XI and was ‘capped’ for Eton College aged 14 before becoming captain of the XI in 1970 and 1971. He was an outstanding schoolboy cricketer who made his first-class debut for Sussex, aged 16, in 1970.

John played from 1970 to 1986 for Sussex. He was capped in 1976 and was captain from 1981 to 1986, the year in which he received his benefit. He made 274 first-class appearances. John was a right-handed opening batsman and off-spin bowler who was just short of Test selection. Nevertheless, he scored around 10,000 first-class runs with 9 centuries and 46 fifties. He also took over 300 wickets at around 30, bagging 5 wickets in an innings 9 times. John’s best was 6/61 and he took 10 wickets in a match once. A series of injuries, particularly one to a finger, forced his premature retirement in 1986, aged 32.

In 1981, aged 27, John succeeded Arnold Long as Sussex's captain. In his first season in charge, Sussex narrowly failed to win the County Championship, finishing second, by a mere two points, behind Notts. These two teams played each other at Trent Bridge in August 1981. A crucial lbw decision went against Imran Khan and Sussex and the Notts final pair survived to scratch a draw. In 2002, Fairfield Books published John's well-received book, ‘The Appeal of the Championship: Sussex in the Summer of 1981’

. In 2008, Fairfield Books published John's highly-acclaimed memoirs, ‘Life Beyond the Airing Cupboard’. The book covers the ups and downs of John's life and there is both laughter and sadness - thankfully more of the former.

As long-standing friends, and great ambassadors for cricket, I'm certain that Stephen and John will give us an evening to treasure.

Ken Burney

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