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Cannon calls time on Kent job
Cannon calls time on Kent job

Life at Kent Cricket won’t be the same next season as dressing room attendant Richard Cannon calls time on his spell looking after the players.Cricket - County Championship Division Two - Kent v Lancashire - Canterbury, England - Day 4

Known as Dickie to all that have made the trip to the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in the past twelve years, the 65 year old has deciced now is the time to pass on the mantle of looking after the players to someone else.

In what is a physically and mentally draining job that could see Dickie put in sixteen hour days, running around after the players, clearing up their mess, doing the washing and making sure they’re all well looked after will now be passed on to a younger man.

Born in Sevenoaks, Dickie is quite at home looking after his chickens and enjoys cycling, having cycled from John O’Groats to Lands End in 2011 and told KSN how giving up the job with Kent Cricket had been a hard decision, but one he had been forced into making with his back beginning to make life tough:

“I think the body has now said it is now suited more to a younger person. Not that I am saying that I am past it, but you have to take notice of what your body is telling you.

“For a four day game I was getting to the ground for about 7:45am and then not leaving for home until about 9:30pm.”

“There have been times where I was not finishing until eleven o’clock and then facing the drive back home, so four or five times a season it was easier to sleep at the ground.”

“It was a little bit spooky at times!”Richard Cannon2

With such access inside the dressing room over the past decade, Dickie has seen and heard things that will be kept under his hat, but he feels honoured to have been given the chance to be the dressing room attendant by Simon Willis having originally joined the club as a steward:

“It’s been an experience of a lifetime, especially with all the players I’ve met. It’s been a privilege to have worked for the club.”

“Above all of the players and staff, it is the legacy of the club and I am sure there are a lot of people that feel the same as me and that we are here as custodians of the club.”

“We are simply a small part of the club, but for a lot of people that are here, it’s a big part of your life.”

“I’m going to miss it so much as it’s been an absolutely fabulous time with some really great people.”

“I’ll miss the players, the groundstaff, the stewards, the members and dare I say it, even the journalists!”

The list of players that have played at the club over the years is almost endless, but for Dickie there are some real stand out names that stick in his mind:

“Meeting the likes of Devon Malcolm, Shane Warne and a special favourite of mine has been my pal Jack Russell.”

“We’ve had some great players play at Canterbury over the years, both for and against Kent with the likes of Rahul Dravid and Steve Waugh some of the biggest names to have been in the home dressing room.

“I’ll miss mixing with all of the these guys, but I plan to be next year in some capacity. I shall be bringing my chair and a picnic basket, but that might be a long way off!”Richard Cannon

In his time at Kent, Dickie has seen changes both on and off the field, but one of the stand out features for him has been the way some of the youngsters have come through the system:

“From my first season in 2002, there’s only one of the players here that were in the first eleven and that’s Keysey (Rob Key). I’ve seen lots of players come in and go out, but it’s so nice to see all of the younger guys coming through.”

“In my first season with the club, I saw the Cowdrey boys (Fabian and Julius) tearing around being a real nuisance aged about seven or eight and and now Fabian is in the first eleven.”

“I’ll miss all of that, but you just know ehen it’s your time to pass it on and now is my time.”

Dickie is currently in the process of writing two books. One about steeping away from the fast paced life after a career working in the railways and the other about cycling for the over 60’s.

Meanwhile, his website www.downthelane.net keeps him busy too, with the site keeping people that like to live a frugal lifestyle connected.

It’ll only be next season that a lot of people connected with Kent realise exactly how good Dickie has been for the club.

It’s not until something is gone that you miss them and Dickie is surely one to be missed.

Main pictures supplied by www.sarahansellphotography.com