By Chris Airey
Many sporting schools up and down the country are delighted if one or two of their pupils go on to play their chosen sport at a professional level.
But one Derbyshire school has successfully produced 132 sporting professionals, and that is just in one sport alone.
Repton School, Derby, are celebrating their 132nd pupil who has represented the school to go on the play first-class cricket in England and overseas.
Their latest inductee is Derbyshire summer contracted player Hamza Siddique who recently represented Cardiff MCCU against Somerset.
It is an amazing achievement which Fixture Secretary of Repton Pilgrims CC James Ross has put down to the excellent facilities the school currently boasts.
“The ground and pavilion have something special which must play a part in encouraging parents of prospective cricket mad pupils to send their son to Repton,” he said.
“As a Reptonian who has played at many of the leading public schools, without too much bias, I would say there are few better places to play the game.
“The ground is always beautifully maintained and the thatched pavilion sits perfectly. The standard of masters in charge and coaching has always been of the highest order. Again from a personal perspective, although I speak I'm sure for all Repton cricketers, it is a privilege to be part of such a heritage.”
Not only has the school produced 132 first-class cricketers, but they have also produced 10 England and one South African Test players.
“CB Fry without doubt is the most famous Reptonian cricketer,” Ross added. “His playing achievements and of course his football, athletics and academic achievements add to the legend.
“That must have been a catalyst for the high standard of cricketers produced through the generations. Another player of the highest calibre was JN Crawford. He played for Surrey in 1904 aged 17 during the school holidays and topped the national bowling averages.
“He played with distinction for England and until Brian Close superseded him in 1949 he held the record for the youngest player to represent England.
“Richard Hutton, who played five Tests for England and 281 first-class games for Yorkshire, is another famous graduate from Repton. Richard is also the son of former England captain, Sir Leonard Hutton, whilst his elder son, Ben Hutton, captained Middlesex in 2005 and 2006.
“Other England players of that generation were RA Young and LCH Palairet. From then on famous names have continued to roll off the production line. FSG Calthorpe and DB Carr followed in Fry's footsteps and captained England. To date Repton has had eleven Test players a number only eclipsed by Eton.”
The school already has strong first-class representation in the Derbyshire squad, and in other professional squads from around the Country, and they believe it won’t be long until their numbers increase further.
“In the current 2012 season the Repton representation remains as strong as ever,” Ross explained.
“Paul Borrington, Ross Whiteley and Tom Poynton are all playing for Derbyshire, while Siddique is still waiting for his opportunity with the Falcons (pictured alongside former Reptonian and current Derbyshire Committee member Brigadier Edward Wilkinson).
“Jon Batty is with Gloucestershire and has had a distinguished career including being captain of Surrey where Chris Adams is now Manager of Cricket at the Oval having played for Derbyshire, Sussex and England after leaving Repton in 1987.
“We have had many successful first-class players come through the ranks here at Repton and I'm sure that it will not be too long before first-class player number 133 emerges.”
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