May 312020

After one of the most challenging off field times in the history of the club in 98/99 an emergency meeting was held to decide whether the club had a viable future. With a group of young players showing some promise it was felt the club should push on and a young Australian player was engaged as Pro. In 1999 and 2000 Bruce Hara, a talented batter who proved a more than useful league bowler,  helped a young group of players develop on and off the field and was a great club Pro.

Another former player who remains in close contact and is always incredibly hospitable when Heywood people are in Australia, Bruce looks back on his time at the club.


Do you remember your Heywood debut?

Perhaps due to being introduced to JW Lees by those who will remain nameless…I’ve not got crystal clear memories of my first game for Heywood. I’m sure we played a few rain interrupted practice matches and then the first league game was at the Crimble against Radcliffe. I couldn’t tell you the result, although if I had to hazard a guess, we didn’t win too many that year…or was it rained out?

Did you have a favourite game?

A few games come to mind. Batting with Bobby and getting the win against the mouthy Saffa from Walsden was great fun. I remember Wilko always getting fired up for games against Milnrow and they were one team I remember we got the better of, for the couple of years I was there. There was also a cup game we played at Crimble, cannot remember the opposition, however David Cross played and was keeping. We defended a low total and had many contributors to a good win with a young side (apart from DC…)

Favourite away ground?

Middleton was a nice cricket ground. Rochdale also, but from memory in my years we never had too much luck with the weather there. I also quite liked the quirky grounds with trees in odd spots and interestingly shaped “ovals”. It was all part of the experience and adapting to what for me, were pretty foreign conditions. I loved it.

Best Professional you saw?

I can safely say now, the best professional I played with was Kate Cross…although I was playing and missing against her when she was 8 years old…

Best amateurs?

It was early in his career when I was there, however Bobby Cross would prove to the best amateur I played with or against in the CLL. Volume of runs and success within and leading league and cup winning teams speaks for itself. Chris Kaye was ridiculously consistent and took wickets for fun.

Against us, that bloke Punchard from Royton used to do annoyingly well against us during my stint.

Best on field memory?

Best memories on the field was when anyone on our side took an outfield catch…the surprise mixed with joy from those on and off the field never failed to make me giggle! More seriously, watching younger players like Bobby and Rob Slawson come through. Seeing batsmen bamboozled by the left arm straight breaks of spin twins Fare and Kaye was always fun.

I also have to mention deceiving Wavel Hinds with the “long-ball” at Werneth brought great mirth to us all on the ground at that time…I saw him in Sydney a few years later and he was still embarrassed!

What about off the field?

Off the field we had a great time. I was looked after so well by many at the club, the Cross family and Dave Fare in particular. Living with Dave Cross for the first week I arrived, when the rest of the Cross family were on holiday…never eaten so much curry or meals from the freezer! Also learned the inner details of many of the pubs in Bury…

Bitter Sunday’s when we didn’t have a game were great times. Great memories of nights out with Fash, Steve and Dave Edwards…surfing fruit…deny, deny, deny.

Coaching the juniors and the clinics we ran during the holidays were always a lot of fun.

The time I spent at Heywood brings back memories of so many people volunteering their time for the benefit of the whole community. The club had great supporters that built what I felt was a welcoming, family atmosphere. From day one, everyone welcomed me with open arms and I look forward to a time when I can enjoy a pint at Crimble with those still around and remember those who aren’t.

 May 31, 2020  2 Responses »
May 302020

Stephen and Chris Kaye leave field after the victory that sealed the 2006 league titleSteve Wallwork was another player who, like Rob Slawson, came into the side in the late 90′s at a time when the club was in some difficulty. From those early challenges came a great spell throughout the 2000′s and fittingly Steve was in the middle with another Heywood lad, Chris Kaye, to guide the team Click here for more ….

 May 30, 2020  3 Responses »
May 292020

Lawson 4A bonus today as we have been sent some old photographs by former Professional, Australian international Geoff Lawson. Geoff is sending his Crimble Memories which will be a great read but he has also dug out the photos below which will bring back some memories, the mixed cricket match in particular… Thanks Henry!

