Published: 29th May, 2020
Surrey County Cricket Club was saddened to hear of the recent death of Mick Verney, who passed away aged 92.
A passionate supporter of cricket in the county, Mick served as Chairman of the Surrey Schools Cricket Association (SSCA) between 1973 and 1985 and again from 1995 to 1997.
The following tribute has been written by Phil Everest, the current Chairman of SSCA.
Mick Verney, who died recently, first became involved in Surrey Schools’ Cricket Association in the mid-1960’s whilst teaching English & Drama at Winston Churchill School, Woking.
At this time there was very little structured youth cricket in Surrey. SSCA, although existing since 1933, ran an U15 Inter-District competition, and U15 and U19 representatives teams playing a handful of matches. These teams were selected from State schools (independent schools had their own organisation) and the U15 side played on Saturdays while the U19 side played a few matches at the end of term in July.
Mick took over the management of the U15 side in the late 60’s and set about expending the programme. Enthusiastic as ever, he built on coaching links with Surrey CCC, particularly through the then County Coach Arthur McIntyre, and eventually introduced an annual two-day Easter Coaching course.
This partnership was arguably the seed which later grew into the highly successful Nescafe Coaching Scheme. When he handed over the U15 role in the mid 70’s, the annual U15 fixture programme had grown to over 20 matches and included a week long tour to either the West or North of England.
He became Chairman of SSCA from 1973-85, and again between 1995 and 1997. Nationally, he was a member of the Executive of the English Schools’ Cricket Association from 1974 – 88, acting as Chairman in 1987. He also served as the ESCA South Region selector for the ESCA U15 side from 1970 to 1984.
As Chairman of SSCA, he worked closely with Micky Stewart (then Surrey CCC Manager) and the late Denis Jacobs (Chairman of Surrey Cricket Association Youth Committee) to develop a co-ordinated structure for Surrey Youth Cricket. This led to the first overseas tour by a Surrey Youth side in winter of 1981/82 when they took an U19 squad to Australia. This successful venture was repeated in 1985/86 and 1989/90.
This group of visionaries was also behind the creation of the Surrey Cricket Council in 1990. This organisation, comprising Surrey CCC, SSCA and the Surrey Cricket Association was the forerunner of the Surrey Cricket Board, and pre-dated ECB by eight years. Mick Verney had again helped put Surrey at the forefront of the re-organisation of the structure of cricket in the UK.
Ever passionate about schools’ cricket, and State schools in particular, Mick was still able to make his own way from Woking to The Kia Oval for the annual Hobbs Trophy match in 2019, his 91st year. He had been very much looking forward to what should have been the 50th Hobbs Trophy match earlier this month.
P G Everest
25 May 2019