Richard Doughty also of Gloucestershire CCC and Surrey CCC was a great servant of Virgin XI and sadly passed away in his sleep while on holiday early 2018. Richard did tour with Cricket World XI but played but only played one game if at all for Nomads CC, his memory was  was toasted at the Nomads Annual Dinner at The East India Club February 16th.

Subsequently at his memorial service at Hemsley Yorkshire on May 1st there was a good turn out from former Virgin XI as pictured below. At the service Virgin XI founder Jeremy Lascelles spoke eloquently of his former friend and fellow cricketer.

Standing left to right:  Houston, Stuckey, Crabtree, Lane, Burrows, Logan, Bell, Vickers, Ford, Lascelles. Front : Scarr, Sargent, Brown.

Richard Doughty Virgin Stats


                           M     I     NO     RUNS    H.S.    AVE     100    50    Ct    St

                          88   83    18      3026      144     46.55     5      18    25    1


                          M     0        M       RUNS    WICKETS   AVE      BP  5WKS  Bs/W  Rs/0

                         88  926.5  223       2702       178          15.18    7-63    8       31.24   2.92

                   Jeremy Lascelles Oration at the Memorial Service

Let's be honest. Sporting nicknames are on the whole pretty rubbish. Although to be fair, in our team we had a few good ones. The Walrus of Love, Grizzly Bear, The Minister, Big Sal, Salty the Seadog, The Love Slug. All of whom, bar Salty are here today I believe. But then there were the obvious ones. Colin Sargent became Sarge, Don Topley – Toppers, Adrian Houston – Houst, Tony Ford – Fordy. Pretty imaginatively we came up with Doc for Phil Bell – because he was… you guessed it , a doctor. Sadly Richard fell into the dull category – known to us all as Doughts.

So yes, it was as a cricketer that I met and came to know Doughts back in 1986. He had just finished playing what turned out to be his final season as a professional county cricketer for Surrey. Somehow through a set of circumstances that I only vaguely remember (but involving his friendship with Sarge and Houst) he was persuaded to roll up one day to play for the Virgin Cricket Club, which I ran. The Virgin Cricket Club was initially conceived as an occasional fun, fairly low quality gathering of people who worked for Virgin Records to play against other music business teams. It quickly became pretty obvious to me that a) there were only about 3 or 4 players of any quality at all who worked for Virgin at the time, and b) other music biz teams were incredibly flakey – cancelling games at the last minute or turning up with 6 players, a couple labradors and an 8 year old. I decided that I wanted to make my newly re-discovered joy at playing cricket again (after an absence of nearly 15 years) a slightly more serious thing, so started trying to recruit players of a much higher standard to augment the distinctly average players in the side, such as myself. A sales rep for one of our printing companies recruited an aspiring young photographer (Adrian Houston) who somehow dragged along a very good player who had just failed to make the grade as a first class cricketer (Colin Sargent), who between them sweet talked (or bribed, maybe they had something on him) Doughts  into playing a game for us one Sunday.

And thus was formed the ragtag, motley crew of individuals, ne’er do wells and reprobates from a wide variety of backgrounds (only about three of who actually worked for Virgin) to form a wandering cricket club that played together for the best part of 20 years – travelling round the country then overseas, playing some decent cricket on the way, usually stuffing the opposition and then partying on hard into the night. And the next day. And beyond. We had a blast and lifelong friendships were formed.

Doughts from day one was class. For someone like me, it was a thrill and an honour to play with someone of his talent. I never expected him to play more than the first game – maybe a couple more if we were lucky – but he ended up playing 88 games for the club over the next dozen or so years, scoring 3026 runs at 46.25 (5 hundreds), taking 178 wickets at 15.18. And most importantly for him – never appearing to ever be really trying. We always thought that was what defined Doughts on the cricket field. Even when he got a bit riled as a bowler or decided he wanted (or the team needed) a big score from him, he had to appear not really to be trying very hard.

