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…
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.