Joey Benjamin memorial cricket match
On 23 July, Reigate Priory Cricket Club hosted a match to pay homage to Surrey and England Cricketer and Reigate Grammar School Coach, Joey Benjamin, who passed away in March 2021.
The day was a festival of cricket and paid spectacular tribute to the man who had coached a large number of players at both the club and school and was a legend in the area.
A pre-match lunch was well attended, with a number of tributes by Joey’s former Surrey teammates, family and colleagues from Reigate Grammar School and Reigate Priory CC.
During the afternoon, two showpiece 20/20 matches took place. The first was a fine display of youth cricket between a RPCC U19 team and an RGS U19 team. Many of the side would have been coached by Joey and the cricket on display was of great quality. 1st XI youth Adavaith Bali was on form with 50 retired as RPCC posted 160/4 off their 20. In reply, RGS fought valiantly but were eventually bowled out for 152 with Ed McTavish top scoring with 29 off 19 balls.
In between matches former England and Surrey players, including Michael Carberry, Mark Butcher, Scot Newman, Neil Kendrick and Gary Butcher, regaled the crowd with tales and witticisms of the inspirational coach and player, much to the delight of the audience.
The second game was between an Old Reigatian XI vs an RPCC XI – it’s important to note that 16 of the 24 Reigatians have all played for RPCC, highlighting the important link between the school and the club. The match was played for the inaugural Joey Benjamin Memorial Trophy.
RPCC batted first and were off to an electric start as Llama 1st teamer Matt Hutcheon hit recent RGS leaver George Elliston (RGS 2010-2017) for 22 off the first over. The Llamas continued at quite a rate throughout and Andy Delmont was the mainstay of the innings, scoring 81 before falling to OR’s skipper Phil Davies (RGS 2001-2008), who returned 3-23 as the Llamas posted 189-8 off their 20.
The ORs, in reply, couldn’t have asked for a better start as Llama 1st XI player Luke Haughton (RGS 2007-2014) and David Gent (RGS 2008-2015) put on 116 for the first wicket as they gave the crowd some much deserved entertainment. The Llamas pegged it back with regular wickets but, fittingly, it was current Llama 2nd XI skipper Jon ‘Smudger’ Smith (RGS 1998-2006) who knocked off the winning runs in the 20th over to take home the Joey Benjamin Memorial Trophy for the Old Reigatians.
The day was a fitting celebration of someone who has had a massive impact on so many young cricketers in Reigate. Our huge thanks go to everyone who made it so special, particularly Jon Smith for organising the event.