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Cricket coach posed threat to public health

The sacking of cricket coach Rex Toppings - on the grounds that he was infectious - has been welcomed by parents and teachers associations. Yet others feel that exposing young cricketers to communicable diseases helps to prepare them for exotic tours abroad.

Rex Toppings, a onetime bass player for rock legend Alvin Stardust, has missed out on a plumb coaching appointment at the Wrexham School of Cricket Excellence.

Toppings with school nurse Betty Ellison.

Toppings had been offered the much coveted position of Cricket Master subject to a satisfactory Criminal Records Check - the Government's process for checking criminal records, commonly referred to as a CRB.

Toppings said: "The Headmaster asked me if I had a CRB check. I wrongly assumed he was spelling 'crabs' as there were children in the vicinity and I thought he was trying to protect their ears.

"Having played in a rock band I have done some crazy things in my time and getting these sorts of things checked and corrected was all part of life on the road. Anyway I said I had and agreed to prove it when I started.

"I provided my medical records on my first and only day at work and was shocked when they suggested we part company."

The school have emphasised that the dismissal had nothing to do with criminality. "After a quick perusal of his medical records it was evident that Toppings was ill-suited to working as a teacher and we had little choice but to terminate the appointment," said a schools spokesperson.

"We are unable to provide details for confidentiality reasons but let's just say that he is not someone who should be in close proximity to the team's cricket kit. One dreads to think what might happen if he inadvertently contaminated the protective boxes."