Richard Orton

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of former Sonning and Berkshire player: Richard Orton.

Richard graced Pound Lane through the 1970s and, after moving away, played regularly in the Presidents Day during the 1980s. He was a top performer with both bat and ball, and this alerted the Berkshire selectors to bring him in to the fold.

His family has had a long association with the Club, in particular in the form of Frank Orton our beloved former President of 20 years. Frank was a leading figure in the Club when our renaissance began with his support to our current President: Peter Kay. The addition of Richard certainly helped strengthen the Club’s fortunes as we became all-conquering through 1978 to 1980.

One of our current members Richard Anderson remembers playing with him for Berkshire and tells of the time he played with him against the MCC Young Cricketers back in 1982 and Richard Orton captained the side at Finchampstead.  

‘We scored a total of circa 260, which back then was pretty decent. What we hadn’t accounted for was that the MCC YC had, amongst other future first class players, Dermot Reeve and Neil Williams in their bowling line up as well as a couple of guys over from Oz and NZ by the names of Wayne Phillips and Martin Crowe batting at 3 and 4! Anyway they came together at about 60/2, when the captain was bowling his medium pace seamers at quite an economical rate. Things were about to change and these guys proceeded to launch our bowling to all parts of the ground until, probably 15/20 overs later, when the score was around 225/2 and we were scattered all around the boundary, Richard Orton was desperately trying to catch somebody’s (including mine!) eye to get them on to bowl. Nobody, least of all me, would look at him! ? it was priceless! .. so he had to just carry on  taking the punishment … and the batting was the most awesome I have ever been that close to witness.

At least he was able to have a good laugh about it in the dressing room after the game! …Lovely chap.’         

Our deepest condolences go to his widow: Jenny, sons Paul & Michael, both of whom have competed against Sonning for Tring Park over recent seasons; in fact Richard & Jenny last visited us, and spent the afternoon with our club stalwart: Valerie Phillips, when we welcomed Tring in 2018. There was much reminiscing of the halcyon days. We also, send our best wishes to daughter Kim, and Richard’s sisters: Rosemary and Jenny.

We shall raise a glass for Richard in the pavilion at the Frank Orton Bar as soon as we are able.

Gary Phillips


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