The coaches at VRA have made substantial contributions to the club and its members over the years, not only to the game of cricket but in many other ways as well. After WW II club members usually were coached by older, retired sports teachers or ex-professionals from England. As of 1978 the concept of the playing coach was introduced in the Netherlands and these coaches not only brought about a spectacular improvement of the game that was played, but also a shift in culture. Thanks to their professional approach to sport, clubs like VRA achieved a whole new level of organisation, facilities, and club experience.
VRA has been very fortunate in its choice of coaches. A few (Ackerman, Swart and Thomson) were in the autumn of their professional career and provided an enormous amount of game experience and cricket know-how, while still easily competing at the level of Dutch top league cricket. They usually headed the rankings at the end of the season. Others (Harris, Cummings, Henderson) were still quite young, at the beginning of their life as a cricket professional. Some of them moved on to pursue soaring cricket careers. Sometimes that success came too quickly, resulting in the VRA coach being called away mid season to represent his country (Bacchus, Cooper).
Here are some facts & figures for the VRA coaches/pro's:
Ben Cooper info
Seasons 2013 and 2014: 1379 runs. Club record holder with an innings of 202 runs in an ODI. Chosen by the KNCB as Best Foreign Player in 2013.
Barry Rhodes info
Season 2012: 204 runs, 3 wickets
Season 2011: 283 runs, 13 wickets
Tim Muir info
Season 2010: 202 runs, 26 wickets
Gerrie Snyman info
Season 2009: 429 runs, 12 wickets
Ryan Maron info
Season 2008: 773 runs Season 2007: 851 runs Season 2006: 253 runs
Mike Smith info
Season 2005: 699 runs, 24 wickets
Paul Harris info
Season 2004: 78 runs, 26 wickets
Claude Henderson info
Season 2003: 376 runs, 37 wickets
Loyd Ferreira info
Season 2002: 566 runs
Craig Cumming info Season 2001: 885 runs, 9 wickets Season 2000: 772 runs, 29 wickets Season 1999: 814 runs, 21 wickets Season 1998: 862 runs, 20 wickets
Shane Thomson info
Seasons 1998 to 2002: 2.049 runs, 33 wickets
Season 1997: 350 runs, 31 wickets
Darrin Murray info Season 1996: 599 runs Season 1995: 1209 runs Season 1994: 1234 runs Season 1993: 1120 runs
Garfield Charles info Season 1992: 433 runs, 33 wickets Season 1991: 555 runs, 32 wickets Season 1990: 723 runs, 40 wickets Season 1989: 624 runs, 34 wickets
Paul McEwan info
Season 1988: 602 runs, 28 wickets
Flavian Aponso info
Season 1986 to 1987 (2 seasons: 1016 runs, 69 wickets)
Season 1985: 346 runs, 25 wickets
Rupert Gomes info Seasons 1985- 1988: 3116 runs, 91 wickets In 1985: 7 centuries, VRA1 unbeaten Champion of league Klasse IB
Steven Bamfield info
Season 1984: 630 runs
Faoud Bacchus info
Season 1983: 768 runs, 16 wickets
Peter Swart info Season 1981 to 1982 (2 seasons: 1080 runs, 70 wickets) On the very last day of the competition, VRA wins the national title of the Netherlands for the first time in 44 years! Peter hits the winning runs with a decisive 6.
Hylton Ackerman info (3 seasons: 2,563 runs, 86 wickets) Season 1980: 705 runs Season 1979: 826 runs Season 1978: 1032 runs (7 centuries), 44 wickets Contracted in the first Dutch season that allowed a cricket coach to play, Hylton Ackerman was the best cricket professional, without a doubt. VRA I effortlessly won the championship and the club members all got to experience a completely new and different approach to the game. Hylton Ackerman’s formidable cricket achievements, his charisma, his inspiring speeches and his vision as a cricketer, all heralded a new era, not only for VRA but for the world of Dutch cricket.
Jerry Morley info
Jack Reddish Seasons 1973 – 1976 John 'Jack' Reddish was already 70 years old when he came to VRA to educate its various teams on the basics of the King of Sports. This former professional football player for Tottenham Hotspur, Lincoln City, Notts County and Dundee was always full of anecdotes and jokes. Around this time the ZAMI team resurfaced. This team of Saturday Afternoon players had started in the Sixties under the captaincy of Erik Greve who gave them their permanent nickname ‘The Comedians’. Jack considered coaching this team a special challenge. Watching them he would often shake his head and mutter “And the stars look down….” (The title of an A.J. Cronin book he had apparently read).