The Death of Richard Kemp
marks another staging post in the evolution of Cricket as we perceive it and as
we administer it. Richard was among that
band of people who committed themselves to helping to administer and form the
game we love and admire.
A serious childhood
illness cut short his own playing days but did nothing to diminish his
enthusiasm for the game: he was Secretary of Llanilar/Aberystwyth Cricket Club
from 1975 until 1985 and Chairman in 1988/89.
During the 1970s he joined the Welsh Cricket Association (WCA) and was a
member of its Executive until its merger with the Cricket Board of Wales (CBW)
to form Cricket Wales. He was Vice Chairman of the WCA 2000-2002 and Chairman
2003-2005. He also sat as a Board member
of CBW after its formation in 1996. He was Treasurer of the Mid Wales Regional
Junior Cricket Committee until illness caused him to resign four years ago.
Richard Kemp enjoyed his
roles in the administration of Cricket in Wales and was not afraid of being
seen to hold a minority view at times; he could argue his corner and did so to
good effect on many occasions. His insistence on clarity of all detail
certainly led to some fairly lengthy meetings and it is typical of the man that
he completely re-wrote the constitution of the former WCA, a document that is
truly impressive in that it leaves precious little to chance!
Whatever Richard’s grasp
of detail brought to the game’s background, he must be remembered for rather
more than that. In the view of this
writer, who had known him since our student days in 1963 and had been his
friend since 1974, Richard’s greatest achievement was the solid partnership he
forged with the late Tom Cartwright.
Richard was already well installed as a member of the WCA’s Executive
when Tom was appointed as National Coach.
Richard acted as Chair of the sub-committee that promoted a network of
Cricket Coaching Associations under the leadership of the National Coach. Richard and Tom spoke to each other often and
met regularly as this network strengthened and blossomed. The fact that Coaching Associations still
survive, although they have evolved, is a consequence of the firm foundations
laid by Tom and Richard.
Richard’s energy was
remarkable, given his disability and the fact that he lived his entire adult
life in Aberystwyth, somewhat distant from the main population centres. He rarely missed a meeting and he was able to
compensate for his own limited personal mobility by the use of specially
adapted, but very powerful motor cars which he drove at high speed whenever the
opportunity rose. He was rarely late!
People who didn’t know him
particularly well would be surprised to learn that Richard could be very
amusing, very kind and was, at times, extra-ordinarily generous. In 1976 he was umpiring a match in Llanilar
in the early days of that Club and a straight drive from John James came at him
rather too quickly, but he escaped injury because his walking stick took the
full force of the drive and snapped in half!
Richard was at great pains to apologize to John for preventing the
He was subsequently presented with a replacement stick, amidst great ceremonial and hilarity at a club dinner.
When Aberystwyth Cricket
Club members were seeking funds to finance the purchase of land for a
cricket ground, Richard made a very large contribution to that appeal, on
condition that the club planted a copper beech tree. That tree will always remind us of his
This tribute focuses on
his contribution to cricket, but it should not be forgotten that Richard was an
eminent scientist and lecturer at what is now Aberystwyth University. Richard found time to be treasurer of the University's Sports & Socal Club for well over twenty years. He was also warden of a large group of Halls
of Residence at the University. If I
needed to see him, I would call at his flat and adjoining office, where he was
usually to be found sitting behind his desk, almost hidden behind three huge
piles of papers – for this was his filing system: one of these piles was his
cricket pile; his preferred method of filing was one based on stratigraphy and he would unerringly go to the appropriate depth in the pile to
reach the document he needed! I think
that is how I would care to remember him.