Ex-skipper leads tributes to Caley
COLIN Rutterford, who was captain when Phil Caley made his Suffolk debut in 1982, last night led the tributes to his extraordinary career.Rutterford, the former opening bowler who was later the county's team manager, said: “I was skipper when he made his Minor Counties debut and it was obvious from the start he was going to be something exceptional.
COLIN Rutterford, who was captain when Phil Caley made his Suffolk debut in 1982, last night led the tributes to his extraordinary career.
Rutterford, the former opening bowler who was later the county's team manager, said: “I was skipper when he made his Minor Counties debut and it was obvious from the start he was going to be something exceptional.
“Phil is one of the most talented cricketers Suffolk has ever had and he has done an outstanding job both before he was skipper and since he has been captain.”
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Norman Atkins, chairman of Suffolk County Cricket Association, said: “Phil has been an excellent captain for Suffolk for the past 15 years both on and off the field. He has earned the respect of officials and opposing sides which has made our matches much more enjoyable.
“He has played a huge part in the management team which has made Suffolk into a very well run, professional and competitive side and the envy of many other Minor Counties.”
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Former Suffolk skipper Mark Bailey said: “Phil Caley has been a magnificent Minor Counties' cricketer: an exceptional batsman, superb fielder and fine off-spin bowler. Any successful captain, especially one to serve for so many years, must be a exemplar to his players first and foremost.
“Phil also matured into a shrewd tactician, a deft judge of a player, and a canny reader of the ebbs and flows of a cricket match. No wonder Suffolk has flourished under him. Yet as captain he has also encapsulated the spirit of an earlier age of Minor Counties cricket, and preserved it in a more modern, professional, age.
“He understood the traditions and ethos of the game better than most. Players and umpires respected that quality, and he was highly regarded well beyond the county boundaries.”
Keith Bray, a former Minor Counties umpire and now chairman of Norfolk, said: “I am sorry to hear of Phil's retirement as captain as over the years he was an absolute pleasure to umpire. He was very fair-minded and was a good captain who read the game very well.
“In later years the only fault I have found with him was he batted far too low down the order!
“Since I have been chairman of Norfolk we always said tongue-in-cheek 'would you like 50 runs and not come into bat?' because he always saved up a good innings against us.”
Kevin Brooks, Suffolk's director of cricket, said: “Inevitably the time was going to come one day when Phil was going to decide to stand down. Fortunately though for the first time in my involvement with the county, we do have a number of strong contenders waiting in the wings to take over from him.
“Whilst it will be the end of an incredible era Suffolk are fortunate to have had someone with such dedication and commitment as their captain for so long.”