Mike Procter: 1946-2024

17 February 2024

Gloucestershire Cricket is devastated to learn of the passing of former player and Club legend, Mike Procter, aged 77.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest to ever play cricket for Gloucestershire, Procter tragically died on Saturday 17 February in hospital in his hometown of Durban, South Africa.

During his 16-year playing career at Gloucestershire between 1965 and 1981, Procter played a total of 482 matches for the Club scoring 20,072 runs and taking 1,113 wickets in first-class and List A cricket.

The captain of the side between 1977 and 1981, Procter was a naturally talented and prolific all-rounder who is among only 14 players in history to score 5,000 runs and take 500 wickets in a career for ‘Proctershire’, as Gloucestershire was affectionately nicknamed in recognition to Procter’s achievements at the Club. He finished his career in Bristol with two trophy wins to him name; the Gillette Cup in 1973 and the Benson & Hedges Cup in 1977.

After making his debut in 1965 against the South African tourists, he went on the make 14,441 runs and take 833 wickets in 259 first-class games, plus 5,631 runs and 280 wickets in 223 one-day games.

As sensational as his talent was with the bat and with the ball, Procter’s name is scattered throughout the Gloucestershire record books.

He has 32 centuries to his name and four hat-tricks; two against Essex in 1972 (also scored 102*) and 1977, one against Leicestershire in 1979 and one against Yorkshire in the same year. Procter is also one of only five players to score 100 runs and take ten wickets in the same match, a feat he achieved twice at Cheltenham College and on both occasions, in 1977 and 1980, against Worcestershire.

Procter is also one of only three players to score a century and take a hat-trick in the same match for Gloucestershire but is the only player to do this twice, once vs Essex in 1972 and once vs Leicestershire in Bristol in 1979. During his time at Gloucestershire Procter won a number of personal awards including the Professional Cricketers' Association Player of the Year in 1970 and 1977, and the Cricket Society Wetherall Award for the leading all-rounder in English first-class cricket in 1978.

Procter’s talents, however, were largely confined to domestic cricket due to South Africa's apartheid isolation. His Test career for South Africa, therefore, was to just seven appearances, all of them against Australia, between 1967 and 1970. 41 Test wickets at an average of 15.02 suggest what he might have achieved in the coming years had he been allowed to fulfil his potential on the international stage.

In retirement, Procter acted as Director of Cricket for the Free State and Natal provinces in South Africa, as well as in County Cricket for Northamptonshire CCC. He also coached South Africa after the country returned to playing competitive international cricket and led them to the semi-finals of the 1992 Cricket World Cup. Latterly, Procter spent several years as a match referee in the early 2000s.

In 2014, he also set up a charity in South Africa in his own name, the Mike Procter Foundation, which aims to transform the lives of children through the power of sport. Procter went on to register the charity in the UK in 2018 with the ambition of providing the provision of cricket coaching to underprivileged and vulnerable children.

Long after finishing his playing career with Gloucestershire, Procter was a regular and popular visitor to both the Cheltenham Cricket Festival and the Seat Unique Stadium in Bristol and last visited the Club during Gloucestershire’s County Championship match vs Worcestershire at Cheltenham College in July last year. He was an avid supporter of the Gloucestershire Exiles and kept in close contact with many of his former teammates with whom he became lifelong friends.

Everyone at Gloucestershire Cricket is deeply saddened by Mike’s death and would like to send their best wishes to Mike’s family during this terribly sad time.

David Graveney said: “I was very fortunate as a player to play under two of the finest captains, Tony Brown being one and Mike Procter being the other. Mike was a fantastic player and quite rightly regarded as one of the best all-rounders that has ever represented Gloucestershire.

“I don’t think people realise that when Mike played he was playing through great pain in his knee, but that didn’t stop him from performing at the level he did. He was just one of the best players I ever played with.

“The phase ‘Proctershire’ was very apt for Mike. He put in the biggest performances in the biggest games. The hat-trick at Hampshire in the semi-final of the Benson & Hedges Cup and the runs he scored in the final of the Gillette Cup are two that I will remember fondly. The really good players perform on the biggest stage and that is what Mike did.”

The Club’s flag has been lowered to half-mast and will remain there until the start of the County Championship season in recognition of Mike and his incredible life and career.

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