Dennis Breakwell may have retired from his post at King’s College, Taunton but cricket has been his life and the former Somerset favourite remains very much involved with the game.
Dennis, who was a left arm spinner and a more than useful left handed batsman, hails from the West Midlands and joined Somerset from Northamptonshire in 1973 at a time when skipper Brian Close was building a side that would eventually go on to lift five one-day trophies in as many years.
Between 1973 and 1983 the all rounder played in 165 First Class games for Somerset in which scored 3777 runs at 21.21, including an unbeaten 100 against New Zealand in 1978. In addition his slow left armers claimed him 281 wickets at 33.22.
In one-day cricket Dennis played in 148 matches, hitting 1059 runs and taking 58 wickets, but probably his biggest value to the side was the enthusiasm, positive attitude and good humour that he injected into any situation.
Dennis Breakwell (left) celebrates another one-day success with Vic Marks and Peter Denning
You can clearly tell that he still has a love for the game. “I’m still involved for a few hours a week at King’s,” he said when we caught up with him recently. “In addition to that I have just been on a cricket tour with the Cornwall Under 13 boys and Under 17 girls to South Africa and I work at the Wyvern Club looking after their grounds.”
Dennis spent 25 years at Kings during which time he not only helped to develop a number of players who have gone on to play First Class cricket, but he also helped to build the reputation that the King’s Cricket Festival now has internationally. “We started that 20 years ago and its just grown and grown,” he said. “We started with one week and now it’s spread across six weeks and we have 200 games during that time. I think the Cricket Festival is one of the reasons why King’s College is on the cricketing map the way that it now is. King’s pick up a lot of young players from the festivals and have done for a long time.
“We have had a number of very fine young cricketers come through school including of course Jos Buttler. A lot of people ask me if I feel responsible for him and I say not really, but then in a way he chose to come to my school, which was huge thing for us. We have also had a lot of players who have gone elsewhere including Charlie Morris at Worcestershire, Neil Brand who has gone onto Glamorgan and of course Craig Meschede who is also at Glamorgan.”
Dennis Breakwell (right) and Peter Robinson enjoy some winter training!
What are some of his memories from the Glory Years? “Standing on the balcony with Beefy (Ian Botham) shaking a bottle of champagne after winning a trophy,” he said. That’s one I will never forget- along with a few others of course!”
How good was that Glory Years side that included Botham, Richards and Garner? “Of course they were great players,” he said. “But in a way you didn’t take much notice of it because they were your mates. I lived with Viv and Beefy for a few years and they were my mates.”
The Glory Years cricketer now lives not much more than a Botham six hit from the Cooper Associates County Ground so we can expect to see him around and about this summer.