BOWLING coach Matt Mason believes the presence of Brett D’Oliveira at New Road helped to lift the spirits of the Worcestershire squad after the death of his father and academy director Damian D’Oliveira.
Mason admitted it has been a tough time for everyone at the club after director of cricket Steve Rhodes had broken the news of much-loved D’Oliveira’s death to the players shortly before the start of the LV= County Championship clash with Glamorgan last Sunday.
The 53-year-old D’Oliveira, who played as an all-rounder for the county between 1982 and 1995, had lost his brave two-and-a-half year battle against cancer.
Understandably, there were plenty of tears on an emotional day, particularly for the seven academy players in the side who had worked closely with D’Oliveira as part of their cricketing development.
But the arrival of D’Oliveira junior, a member of the Worcestershire Rapids NatWest T20 Blast side this season, at New Road helped to ease the sadness.
Mason said: “It was a tough day and very sad day for everyone concerned to get through.
“But young Brett was around us, which was fantastic for all the lads to see him down here. It gave everyone a lift and the guys have been good.
“They’ve been a lot happier and shared some stories about Dolly and everyone has been smiling which was nice.
Meanwhile, Mason also praised the maturity shown by up-and-coming batsman Tom Kohler-Cadmore in scoring a career-best 85 in the convincing win over Glamorgan and believes he can eventually bat higher up the order.
The 19-year-old followed up his maiden Championship half-century against Leicestershire at Grace Road with another fine innings after coming in at number six with Worcestershire 93-4.
Kohler-Cadmore, a free-scoring batsman, impressed Mason with the restraint he exercised in support of century-maker Tom Fell as the home side recovered to reach 352.
Mason said: “Tom (Kohler-Cadmore) keeps threatening to score a hundred and he is in good form.
“He got a century in the second team game against Warwickshire so we weren’t surprised to see him go out there and do well.
“I thought the bulk of his innings was terrific in support of Tom Fell and for such a young man of 19, to play the way he has done so far, shows he has got the temperament and what it takes to play at this level.
“I’m sure sometime in the not too distant future we might see him batting further up the order.
“He has got the ability and the temperament so I’d like to see that happen, that’s for sure.”
Mason added: “The most impressive thing about his innings was the great restraint he showed, that he reined in his own game to support Tom Fell.
“Tom Fell’s innings was fantastic the way it flowed and you need someone at the other end to support.
“Once he (Kohler-Cadmore) had the chance to expand his game a bit, he did that as well.
“He’s got some great shots in his locker, but it was the way he paced his innings which was so mature for a 19-year-old.”