Following the statistics for the leading amateur wicket takers last week, a chance now to look back on some of the all time leading wicket takers in the professional ranks.
At the top of the list is a man who also featured high up in the amateur lists and must have been quite the bowler. Frank Watson was professional from 1898-1908 and subsequently remained as an amateur for some years after. His 950 wickets is an incredible effort.
Fred Slater, in second place on the list was professional between 1929-36.
Some supporters will still recall the wonderful service given to the club by Colin Lever, who sits third on the list, a superb return for a man who came to the club as a batsman at the end of the 1960′s! It was no coincidence that the club entered a highly successful period with Colin as professional.
Prior to Colin’s term as professional the early part of the 60′s saw Clairmonte Depeiza, the popular West Indian, take 405 wickets in another successful spell for the first team.
Moving down the list supporters will recognise some more current names with South African Alan Badenhorst inside the top 10 and talented Australian all rounder Steve Wundke not far behind. The South Australian was a terrific all round cricketer and contributed much to the double winning season of 1984. Another member of that side appears just below him, as Bob Cooke had spells as both professional and amateur at Crimble.
Current professional Travis Townsend is now in the top 20 after four consistent seasons at the club and has the chance to climb the list further.
Making up the top 20 are two names that most cricket supporters will recognise with the extremely talented Johan Botha (South Africa) at 19 and West Indies great Curtly Ambrose at 20.
Botha’s figures are more impressive when you consider that in his first season at Crimble he bowled genuinely fast, before ankle surgery forced him to turn to his off-spin by the time of his second summer. Botha’s first season in 2003 represents only the second time a Heywood player managed the magical double of over 100 wickets and over 1000 runs in the same season (103 wickets and 1432 runs).
Ambrose is widely regarded as one of the finest fast bowlers of all time and the fact that he makes this list despite only having played for one season is evidence of this. 13 hauls of 5 wickets or more shows just how difficult the man from Antigua would have been to face for league cricketers.
At 10th on the list some may recognise the name of Ellis Achong. From Trinidad & Tobago but of Chinese descent, it was Achong’s unusual style of slow left arm bowling that would lead to the description of a “Chinaman” bowler. With 324 wickets for Heywood in just three seasons it was fairly certain that opposition players struggled to play him!
The other man to do the “double” was New Zealand great John Reid. In 1954 he took exactly 100 wickets whilst scoring an impressive 1373 runs at an average of just over 76.
12 month round international cricket means that the likes of Ambrose may never been seen again at this level but the list is made up of many other talented bowlers that Crimble supporters have had the fortune to witness in action over the years.