YMCA Cricket Club, Bristol
Playing cricket at Golden Hill since 1902


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A cricketer with humour and determination

Richard J Parsons began playing cricket for the YMCA, rather appropriately, in the famously hot summer of 1976 when a bedraggled England team were suffering a ‘Blackwash’ at the hands of the mighty West Indies. And how the England side of the day could have done with a batsmen in the mould of Parsons, whose nickname, ‘Scratcher’, provides a clue to just how dearly he cherishes his wicket each time he bats!
J.F.CHIDGEY 1ST XI - 9 FOR 22 IN 1992
R.J.PARSONS 2ND XI - 9 FOR 31 IN 1978
G.W.REED 1ST XI - 9 FOR 39 IN 1980
N.VENN 3RD XI - 9 FOR 39 IN 1986
J.P.IRELAND 1ST XI - 8 FOR 10 IN 1973
G.W.REED 1ST XI - 8 FOR 30 IN 1973
J.W.MACHIN 2ND XI - 8 FOR 30 IN 1989
D.G.WILLIAMS 2ND XI - 8 FOR 30 IN 1981
H.SHAH 1ST XI - 8 FOR 41 IN 1987

A bowler with the figures to prove it!
Despite gaining a reputation as something of a ‘limpet-like’ opening batsman, it may surprise readers to learn that Parsons started his career with The Christians as a bowler. And the right-handed seamer has the figures to prove it as he holds the record for the second best league bowling figures in the club’s history. In 1978 at the age of 22, the relative newcomer took nine wickets for only 31 runs during a second eleven match. To prove that it was no fluke Parsons went on to take no fewer than 35 league victims during, what remains, the sides only unbeaten season.


Parsons (far left, back row) played over 100 innings for the 1st X1, pictured here in 1990

Rookie gets good advice
But it’s as a self-confessed “dogged” batsman, primarily in the First Eleven, that the Shirehampton based cricketer is best know
n. Throughout the 80's and 90's Parson's played over 100 innings for the First Team. And it was during this period that the club's two most experienced batsmen, Keith Milsom and Ray Cork, offered the 'rookie' some sound advice that would, ultimately, serve Parsons well and enable him to become one of only nine players to score over 4000 senior runs (click here for Top 40 Run Makers).

Indian summer
During the last nineties the vegetarian tea-totaller enjoyed an ‘Indian Summer’ and, for the second time in his career, he became a vital member of the Second Eleven. In the role of vice captain, Parson’s demonstrated his batting ability to great affect by scoring over 500 runs (1997-1999) at an average of nearly 30. Meanwhile, his tactical know-how and general influence elevated him above the role of an effective batsman into a central figure in the team’s subsequent rise to successive B&D Division Two Championships in 2000 and 2001.

Beyond his batting exploits, Parsons followed in the footsteps of his brother, Dave by standing as a club captain although rather than opting for the demands of league cricket Parsons choose to lead the more sociable Sunday Elcven over a four year spell in the late 1980’s. In addition Parsons continues to act as the club’s representative at BDCA meetings, a post he has held for many years.

Key architect of Second Eleven revival
As the club approached the millennium, the then 43 year old bachelor surprised many at Golden Hill by announcing his semi-retirement, in order to pursue a more ‘personal agenda’ during the weekends. The decision ensured that he one of the YMCA’s most respected players bowed out in the form of his life and with the full respect of everyone at the club intact. However, sadly, the timing of Parsons’ decision denied the key architect of the Second Eleven’s revival an opportunity to savour the success in full in the coming seasons.

Finally, as the club’s recent resurgence gathers pace, the sports enthusiast can often be seen at the ground on match-days and, fortunately, he continues to offer his services of a part-time basis when the situation demands. So, whether he’s playing a First Eleven league game or taking part in the annual Ted Whale Memorial Match, this is one YM’er that won’t be getting out much……not just yet!


Batting Average 16.25
Highest score 90*
Runs Scored 4306
Bowling Average 19.72
Best Bowling 9 for 31
Wickets Taken 166

Born: 1957 in Bristol. Some people say I’m the man who put the ‘hampton’ in Shire!

Year Joined YMCA: I think it was that long hot summer of ‘76.

Nick Name: Scratcher

Playing Details: I started my career as a seam bowler for the seconds but then I developed into a dogged batsman. Ray Cork helped me a lot with some coaching.

Other Clubs Played For: Played quite a lot of midweek games for Gordano Valley against touring sides including a team from Holland. Gordano are a good bunch of blokes. Apart from that the YM are my only club.

Best YMCA Match Played In: We played Horfield in a Sunday game reduced to 35 overs. They scored 202 and at tea I told our lads that we could get the runs although I didn’t really believe it. However, we won off the last ball for the loss of only two wickets. I scored 90 not out and it is probably my only disappointment that I never scored a century for the club.

Favourite YMCA Batsman: Keith Milsom. He never gives his wicket away cheaply. He once told me that you can’t score runs back in the pavilion which is something I have always remembered.

Favourite YMCA Bowler: I think that would have to be Itch [Hitesh Shah]. He was a very economical bowler despite bowling with tremendous variety who was happy bowling at any stage of the innings. He was also a useful bat and had a safe pair of hands.

Cleeve's Main Road cricket ground - happy memories for Parsons

Favourite Cricket Ground: Failand & Portbury is a beautiful setting with an excellent wicket. I also always enjoyed playing at Cleeve CC.

Least Favourite Cricket Ground: St. George CC and Hanham Mount CC.

Favourite Professional Cricketer: Brian Lara – sheer class and Bob Willis – a hundred per cent cricketer.

Favourite Food: My favourite meal is cheese & onion pastie with chips on a Friday evening while listening to the 'Geoff Twentyman Phone In' on Radio Bristol. I guess I should try and get out more.

Favourite Drink: Coke and water (but not together as some pubs think is acceptable).

Favourite Football Team: There’s nothing I like better on a Saturday than going up to The Downs to watch The Hogs Head.

Favourite Holiday Destination: Devon

Motto In Life: Always play the way you’re facing.

© 2004 YMCA Cricket Club