Priory saddened by death of former player and coach

Richard Burnett pictured five years ago while coach at Hastings Priory.
Richard Burnett pictured five years ago while coach at Hastings Priory.
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Hastings Priory Cricket Club has been plunged into sadness by the death of its former player and coach Richard Burnett.

Richard died on Thursday, last week, at the age of 70 having battled cancer over the last couple of years.

Having grown up on the family farm in Sedlescombe, Richard was on the Kent County Cricket staff at a young age and later played grade cricket in Australia.

He then came back to the area and played for Priory for around two decades, and along with his brother Robin, was a key figure in the club’s formidable sides of the late 1970s and early 1980s, including the one narrowly beaten in the 1983 National Cup final at Lord’s.

The grandson of former Kent and England great Frank Woolley, Richard was a genuine all-rounder who bowled left-arm seam and was a right-handed batsman.

After his playing days came to an end, he spent a number of seasons as club coach at Priory, overseeing at least two Sussex League title-winning campaigns. He was also a youth coach at Sussex CCC.

Richard’s girlfriend of many years was South African and he headed out there most winters, coaching at the world-famous Newlands ground. He was instrumental in bringing quite a few players from South Africa to the attention of English counties.

An affable, likable and articulate character, Richard lived in Eastbourne for the last decade or so and spent two or three seasons as coach of Eastbourne CC.

He was uppermost in the thoughts of many Priory players as they began their 2017 league programme on Saturday and amid the sadness, minds were quick to recall some happy memories.

Present day Priory coach Ian Gillespie remembered one particular game where Richard bowled an over in which he repeatedly beat the bat and ended it by offering the batsman some technical advice, to the inevitable amusement of his team-mates.

Richard’s funeral will take place at Eastbourne Crematorium on Tuesday May 23 from 12noon.

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