Former Warwickshire players with almost 3,500 First Class Bears appearances between them came together for a legends reunion at Edgbaston Stadium.

A total of 21 former Bears – including MJK Smith, Geoff Humpage, John Jameson, Andy Lloyd and Gladstone Small – were guests of honours at the annual Warwickshire Old County Cricketers Association (WOCCA) President’s Day.

The event also reunited current WOCCA President David Smith – a one-Club man who scored 8.734 red ball runs from 1973-85 – and Club President Dennis Amiss who regularly opened the batting together.

“Once a Bear, always a Bear,” said Smith, who played almost 200 First Class games for Warwickshire, “and events like this go to show that sentiment has true meaning.

“It was great to see so many familiar faces, including some who’ve been away from Edgbaston for many years, come together to reminisce, share stories and watch what turned out to be a thrilling game against Durham.

“Many thanks to the Club for facilitating the event in the Chair’s Lounge and continuing to remember and honour players who served the Club so proudly over many years.”

The 1971 County Championship Warwickshire County Cricket Club from left to right (back row) Eddie Hemmings, Peter Lewington, Bill Blenkiron, Neal Abberley, John Jameson and Norman McVicker (front row sitting), Rohan Kanhai, Lance Gibbs, Alan Smith (Team Captain and Wicketkeeper), Mike Smith and Dennis Amiss on 17th May 1971.

Bill Blenkiron – who took 287 wickets in 118 First Class games for Warwickshire (1964-74) – now lives in the North East and was back at Edgbaston for the first time in almost 20 years.

He added: “We were visiting Birmingham at the weekend so came along to watch the game. I had no idea family and friends had arranged for me to be part of the WOCCA reunion. It was a very special occasion.

“I’ve got such fond memories of the ground and to see how it’s developed since my playing days, and in the 15 years since my last visit, is remarkable.”

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