Tony Greaves - Groundskeeper of the Year

Tony Greaves & Robert Jobson
© Michael Weeks

Previous Winners    Groundskeeper of the Year


A sprightly 77-year-old, whose wife is forever having to tell telephone callers to her home ‘Tony is not here’, has been honoured as Cornwall Cricket’s Groundskeeper of the Year.

Tony Greaves of Bude is the latest winner of the Del Codd Trophy, given in memory of a leading light of the Cornwall Cricket Groundskeepers and Bond Timber Cornwall League.

Back in the 1990’s Tony and Del both played for Chacewater CC. Tony said: “We enjoyed happy times. He gave great service to Cornish cricket as a player, groundsman, engineer and administrator. As a friend of his, it means everything to me to be awarded this trophy.”

These days, if you want to find Tony, the best place if not the only place to locate him is out on the downs at Bude where he tends to his cliff-top turf most days of the week, most weeks of the year within sight and sound of the Atlantic breakers. It can be the most stunning of cricket locations.

When Michael Weeks and I ventured up the A39 Atlantic Highway on a bright and sunny Saturday it was definitely the place to be. We knew who would be there to greet us.

Having wended our way through the packed streets of this buzzing resort and down past the golf links towards Crooklets Beach, Tony’s immaculate groundsmanship instantly caught our eye.

An outfield of billiard table smoothness, mowed with inch-perfect precision in a circular pattern, was dotted with fielders chasing forlornly as the ball regularly sped past them to the boundary.

A well-grassed pitch, nourished by deep healthy roots, afforded pace and bounce to batters and bowlers alike. Tony surveyed the scene with a contented smile, as did his two beaming ‘Man Friday’ assistants, Club Secretary Mike White and 2nd XI captain Mike Taylor.

Still keeping wicket for Bude 2nd XI in his eighth decade of cricket, as well as being chair and groundskeeper of Bude CC, Tony is a sportsman with pedigree.

Next door neighbour to his parents in the Derbyshire mining town of Swadlincote was none other than 1960’s British and European Heavyweight Boxing Champion Jack Bodell.

Having learnt his football and cricket at Ashby De La Zouche Grammar School, Tony was a winger on Derby County’s books before joining Burton Albion.

His manager at Burton was Peter Taylor. He invited Tony to accompany him to Hartlepool United to join up with best friend Brian Clough. Tony opted to stay in the Midlands, where Clough and Taylor were soon to re-appear to work their champion magic at Derby and Nottingham Forest.

Tony then migrated to Cornwall to become Truro store manager for electrical wholesalers Newey and Eyre. Having played cricket for Chacewater and then Perranporth, where he lived, Tony moved in 2007 to Bude.

He succeeded Ian Mill as groundsman in 2011 and, as Tony’s wife Joy will testify, he has been on the ground ever since. Although there is now a £1 million penthouse overlooking the ground, Tony and Joy, married for 54 years, prefer their snug town centre home at The Crescent.

In contrast to The Crescent, the cricket ground half a mile away at Crooklets can be brutally exposed to the elements, with harsh salty winds and storms blowing in off the sea freezing not just fielders’ anatomies but making it difficult to grow grass.

Last autumn three of Tony’s freshly renovated pitches were washed out by torrential downpours, requiring much time, effort and expense to get those pitches right.

As Michael and I delved into my wife Tamsin’s picnic hamper to extract smoked salmon and egg mayonnaise rolls, quiche lorraine, orange cake and a chilled ‘thirst quencher’ or two, we could not see a lot that was wrong.

And neither did Bude 2nd XI openers Michael Taylor and Jack Miles. Both stroked centuries against St Austell 4th XI before retiring to the pavilion to let others have their turn on Tony’s treasured track.


Robert Jobson (CACG Hon Sec, CCL Vice-Chair).