Ex-Sidmothian Gordon travels 12,000 miles to play cricket at the Fortfield with son

PUBLISHED: 11:19 23 August 2009 | UPDATED: 10:03 18 June 2010

A CRICKET mad ex-Sidmouth man this week achieved his ambition of nearly 40 years by returning to the town from Australia, and taking to the crease at the Fortfield with his son for the first time.

A CRICKET mad ex-Sidmouth man this week achieved his ambition of nearly 40 years by returning to the town from Australia, and taking to the crease at the Fortfield with his son for the first time.

Dad of four Gordon Gregory, 64, has lived in Australian capital Canberra since 1971, and hadn't played at Sidmouth's famous cricket ground for 39 years.

He has spent thousands of pounds and travelled more than 12,000 miles to grace the Fortfield's cricket venue with Australian-born son Tad, 26.

"I dream of this place," said Gordon, "it holds a special spot in my heart."

"I regard this site and this pavilion as one of the sights of the world, there's no place dearer to me than where I am now, the view, the place the game.

"Sidmouth was my home town from 1965 to 1971, I played here as a college boy and university student and have brilliant memories. It's been my ambition for all of these years to return to play with my sons."

"It's (the Fortfield ground) part of the fabric of Sidmouth and the cricketing world, people come from all over the globe to play here.

"We are keener to play here than watch the Ashes matches", added Gordon, who still backs the county of his birth, while Aussie son Tad is firmly backing his Antipodean countrymen to triumph in the decisive final test, which began yesterday.

Gordon has regaled his family with tales of the Fortfield for decades and Tad feels it has lived up to the hype. He said: "This is my first visit and the place is as good as the tales and better. The countless times we've played driveway cricket and thought about it being England versus Australia at Sidmouth. It's been talked about by my dad and mum for such a long time, to finally come and see it, you can't put it into words.

"The view is beautiful, prettier and more picturesque than in the stories.

"Everyone has been very welcoming to us, today (Wednesday) is our fourth game and they keep inviting us back."

The Herald reported in June how the Cricket Club has launched a £45,000 fundraising drive to re-thatch its iconic roof.

Gordon has backed the bid and said: "I Hope the opportunity remains for people to come from all over the country and world to sample this great pleasure."

"To sit up on its balcony and watch a game is one of the cricketing joys of the world.

This pavilion is a key part of this place's history and should be a key part of its future.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Sidmouth Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Sidmouth Herald