TONY Webb admits there were tears in his eyes as he brought the curtain down on a 37-season playing career with Ullenwood Bharat which included serving as secretary for 34 years.
The 70-year-old’s final match for the club was a home friendly against Longhorns which included both teams forming a guard of honour as he took to the wicket.
Tony, popularly known to many as Snowy, said: “I usually bat at nine or lower, but this time I was asked to go in at five to make sure I had the chance of a decent bat and it was all rather overwhelming when the sides lined up and started clapping.
“There were tears in my eyes and I’m not sure how I kept the first few balls out. It was a lovely gesture.”
Tony, relishing playing again after a successful partial knee reconstruction, was second top scorer on 16 in Ullenwood’s total of 118 and signed off with characteristically tidy figures of 1-5 from six overs of swing in a 38-run victory.
A stalwart also of Gloucestershire Over 60s and now the Over 70s, Tony’s career-best figures are 8-7 from just 6.1 overs against Shurdington back in 2015.
And while he has been a valued playing member for many seasons, he has also made a towering contribution off the pitch as an administrator.
There have been, he admitted, highs and lows over the years.
The lows include the heartbreak of the club’s wooden pavilion being burned down by vandals in 2006 and the dark days of struggle that followed, including times when teams of eight or nine took to the field because of a shortage of players.
But the highs range from driving a hugely successful amalgamation with Bharat Sports in 2012 to helping secure a new main ground in Brockworth for first and second team matches as well as, it is hoped, games for a potential junior section further down the line.
He said: “We now have a good catchment area for new players of all ages and hopefully it’s a case of onwards and upwards.”
Tony played for Ryeworth, Upton St Leonards and Haresfield before joining Ullenwood and is now moving to the Reigate area where he is keen to continue with over-70s cricket which is so popular in Surrey that the county run two sides.