 May 29, 2020  No Responses »
May 292020

Colin pictured with former teammates Ralph Farmer and Jimmy Porter at a reunion event at the clubRegarded by many as the greatest Professional the club has ever had, Colin Lever ended up at Heywood thanks to a road accident. He would play from 1968-76 amassing nearly 6,500 runs and 771 wickets, not bad for someone that didn’t bowl when he joined! League and Wood Cup titles and years of good memories, Click here for more ….

 May 29, 2020  2 Responses »
May 292020

The club would once again like to thank all of those that have renewed memberships at this difficult time, it really has made a difference to club finances and will allow us to properly plan for the re-opening of the club once we are permitted to do so. We would ask that anyone that has Click here for more ….

 May 29, 2020  No Responses »
May 282020

Royce with his 2008 title winning teammatesFrom one Western Australian to another with Royce Blight following Nolan Hall with his recollections of his time at Heywood. Royce had played at Midland Guildford with Bobby Cross and the two quickly became great mates and Royce would go on to spend 4 seasons at Crimble and is arguably the most successful overseas amateur Click here for more ….

 May 28, 2020  2 Responses »
May 272020

Nolan with double winning teammates Steve Wundke, Colin Wroe and Bob CookeNolan Hall came to Heywood from Western Australia in 1978 intending to play as an amateur but quickly found himself thrust into action as the Professional. He would return as an amateur in 1979 and then again in 1984 and 85. Nolan has remained in contact with the club ever since and has been a Click here for more ….

 May 27, 2020  6 Responses »
May 262020

Bobby with club legends Ralph Farmer, Jack Wilson and Jimmy PorterFrom Uncle RA Cross to nephew RJ Cross today. Breaking into the first team at the age of 14 in 1997, Bobby Cross has gone on to become the club’s all time leading run scorer with over 17,500 runs to his name. He captained the side for 10 seasons between 2004-13 and lifted two league Click here for more ….

 May 26, 2020  5 Responses »
May 252020

Bob and his teammates after the championship winning side in the early 1960Bob Cross really has done it all at Heywood. A player, one time leading wicket taker, a former captain, Chairman and still the President of the club. Bob’s Crimble Memories give us a look back at a different era for Heywood: Do you recall your Heywood debut? I remember my first 2 matches. The first Click here for more ….

 May 25, 2020  2 Responses »
May 242020

Sherwin and Royce in familiar pose, the club has not had many better Professional/Overseas combinationsThere have been few Pros to have had the impact on a club both on and off the field that West Indies star Sherwin Campbell had at Crimble. In his first season (2006) the side won the League and Wood Cup double with the mercurial batsman breaking the club record for runs in a season Click here for more ….

 May 24, 2020  4 Responses »
May 232020

John in action with the bat for HeywoodA youth product of the club, wicket keeper batsman John Kaye, brother of Chris, played for the first team from the late 80′s until 1997 and a relocation down to Sussex. However his ties to the club have always remained strong and appearances on the annual Worcester tour as well as supporting the club at Click here for more ….

 May 23, 2020  4 Responses »
May 222020

Bob with Heywood the Heywood sideOne of the great characters to have been at Crimble, Bob Cooke was professional at Heywood from 1980-83 and then remained at the club as an amateur in 84 and 85, captaining the side to the double in 84. A great competitor and a captain with a great understanding of the game Bob has taken Click here for more ….

 May 22, 2020  No Responses »
May 212020

Alan pictured in his final season at HeywoodBack to another of our prolific amateurs for today’s look back. Alan Starmer joined Heywood from Woodhouses CC in 1996 and would go on to play for the club for 13 years, captaining the side in 1995 and 96. He would score 6,201 runs for the club which is the 4th best effort by a Click here for more ….

 May 21, 2020  5 Responses »
May 202020

JohnBack to the former Professionals today and a look back to the end of the eighties when John Abrahams finished with Lancashire and had two seasons with Heywood. They were good seasons with the team well into the top half of the league and John contributed strongly with both bat and ball. Involved in cricket Click here for more ….

 May 20, 2020  5 Responses »
May 192020

Scott “Scoop” McHugh was a Heywood youngster who progressed into the senior sides and played in the first team during a challenging time for the club in the 1990′s. A talented left hand bat and deep thinker about the game, and usually about who would get him out and how, Scott recalls some of his Click here for more ….

 May 19, 2020  5 Responses »