Kent Cricket Profile: Joan Buhl, a loyal supporter with a voice to be heard

Tuesday 1st April 2014

Men’s First Team

Throughout 2014, we intend to bring you the stories of our loyal Members and Supporters, whose dedication is so very much appreciated by everyone at Kent Cricket.

We start with one of Kent’s keenest supporters, Joan Buhl, who will be embarking on her 31st season as a member watching her favourite team when the County play their first home championship match of the season at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence on Sunday 20th April.

Joan, who is well known to everybody involved with Kent Cricket, is a real character who is not afraid to express her strident views to other supporters, players, coaches and committee members alike when she thinks it is necessary.

You always know when Joan is around, and that is virtually every day of home games, as she holds court from her seat at the top of the Pavilion with her friends around her, including Committee member John Clarke, when he is not as she describes it ‘in the bunker’ (the Committee Room) entertaining guests.

It was back in 1983 when Joan and her husband Ron took out a joint membership. Sadly Ron passed away shortly afterwards from a heart attack and Joan reverted to a single membership, which she has renewed every season since.

Now in her 80’s, Joan’s dedication to Kent Cricket is emphasised by the fact that she still drives from her home in Woolwich, South London, down and back on the A2 and M2 to Canterbury for games, some of which do not finish until late in the evening. She used to go to most away games as well but now confines these trips to Lord’s, The Oval and Chelmsford.

Joan has also globe trotted over the years to watch Kent in pre-season practice matches abroad, as well as travelling to Australia to watch cricket and visit her grand-daughter Amy, who lives Down Under.

With a heart of gold, Joan is happy to express an opinion about all aspects of how the club is being run, and CEO, Jamie Clifford often gets a friendly barrage when confronted by Joan – but it is all meant in a good spirit from a person with a passion for Kent Cricket, who has seen many changes in the game and the county’s varying fortunes over the years.

“I still enjoy watching Kent play and following the development of the younger players”, she said. “I also appreciate the contribution of the established players who give us both pleasure and disappointments over a season”.

Joan is an avid follower of the second team, and feels they do not get enough coverage on the club website or anywhere else for that matter, and she closely follows the careers of the young players who have broken into the first team.

She has used her influence to get team sheets printed at these matches with the co-operation of scorer Andrew Baker. Joan hopes this season more information on second team matches will be given out over the PA system. Beware if her pleas are not listened to!

Outside her cricket interests, Joan has been a lifelong active member of the labour Party and was a school governor for 40 years. Her work in this field was recognised in 2000 when she was invited by the Queen to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party and she still has the invitation card today.

Like many Kent members, Joan is a Charlton Athletic follower along with her son and grandsons.

Joan’s passion for Kent Cricket is still important to her today and her voice is likely to be heard loud and clear again this season, as in the past.

Interview by Peter Burrowes