NEW head coach Kevin Sharp has paid tribute to club president Norman Gifford who is celebrating 60 years since first linking up with Worcestershire.

Gifford first joined the County staff as a young spinner in 1958 and 30 years later ended his career with 2,068 first-class wickets.

Now he is playing an important role at Blackfinch New Road as part-time spin bowling coach and club president.

Sharp said: “To still be playing an active role 60 years after first joining the club is a fantastic achievement.

“Norman’s career speaks for itself, the stats are incredible, but today he still has that enthusiasm for the game and desire to pass on his knowledge to our young spinners.

“They can only benefit from his experience and working with someone who is a true club legend.”

The club’s year book records that Gifford tasted his first second XI cricket in the summer of 1958 and had figures of 54.5-20-92-3 in addition to playing for the club and ground XI.

He became a second XI regular in 1959 when he picked up 43 wickets at 19.60 and the following summer started his lengthy first team career.

Gifford won three County Championship titles, skippering the team to the 1974 triumph, plus the 1971 John Player League success and appeared in four Lord’s finals.

His tally of 1,615 first-class wickets for Worcestershire has only been bettered by Reg Perks (2143).

He returned his best figures of 8-28 against Yorkshire at Sheffield in 1968 and picked up five or more wickets in an innings on 93 occasions.

Gifford, who joined Warwickshire in 1983, played 15 Tests between 1964 and 1973 and at the age of 44 in 1985 skippered England in a one-day tournament in Sharjah involving Australia and Pakistan.

After spells coaching at Sussex and Durham, Gifford is back at his beloved New Road and still making his mark with the up-and-coming spin bowlers at the club.