Terry Willetts RIP

Terry Willetts on Cornwall duty

Terry Willetts RIP  by Michael Weeks

The former Cornwall captain Frank Terence Willetts was born in Birmingham on 20th November 1939 and died at Royal Cornwall Hospital Truro, on 24th October 2022.

A private funeral will be held in mid-November.

He was the 352nd player to make a Cornwall Championship debut,  on 17 July 1977 against Somerset seconds at Camborne opening the batting with current President Eric Willcock. Vic Marks took 6-33.

In the return game at the County Ground Taunton in August 1977 he made what was to be his highest Cornwall score of 91 (c Breakwell, b Clapp). He shared a third-wicket stand of 193 with Malcolm Dunstan who went on to make what was to be the fifth of a record  12 centuries. His 125 was only bettered once, in 1984.

Willetts was a county regular until the end of the 1983 season.

He returned in  1988 to captain the team for three years in 19 championship and three one-day games.

He was capped in 1988.

His final game was against Dorset at St Austell in August 1990 at the age of 50.

He bowed out by taking a wicket –one of only four in his county career of just 46 overs.

He made 72 Championship appearances for Cornwall scoring 2325 runs at an average of 19.53 with eight fifties. He held 58 catches.

His Somerset Seconds career saw 37 Minor Counties games between 1964 and 1971 scoring 1784 runs at an average of 27.4 with a top score of 104.

In 1968 he played a full season with Shropshire playing eight games.

He also made 16 First Class appearances for Somerset between 1964 and 1967 with a top score of 38.

In club cricket, Willetts was a member of the St Austell title-winning team in 1978. His 197 not out against Grampound Road that year broke the League record of 194 by George Rogers which had lasted forty years since 1938.  

After playing for Truro in 1981 & 1982  he was a player and captain in the Falmouth title-winning teams of 1983, 85, 86 , 87, 91 & 92.


Robert Jobson adds:

On Terry Willetts, I would say this as a Veryan foe and friend:

“Terry, with his abrasive leadership, fearless attacking approach with the bat and speed between the wickets, transformed St Austell into a champion club after they had moved in the early 1970’s from the Brewery Field to their new ground at Wheal Eliza.

Aided by fleet-footed opening partner Chris Trudgeon, staunch all-rounder Alex Machin and fast bowler Phil Johns (three of East Cornwall’s best post-war cricketers), he toppled perennial title holders Penzance with a typical TW century in the 1978 final.

Those of us old enough to recall him playing for Somerset 2nd XI against Cornwall, and crouching just a few feet from the bat at forward short leg,  would say that he was not just a good close to the wicket catcher. He was exceptionally good, if not brilliant.


The Cornwall line up against Cheshire at Falmouth on 11 June 1990 was Back: Brian 'Condor' Holder (scorer), Simon Wherry, Dave Toseland, Malcolm Bell (debut), Ed Nicolson, Steve Williams, Godfrey Furse. Front: Tim Walton, Steve Eva (wk), Terry Willetts (Capt), Sean Turner, Graham Watts. Cheshire won by 4 wickets after being set 232 in the second innings.

Somerset CCC Tribute  courtesy of Richard Walsh

West Country cricket is mourning the loss of Terry Willetts who played cricket for both Somerset and Cornwall who sadly passed away on October 24th at the age of 82.


Terry was born in Birmingham and on leaving school joined Avery’s who were known worldwide for their weighing scales.


He was a talented all-round sportsman excelling at both football and cricket. He appeared for Bristol Rovers Reserves but turned down the chance of a contract playing instead as a part-timer with both Minehead and Bath City FC.


Terry played cricket for Weston super Mare where his talents were quickly recognised by Bill Andrews who recommended him to  Somerset, who offered him a contract which he duly signed.


He made his debut for Somerset Second XI against Gloucestershire in June 1960 at Clarence Park in Weston. Terry made two further appearances for the Second XI that year and played once more in 1961.


In July 1964 the top-order left-handed batsman who was also a good close-to-the-wicket fielder made his Championship debut in the drawn game against Yorkshire at Bath.


Over the course of the next three seasons, Terry appeared in a total of 16 first-class matches in which he scored 333 runs with a highest of 38 against Glamorgan at Weston super Mare in 1965.


At the end of 1967, Terry departed from Somerset and took on the post of cricket coach at the Royal School in Wolverhampton, where he played for the town side and Shropshire in the Minor Counties.


After two years in the Midlands, he returned to live in Bristol where he played cricket for Bedminster who he went on captain, and appeared once again for Somerset Second XI in 1970 and 71 playing in Minor Counties championship matches.


In 1975 Terry moved to live in Cornwall where he played his club cricket for St Austell, Truro  and Falmouth.


He enjoyed a long and successful career representing Cornwall in the Minor County Championships and despite losing the sight of his left eye after being hit by a bouncer he adjusted his technique and continued to represent the county, captaining the side between 1988 and 1990 by which time he was 50.


Between 1977 and 1990 Terry played in 72 Minor County Championship matches for Cornwall in which he scored 2325 runs with best of 91.