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Brian Ford, is our new club President, 2017

Brian Ford was born in the year that English county cricket
returned after its longest break of six seasons, and became the third member of a dynasty that, through the second half of the twentieth century, played a highly significant role in shaping the modern Hampshire County Cricket Club.

His family were based in the west of the county from where his grandfather was Vice-Chairman of Hampshire County Cricket Club, and his Father Chairman from 1969 – the first year of the Sunday League – through to 1986, embracing their last Championship to date, and three of those Sunday League titles.

Brian’s membership of the county commenced in Desmond Eagar’s last season as captain in 1957 and he was at Dean Park on 1 September 1961 when a Hampshire side, with a fair selection of local players, won their first title. In 1973, a member of that side, Leo Harrison, proposed Brian for Hampshire’s General Committee and his life of cricket management and administration began.

While pursuing his career as an accountant, he spent thirty years on that Committee, taking over as Chairman in one of Hampshire’s most turbulent periods, from 1995 to the turn of the new century. As a Committee member, he had been present from the late 1980s through all the discussions about the new ground and as Chairman he saw the farmer’s field turned into the first stage of the magnificent stadium that is today’s Ageas Bowl. On 6 June 2000, he watched Hampshire-born Billy Taylor of Sussex 2nd XI bowl the first ball on the Nursery ground to Hampshire-born Jimmy Adams of Hampshire 2nd XI, and a few weeks later watched another 2nd XI match (v Glamorgan) which christened the main ground.

Back in 1973 Brian was elected a member of MCC and he became involved in the administration of English cricket as a member of the old TCCB that devised the England & Wales Cricket Board. He was on the ECB’s Finance Committee from 1996-2002 and was Chairman from 1998-2002, during which time he was also on the ECB’s Management Board.

One little known story is that in that capacity he attended a Buckingham Palace reception prior to the 1999 World Cup in England and attended by all the teams. At some point, he had a conversation with a well-known blonde-haired leg spinner and suggested to that ‘Aussie’ he might enjoy a season or two of county cricket. Sure enough, in 2000, his last season as Hampshire’s Chairman, he led the Press Conference at Northlands Road that introduced Shane Warne of Hampshire CCC.

It might be that what clinched it was their shared fondness for the art of leg-spin which Brian bowled, against contemporary fashion, through his career with Bournemouth CC over a period of more than thirty years. He made a half-century but is perhaps particularly proud of his 6-32 against a Sherborne side that included most of Dorset’s Minor County side!

On retiring as Hampshire’s Chairman, he was elected a Vice President of the club and still watches them regularly. In the winter, he follows local and international rugby with great enthusiasm and one of his other passions is revealed by his membership of MCC’s Real Ale Focus Group (“with a handle please”).