Date: 27th Nov 2020
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Date: 6th February 2020


With grateful thanks to The Southport Visiter, Thursday 6th February 2020

"The name Peter Dury will probably mean little to the current generation of Southport & Birkdale’s players or supporters. Yet between 1961 and 1965, Dury, who died last month, built a reputation as   the finest groundsman in the Club’s history. Moreover in a working life spanning half a century Dury carved  out an impressive career in the sports and landscape Industry as an inventor, pioneer of performance standards and a high-quality manager  of playing facilities.

In 1961 S&B were still reeling from the sudden death of their groundsman Bert Ball the previous June. The Committee took the bold step to appoint  26 year old Dury who had previously been employed by the Derby Parks Department. And as a youngster Peter had been on Nottinghamshire’s groundstaff and had even appeared in some  Second XI matches. He was also a qualified coach  but it was as a groundsman that he made an immediate impact at Trafalgar Road.

County Cricketers spoke of the excellence of Dury’s wickets and S&B’s historian, the late Ken Porter, wrote of him, “His keen love of the game motivated by his sense of industry ensured that the wicket and outfield reached a standard never previously  attained. He never spared himself in ensuring that only the best was good enough” .

Dury also played some cricket on the pitches he had prepared. He was a useful spin bowler and gifted batsman, although his groundsman’s duties largely restricted his appearances to Sunday games. Nevertheless he scored a century against Crawfords in June 1964, before going out during  the tea interval to prepare the wicket for the second innings of the match.

In 1964 Dury was one of only eight men in the country to be awarded the National Diploma of the National Association of Groundsmen. This was the first of a myriad of awards which he was to earn in the years that followed. He left S&B in 1965 to take up a more lucrative appointment as site supervisor for the Parks Department of Nuneaton Council and from there his career really took off.

Dury was recognised as a specialist in synthetic turf pitch and playground surfaces and, equally, as a leading expert in natural turf pitch construction across the world. His talents were recognised in 2002 when he received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Essex. In addition, he received a life-time achievement award from the Institute of Goundsmanship the following year, when he also received the National Playing Fields Association President’s award.

He received the ECB award for services to cricket  in 2010 and two years later Peter was presented with an MBE for services to groundsmanship. In  2018 Peter became the only person ever to receive a second lifetime’s achievement award from the Institute of Groundsmanship

John McPartlin, who first met Peter when just  twelve year old, recalls “ He was a lovely man and patiently put up with a few of us haunting the ground every day in the school holidays, following him around and asking him questions. At 11am we would all go and have a cup of tea with Peter and, sitting around the old battered table, he shared his sandwiches and cricketing knowledge and without realising it we would all be drawn into the hinterland of knowledge and tradition which makes cricket such a wonderful game.”

Peter is survived by his wife, Brenda and three sons. His funeral will take place at 1pm on Monday 10th February at Wilford Hill, Crematorium, Nottingham."

Michael Braham



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