Welcome to the Friends of Grace Road Website
"When the Eye has Gone" at Derby Theatre
The play 'When the Eye has Gone", the story of Colin Milburn, was produced at the Fischer County Ground in November. It is returning to the East Midlands:
Critically acclaimed play about cricketer Colin Milburn comes to The East Midlands in March
Following a sell-out tour in November 2016, Dougie Blaxland’s critically acclaimed one man show When The Eye Has Gone is coming to The Derby Theatre as part of a UK National tour on 5th March 2017. Tickets are available from the box office on 01332 59 39 39.
When The Eye Has Gone tells the all too brief life of Colin “Ollie” Milburn - the cricketing legend who was one of England’s most unlikely sporting heroes. Full of anecdotes, a thumping soundtrack and a large gin and coke, the story swings backwards and forwards through Milburn’s life as he raises a glass to the triumphs, including his first Test Century against the West Indies at Lords in 1966 and the disasters, like losing his left eye in a car accident in 1969.
The extraordinary story of Colin Milburn has all the hallmarks of a Greek tragedy. In 1966 he became a household name, scoring a blistering century against the mighty West Indies in only his second test. He then caused a major sensation playing for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield smashing 243 against Queensland at Brisbane in an innings described by Don Bradman as “the greatest innings played by an Englishman on Australian soil”. This was quickly followed by another glorious century for England against Pakistan in Lahore.
Just a few weeks later, on his triumphant return to England, he lost his left eye in a car crash in Northampton, an injury that effectively ended his career and life prospects. His subsequent decline into alcoholism ended with his death from a heart attack at the age of 48. Ian Botham was one of the pall bearers.
Originally commissioned by The Professional Cricketers’ Association for Mind Matters, their mental health awareness programme, When The Eye Has Gone was written by the award-winning playwright Dougie Blaxland, nom de plume of James Graham-Brown, a former Derbyshire and Kent all-rounder and directed by Roughhouse Theatre.
The part of Colin Milburn is played by GSA graduate Dan Gaisford. Dan has worked extensively in TV, film and theatre and his recent credits include Clybourne Park (Mercury Theatre Colchester), Kidnapped (Brassworks Theatre) and Henry Walker and the Wheel of Death (Roughhouse Theatre).
Reviews for When The Eye Has Gone
“…brimming with charisma and honesty. Blaxland has skillfully worked Milburn’s life into an arresting parable.”
**** (4 Stars) THE STAGE
“…what makes Blaxland’s piece so compelling is that Milburn’s is a universal tale…(his) exuberance was brilliantly resurrected by Dan Gaisford.”
“a mesmeric virtuoso performance which was every bit as gripping as one of Milburn’s swashbuckling innings.”
“a tour de force”
“Roughhouse Theatre has created a brilliant show whose boundaries extend well beyond the world of cricket."
BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE
Full tour details can be found here: www.roughhousetheatre.com/whentheeyehasgone
Friends of Grace Road 2016 Quiz
Cropston Cricket Club retained the Pat Ball Shield at the 2nd Annual Friends of Grace Road Quiz Night on Friday evening.
A total of 25 teams competed for the trophy, which is named in memory of dear friend and colleague Pat Ball, who sadly passed away last year. Pat served and supported the County with her husband, Hugh, over many years and was a true Friend of Grace Road.
The quiz was a fantastic assortment of questions covering general knowledge, a picture round, a music round, and some questions on the table. There was something for everyone and many thanks to Roger and Rosemary Stead for their hard work in compiling and delivering such an excellent quiz.
Cropston Cricket Club came out on top for a second year in succession with another good quizzing performance, being the only team to get over 200 points.
The Friends of Grace Road raffle was also held with a prize of £60 and everybody thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Watch this space for details of the 3rd Annual Friends of Grace Road Quiz Night!
Please note that the next lunch of the FoGR Winter Programme will be held on Friday 3rd February 2017 with former Leicestershire player Barry Dudleston as the special guest speaker. The Members Christmas Lunch is also taking place on Sunday 11th December.
To reserve your place, please call 0116 283 2128 or email email@example.com.
Thanks to Dan Nice, of Leicestershire CCC for the photo and the text above.
Donation of £12,000 to the Club
The Friends of Grace Road have donated £12,000 to the Club. The presentation was made at a the first of the Friends Winter luches. The guest speakers were ex-Leicestershire Players David Millns and Ben Smith.
This was the third successive donation of £12,000 that the Friends of Grace Road have made to the Club, who issued the following:
Leicestershire County Cricket Club are delighted to receive another generous donation of £12,000 from The Friends of Grace Road (FoGR).
It is the third season in succession that the FoGR have raised that amount of money and it will be used for the critical purchase of three pieces of equipment to keep the Fischer County Ground in top order. The donation will pay for a ride-on outfield mower, a wicket mower for the outdoor nets and a scarifier that will be used on both the square and outdoor nets.
