Donohue speeds in to take Devon's lead role
DEVON CCC have turned to former all-rounder Keith Donohue as their new director of cricket following the retirement of Roger Newman, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.
Newman, who had been in place for three seasons, felt at 68 he wanted to get involved in other projects in cricket.
During Newman's tenure Devon were unbeaten for two years and Minor Counties champions in 2011.
Donohue, 49, played more than 130 times for Devon in competitive matches between 1986-2000 and was a regular in the side that won a record four successive Minor Counties titles (1994-97).
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A lively opening bowler who could also bat, Donohue played against Australia and Pakistan for the Minor Counties, with whom he toured South Africa in 1994. He also played regularly for the British Police.
As a club cricketer, Donohue started out with Plympton then played for Tavistock, Plymouth and Bovey Tracey before returning to Plympton.
Although Donohue officially retired as a player two years ago, he has never turned down a request from Plympton to help them out in the 1st or 2nd XIs since then.
Donohue, who recently retired from the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, said he was keen to put something back into the county scene. Although he stopped playing Minor Counties cricket 12 years ago, he does not regard that as a handicap.
"It is very easy to stand on the sidelines and say this is wrong or that could be done better, but a lot harder to actually get involved and do something," said Donohue.
"I am still pretty close to the current players in the Premier and A Divisions of the Devon League and have a good idea who is who and what they do.
"The county game has changed a bit since my day – three-day games instead of two dayers – but whether it is one, two or three days the basics remain the same.
"There is no one left in the team from my time, which is probably a good thing as everything is fresh."
Donohue is no stranger to coaching as he has been a bowling specialist with the Devon Cricket Board U16 and U17 squads and has worked with former Devon colleague Julian Wyatt on the Board's emerging player programme.
He sees the 'job description' for the county club's director of cricket as being relatively straightforward.
"The first element is to prepare the team as well as possible and support the captain," said Donohue.
"For some players Devon will be the pinnacle of their game and we want to help them achieve that.
"Others will go on to the professional game and again I see my role as supporting them in their aim."
Although Donohue will have a foot in two camps, as a DCB coach and DCC official, he does not regard that as a problem.
"I have worked with a lot of people at all levels of cricket in Devon for many years and, without exception, they have all come across as wanting the best for our young players and I hope that will continue," said Donohue.
Donohue's appointment has been warmly welcomed by Martin Webb, the secretary of the Devon Cricket Board and the Devon Cricket Coaches Association.
"I think it is an excellent appointment for Devon cricket as a whole," said Webb.
"Keith has so much experience of the game at a good level and a tremendous amount to offer. Not only that, he is a nice bloke! He is someone who has his heart in Devon cricket and we all look forward to working with him."