Whenever ex Devon players of 15-20 years ago bump into each other, it is still mainly Peter we discuss; the successful times and, indeed, the bizarre times we had. We were very blessed to have him on board and he gave Devon cricket everything; taking a good amateur team on to new heights and allowing us to dominate minor county cricket for a while. The stories of his behaviour and captaincy are hilarious and will always stay with me.
Peter was a fine player and massively competitive. He demanded very high standards, he was fit and strong and set the example. He would, however, shout from the rope (use you bat man!), meditate alone in changing rooms, throw tantrums, lie down in the outfield, even sit on the wicket, place fielders in ridiculous positions, immediately bowl someone who had misfielded, take bowlers off after only an over, switch all off side fielders with all leg side fielders just to make a point, and storm into committee rooms. This last one coming after a remarkably poor effort by us all when we were stupidly bowled out by declaration bowling against Dorset one day, but Peter felt the opposition had reneged on the so called agreement.
Despite this (we actually enjoyed a lot of it), as we had huge respect for the man. He could sum up a player, the game, the situation so quickly, simply and succinctly. He was always positive, always trying to win, wanting bowlers to get people out and batsman to score quickly. He bowled his heart out and was also a cut above. He was a pleasure to bat with and when we needed him he often produced, especially if there was some pace on the ball.
He may not have his own bat, however, and would at times hunt around the changing room looking for one to use. Kit and material possessions were not something he cared for. His kit was often brought along in a bin liner. A second hand Mercedes turned up at Somerset one day. Peter had purchased it, but when the chap handed him the keys he had no intention of even looking at it and had never even seen it. "I'll see it when I drive home," he said.
Peter and I suspect, the Devon committee, would put the team in hotels just that little bit too far away from places of interest! We were young and we enjoyed each other's company and although this was inconvenient, it would not stop us having a few beers and going out at times. Peter would have a half of beer and if not with the committee, would choose to eat alone in a local Italian.
He did not seek company, although was always brilliant to talk with. I do remember a special evening in Wales when he held court in front of the whole team, laughing and joking and, dare I say it, getting a little drunk. It was good to see him like this, as he seemed genuinely happy at that point in time and this image will always stay with me.
I think Peter was lucky in many ways to find Devon cricket. He really enjoyed his time with us. We were certainly fortunate to find him. Peter made many of my cricketing years much richer than they would have been without him. He was an extremely clever man, whose company I am very glad I experienced for a while. I consider myself privileged that our paths crossed.