Basil D'Oliveira celebrated with Middleton plaque

Naomi D'Oliveira and Shaun D'Oliveira join Rochdale councillors to unveil a Basil D'Oliveira plaque
Image caption D'Oliveira played three seasons for Middleton, scoring 3,667 runs and taking 238 wickets

The widow of cricket legend Basil D'Oliveira has unveiled a plaque at the Greater Manchester club where he first played when he arrived in Britain.

Naomi D'Oliveira was joined by her son and local dignitaries at Middleton Cricket Club, Rochdale, for the event.

The South African-born cricketer was at the club from 1960 to 1963, before playing for Worcestershire and England.

Councillor Neil Emmott said the town was "proud" of their link to D'Oliveira and was "delighted" to honour him.

D'Oliveira, who died aged 80 in November 2011, moved to England in 1960 because of the lack of opportunities for non-white players in his homeland.

He had been encouraged by BBC cricket journalist John Arlott, who had set about trying to find him a team.

Rules governing the number of overseas players allowed in the English game meant there was no place for him in county cricket, so the commentator found a place for the all-rounder at Middleton.

He played three seasons for the Lancashire league club, scoring 3,667 runs and taking 238 wickets, before moving on to county and, eventually, international cricket.

The chairman of Middleton Cricket Club, Roger Whitworth, said he was "always totally committed to the team".

"He learned to adapt to the conditions here, which were very different to the ones he was used to in South Africa, and made a huge contribution during his time with us," he said.

"On a personal level, he was a true gentleman and showed the qualities of decency and integrity which were to help inspire so many people in the struggle against apartheid."

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