John Derrick, the most successful Glamorgan coach of recent times, died prematurely at the age of 54 during March 2017 having been diagnosed with a brain tumour the previous autumn.
The warmth and affection for a man known across the professional and recreational game simply by his initials JD, was apparent in December 2016 in the National Cricket Centre at Sophia Gardens when a sell-out dinner was organised to raise funds to assist John and his family with his treatment. The event, organised jointly by his beloved county, Cricket Wales and the PCA Benevolent Fund, had such a waiting list that almost three times as many people who actually attended the event could have been present and raised a glass to toast one of the good men in the Club’s recent history and in Welsh cricket overall.
John had been Glamorgan`s coach when they won the National League title in both 2002 and 2004. It was a worthy reward for the softly-spoken all-rounder whose wise words and supportive encouragement – initially when working with the county`s 2nd XI, and then as first-team coach – had been instrumental in the development of many of the young Welsh players in the Glamorgan side that won the National League titles. He had also been the assistant to Duncan Fletcher when the Club won the County Championship title in 1997.
After impressing as a schoolboy for Aberdare CC and Welsh Schools, John secured a summer contract with Glamorgan during 1979 before winning a place on the MCC groundstaff between 1980 and 1982. He made his Glamorgan debut in 1983 against Yorkshire at Middlesbrough, and five years later he won his county cap, especially after some excellent performances in limited-overs games, where his accurate seam bowling had helped win several games. However, John struggled with a knee injury from 1989 and was released from the playing staff at the end of the 1991 season.
He subsequently played for Wales Minor Counties before embarking on his hugely successful coaching role. During 2010 John became National Performance Director of Cricket Wales and spent countless hours assessing the skills of young cricketers and nurturing the emerging talent. It gave him great pleasure to see the likes of Aneurin Donald, Kiran Carlson and Lukas Carey win places in Glamorgan’s 1st XI. He embodied all that is good about cricket at both professional and club level and Welsh cricket as a whole, was very much the poorer for the loss of such a great and loyal servant.
Born – Cwmaman, Aberdare, 15th January 1963.
Died – Mountain Ash, 22nd March 2017.
Best performances for Glamorgan:
In first-class cricket – 78* v Derbyshire at Abergavenny, 1986; 6/54 v Leicestershire at Grace Road, 1988.
In List A cricket – 42 v Kent at Sophia Gardens, 1985; 5/32 v Middlesex at Lord’s, 1987.