Many people ask about Rob Turner and where he is now. The simple answer to that is that for the past 10 years he has been head of cricket and teaching maths at Blundell’s School.
However, he has just accepted a post at Richard Huish College in Taunton teaching maths to A level students, so the chances are that we will be seeing a lot more of him at the Cooper Associates County Ground this coming summer and beyond.
Rob was a wicket-keeper and a batsman who was known by the Somerset faithful as Mr Reliable, because rarely did he let the side down.
For more than 10 years Rob, who grew up in and played his cricket for Weston-super-Mare, was almost ever present behind the stumps in all formats of the game. He kept equally well to the pacemen, including Andy Caddick and the superfast but slightly erratic Andre van Troost, as he did to the beguiling wizardry of Mushtaq Ahmed.
Equally dependable with the bat, Rob Turner showed his skill with match winning performances on a number of occasions.
Rob went on an England A tour to Bangladesh with another Somerset batsman of promise Marcus Trescothick, but even though he staked his claim as well as anybody else, the nearest he got to international honours was to be on standby for the England tours to the West Indies in 1997-98 and Zimbabwe in 1999-2000.
The man from Weston made his debut for Somerset in 1991 and between then and 2005 he played in 211 First Class matches in which he scored 8473 runs at an average of 33.09, including 10 centuries, with a best of 144 against Kent in 1997.
Rob exceeded 1000 First Class runs on two occasions, his best season being 1999 when he totaled 1217 runs.
Behind the stumps in First Class cricket Rob claimed 682 dismissals (645 catches and 37 stumpings) a number only bettered by Harold Stephenson and Wally Luckes in the Somerset rankings.
Rob claimed nine victims in a First Class match against Yorkshire in 1996, Surrey in 2001 and Derbyshire in 2003 and was a vital part of Somerset’s C&G winning side of 2001.
Rob Turner was equally at home in one-day cricket and during his career he played in 226 matches in which he scored 3358 runs at 26.23 and claimed 261 dismissals (228 catches and 33 stumpings).
After leaving in 2005 Rob went to work for Rowan Dartington, a West Country based stockbrokers who he had spent several previous winters working for. However, in 2006 he joined Blundell’s School as Head of Cricket and as a maths teacher which is where he has remained until now.
Recently, we caught up with Rob who talked fondly about his years with Somerset. “I had an amazing time playing for Somerset,” he said. “It was a bit of a mixture between eras really. Of course it was a professional sport then but not run or organized as professionally as it is now when it comes to fitness levels and preparation. Yes we trained hard in the gym and took the game very seriously but we went out in the evenings and had a bit of a laugh and socialized amongst ourselves as well as with the opposition which I don’t think happens so much now.
“I was still working at Rowan Dartington and going to the gym at lunchtime during the close season. I was still expected to train and I was monitored through the winter but not expected to be at the club everyday.”
Rob reflected on some of the many highlights from his long career with the County. “We had been playing good one-day cricket for a little while,” he said. “But in 2001 things just seemed to click for us. The Cooper Associates County Ground has seen some exciting matches over the years but our semi-final against Warwickshire must be up there as one of the best.
“In that game myself and Keith Dutch saved the day. Warwickshire batted first and hadn’t got that many, about 225 odd, but I remember we had a very bad start and were six for three before we recovered thanks to Blackie and Keith Parsons who had both made runs. However, when I went in to bat we were 102 for five and Jamie Cox was still there so I thought all I had to do was stay there and he would hopefully see us home and there was no pressure. However, shortly afterwards he was out stumped by Keith Piper after it was referred to the third umpire and suddenly there was panic!
“Then in walked ‘Dutchy’ who was in his bubble and after sneaking a couple between keeper and first slip and riding his luck, I thought I’d just let him get on with it. Bit by bit the runs came and we ended up seeing the game home which was quite incredible.
“Another game that sticks in my memory was in the 2002 quarter-finals against Worcestershire when Keith Parsons got a hundred. I remember that we were in a bit of trouble and I stayed with Pars and was out for just short of 50 and he then saw us home.
“That same year the Kent game in the semi-final, which was also at home was also incredible. We got 344 off 50 overs, which was Somerset’s best ever and we thought that we had it sewn up but then they played really well. They added 100 for the opening partnership before I caught Matthew Fleming off Steffan Jones which was a big moment for me. They were cruising before Matt Bulbeck bowled an amazing penultimate over which saw two runs scored and three wickets fall. Dutchy ran out Paul Nixon and then Simon Francis, who had come on as a sub, ran out James Golding with an amazing throw off the ground before Matt bowled Masters with a Yorker that just clipped the stumps. Dutchy then claimed a brilliant catch at mid wicket off Steffan in the last over to see the back of Mark Ealham and we had won.”
Rob went on: “I get back to the ground as much as I can to sample the atmosphere and catch up with a few old faces from time to time but not as much as I would like to.”
He added: “I’ve got so many fond memories from my time playing for Somerset and I look forward to spending a lot more time there in the future.”