The Friends of Grace Road sold teas, coffees and their legendary homemade cakes at home matches during the 2016 season, ran a raffle during NatWest T20 Blast games, and also help in the organisation of key off-field events.
These include the FoGR Winter Lunches and the 2016-17 programme opened today with a visit from two of Leicestershire’s 1996 and 1998 County Championship winning teams, David Millns and Ben Smith. The FoGR will also host their second annual quiz towards the end of the month.
Wasim Khan MBE, Chief Executive of Leicestershire CCC, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the amount that has been raised through the endeavours of the Friends of Grace Road. The club remains hugely grateful for the ongoing hard work and commitment of the FoGR, and for the annual donations that are made to the club.
“This donation will help to replace three pieces of vital kit for the groundstaff, whose dedication and diligence ensures that the Fischer County Ground and our outdoor nets are in excellent condition for both play and practice.”
Roy Bent, Chairman of Friends of Grace Road, said: “I am pleased to report that 2015-16 has been another very successful and profitable year for the Friends of Grace Road and we appear to be well-placed with a rising number of volunteers, fantastic support from members and spectators alike and efficient organisation to continue our fundraising efforts in 2016-17.
“Consequently, I have great pleasure in announcing that the FoGR again wish to donate £12,000, the third consecutive year that we have managed to contribute this amount to support Leicestershire County Cricket Club.
“The Friends programme of events during the winter continues with the very enjoyable FoGR Winter Lunches on Friday 3rd February 2017 and Friday 3rd March 2017 and the 2nd Annual FoGR Quiz Night which should provide a very enjoyable evening on Friday 25th November. We want to encourage as many teams as possible to enter with entry costing just £20, including a hot buffet for all four players.”
Please contact the club if you can offer help to the FoGR or you want to attend any of the above events. All enquiries can be made to 0116 283 2128 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
You'll find us on the first floor of 'The Meet' - the iconic barrel-roofed building in the corner at Fischer County Ground.
Like to be Involved?
The Friends of Grace Road is always pleased to hear from anyone who'd like to help – whether serving at the café, baking cakes, selling raffle tickets or sorting books.
Please contact us here:
ThnaksA ‘Friends of Grace Road’ brochure has been discovered, thanks to the eagle eyes of Tony, one of our excellent stewards at Grace Road. He saw it in a charity shop.
After extensive research I personally have been unable to discover much about the brochure, except that the year of publication was 1976 and it was edition number 1. As far as I can tell, it was a short-lived publication and no other editions have been seen, by Tony or anyone else.
A copy of the brochure is attached below.
If you are of a certain age, you will be interested in many of the contributions as well as, maybe surprisingly the advertisements.
For example there are articles by:
Chris Balderstone who describes his day when he played first class cricket and league soccer on the same day.
Micky Norman’s ‘Tale of two captains’, Tony Lock & Raymond Illingworth
Sid Chamberlain, a well-know figure at Grace Road for many years
Terry Harris on 'Broadcasting at Grace Road'
and more ..
There’s one for ‘Cobb’s Auto School’ owned by Alan Cobb who is a regular at the ground and of course father of Russell and grandfather of Josh Cobb.
H.Julian also advertises and we’re told he’s the brother of Leicestershire favourite Ray Julian.
There are many other Leicester businesses advertised including Tebbutt-Brown Sports.
Woods Coaches feature and there is a list of trips to away games. One to Taunton is offered for the princely sum of £2.60 return, leaving Leicester at 5.30 in the morning. Another well-known face, Tommy Roebuck was the organiser of these trips.
Thanks are due to Tony for discovering the brochure and to Dan, the Communications Manager at Leicestershire County Cricket Club for his help in the production of this item.
Click here to see the brochure brochure.pdf
Modestly we say that we are famous for our homemade cakes.
Photos above kindly taken by Ed Melia.
Autumn Fayre on Sat 14th Oct. Pitches available, please contact us for more details
Books For Sale & Wanted
The Friends of Grace Road is home to pre-loved books that are looking for a good home. Why not pop upstairs of 'The Meet' to peruse sporting books from all eras.
There is an honesty box - all donations welcome.
The Friends have revised their services and range of activities and this can only be maintained if a sufficient number of new helpers volunteer their services to bake cakes, serve refreshments in the Café, or sell raffle tickets at RL50 and T20 games.
Without more help, the FoGR will no longer exist.
To offer your help and that of your family and friends, even if it is only for a couple of hours every now and again, please call the Club on 0116 283 2128 or send an email to email@example.com
and the Club will send your details to the FoGR, or email directly to the FoGR at
Volunteers will be amply rewarded for committing their time to help the FoGR!