We loved having Doughts in the team, not just because of how good a player he was, but because he was a laugh. We all had a laugh. And he had a laugh. I mean he had a laugh. His laugh was a thing to behold – deep, sonorous, like a beautifully tuned musical machine gun. You could not help be chuckled when within earshot of this extraordinary sound – utterly infectious.

He was great to play with, only occasionally letting you know that you were several notches below his own natural level. If the captain ever had the temerity to take him off before he thought he was ready to end his spell, he would simply grab the ball at the beginning of the following over, tell the poor bowler who had been asked to come on to “put a side 10 in it and piss off back to fine leg” and carry on bowling himself.

I was a wicket keeper in those days and he used to refer to me as the carpet fitter because I spent so much time on my knees. But c Lascelles b Doughty became a regular entry in the score book, as he found that extra bounce or movement off the pitch (I don’t think I ever saw him swing the ball in the entire time we played together). And of course batting with him was an education. I particularly remember a game down in Winchester. We were chasing around 270 and were in a bit of trouble about 50-3 when I joined him at crease. Two and a bit hours later, after a stand of around 175 (166) we were practically home and dry – Doughts having scored a magnificent 100, full of classy elegant text book cricket shots. A privilege to be at the other end.

Doughts as we know had his demons. The period of his life where he struggled with addiction issues was particularly dark. But I can think of no higher praise than to acknowledge an individual who confronts their demons, seeks and receives the right help that is required, and comes out the other end a remodelled and reformed person. Doughts did exactly that. Hugely helped by the wonderful folk at Sporting Chance, he embarked on a recovery programme that transformed his life. His desire to give back to the community was reflected in the work he subsequently undertook with prisoners and other addicts, in the sporting world and beyond. And it was as part of his recovery programme that he met the wonderful Debs and they became an item and I think true soulmates, remaining  together until his tragic and untimely passing.

And it was in the company of Debs that a memorable afternoon was spent a few years ago in the company of Don Wilson – Wils (another imaginative nickname), one of Doughts’ mentors. Wils living here in Helmsley, just a few hundred yards from this church. His health was declining and a group of his young cricketers that he had coached as part of the MCC groundstaff decided to pay him what might be (and sadly turned out to be) one last visit. So Sarge, Toppers, Houst, Doughts (with Debs) all met up at Wils’ little house, just around the corner in Canons Garth Mews. I was also invited along as I had nought a house up in N. Yorkshire and was living locally at the time, and knew well all the participants. A very jolly lunchtime (with no food but plenty of alcohol) spilled over into the afternoon, as we all sat around sharing memories and anecdotes from the past. Laughter rippled constantly around Wils’ small living room, and a good time was being had by all. Suddenly, Wils hold his hands up and asks for silence. “I just want to say something about Doughts” he started. “Of all the cricketers I ever coached, Doughts without any shadow of a doubt” (and we’re all thinking he’s going to say – the most talented, the most hard-working (no, not that), the funniest). “Of all the players I ever coached, Doughts had …by far the biggest cock I have ever seen”. Then he turns to Debs “Have you ever seen his cock?”. As they had been living together for several years, that was not a question that needed answering.

Anyone who ever shared a changing room with Doughts knew that he was extremely fond of his aforementioned appendage. So perhaps it is fitting that we are able to pay tribute to it – and him – here at All Saints Church in Helmsley today.

I can’t quite believe that I am standing here, having been given the honour and the task to make this address. I was thrilled to re-connect with Doughts again following his recovery and his move back up to Yorkshire. It was once again a joy to spend time in his company, to hear that deep, dirty laugh of his, and share anecdotes and memories of great time shared.

Richard left us just under 3 months ago. He went to sleep in a paradise resort in Malaysia next to the woman he loved and never woke up. No pain, no distress. One can only imagine with wonderful thoughts in his head as he drifted off to sleep. In many ways the perfect way to go.

But he was only 57 years old. He had so much left to give. It’s not right. I can’t get my head around the fact he is not here any more.

Doughts – you were a terrific guy. You enriched many people’s lives, mine included. You are someone I am proud to be able to have called a friend. You have left us far too early. We will all miss you.