Club shop a success at Kent Cricket
Club shop a success at Kent Cricket

The club shop at Kent Cricket goes from strength to strength and Barrie Dyer is excited about the season ahead.

Barrie Dyer2

In his sixteenth year working at the club and twelfth as Club Shop manager, Dyer is a very familiar face at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in Canterbury.

With other local competition having packed up in recent months and years, the Kent Cricket club shop has seen turnover dramatically increase and on the eve of the first County Championship game at the home of Kent Cricket, Dyer is excited about the coming months:

“This year has gone from strength to strength with the sad closure of the shop down at Wincheap. Our cricket sales have gone through the roof and we’ve taken more than ever.”

“We have extended the opening hours due to that and are now open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and 10am to 3pm on Saturdays, plus we are open on all matchdays.”

“I’d like for us to be called a cricket specialist shop and we’ve got a lot of top of the range stock from all the best suppliers. I’ve been doing this pretty much all of my working life and I’d like to think I now know what I’m talking about!”

“I can fit out kids with helmets and to the correct specifications and make sure everyone is using the correct bat size.”

In recent seasons, many travelling teams including New Zealand, South Africa and Australia have seen their international cricketers pay a visit to the club shop and Barrie is more than happy to help the best of them:

“A lot of the pros come in and buy stuff and rightly so. They say we are one of the best stockists in the country for the county circuit.”

“I do a lot of repairs for the players throughout the season, especially if they have something wrong with their bats, so it’s a privilege to be here.”

This year is Darren Stevens’ benefit year and the all-rounder turns forty on Saturday with Dyer happy to support someone he calls a good friend:

“Good old Darren, we try to help him out as much as we can and the sales of things like ties and baseball caps are going really well.”

“We all know what a great servant he’s been for the club and if we can help him out, we’re more than happy to do so.”

With new sponsors on board, it means a slight change to the playing strip, but Barrie points out the club haven’t changed much to keep fans from forking out unless they wish to:

“The club in fairness have tried to be sensible and we haven’t changed too much of the design. Those with shirts from previous years will find it looks similar, but we appreciate people will want to wear the current shirt.”

“Barretts are now on the training range and Go-Tec are now on the Specsavers County Championship shirts and we’ve got plenty of kit in ready for the start of the season.”

“It’s a great time to be buying your Kent clothing because we can only really do one order per year, so come and get your stuff early whilst we have limited stock!”

Barrie Dyer

One thing that’s changed this year is that the club shop is now out on the road and Barrie is keen to talk to anyone in the county that needs cricket equipment:

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while and thankfully we have been to about six or seven schools so far and I’ve got plenty booked in.”

“If anyone does want us to go down to their club or school, then you can gladly get in contact with me at the ground. The lack of sports shops selling cricket stuff means we are having to go to clubs and schools to help them out.”

For someone that spends most of his time inside the club shop on matchdays, Barrie doesn’t get to see much of the action out on the pitch, but does admit to having a sneaky look when he gets chance and believes the side are in good shape for the rest of the campaign:

“I can’t remember the last One Day game I saw to be honest, but I’m looking during the four day games as I can normally grab ten or fifteen minutes every now and then having a watch.”

“It’s a great place to work and there are some great people here and hopefully the club will get some success soon.”

“Last year we did the T20 shirt where we made a donation to the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust and it turned out to be record sales, I think in the history of the club.”

“In the end we couldn’t get shirts quick enough from our suppliers Samurai and we will be doing the same thing this year.”

“When the club is doing well, the shop seems to reflect that and we are busy.”

“I have seen loads of progress on and off the field and I sincerely believe we are close to securing some domestic honours. The ground is really taking shape and who knows, maybe we will see international cricket being played at Canterbury one day.”

An ardent cricket fan and passionate about the club, Barrie is just one of a number of loyal employees at Kent Cricket and he admits he’d have loved to have played for the club, but that ship may have sailed:

“Twenty years ago maybe I’d have been good enough.” he joked. “I still think I can hold a bat relatively well, so you should never say never if they need me!”

To arrange a club or shop visit, contact Barrie on (01227) 473617 or email him at [email protected]