Nov 272018

In the latest of a series of articles reflecting on some of the best cricketers to have played for Heywood, STEVE McHUGH looks at the achievements of the leading all-time amateur run-scorers for the Club.

Thanks for most of the facts and figures must go to the late Vernon Connolly and Flo Cromarty, and now David Cross – who has taken over the upkeep of the records, which now include all the Lancashire Knockout Cup and National Knockout Cup figures.

Batting Amateur

Bobby Cross has posted astonishing batting figures for Heywood Cricket Club that will almost certainly never be surpassed – and he has not finished yet!

The now 35-year-old, who made his senior debut in 1997 at the age of 14 and captained the side between 2004-13, has currently amassed 17,204 runs in 512 innings for the Club at an average of 40.01.

That includes 22 centuries and 106 half-centuries with a top score of 162 not out made at Middleton in a Wood Cup-tie in 2007.

Most of Bobby’s mammoth total was made during Heywood’s days in the Central Lancashire League, where he won the Sir Frank Worrell trophy for being the League’s top amateur run-scorer on a record seven occasions.

It’s an astonishing record for a player who has devoted his entire career to one club, a rarity in the era of modern-day League cricket, and he looks certain to improve his portfolio in years to come.

A measure of his statistical batting domination is reflected in the figures posted by the next player in the list, Danny Pawson, who made 7,546 runs in 11 seasons at the Club before moving on at the end of the 2018 campaign.

Danny came to Crimble from Milnrow as a 17-year-old and his 266 innings included five centuries and 43 half-centuries, with a top score of 145 not out. He was the Club’s nominated professional in 2016.

Just below them in the list are two more Heywood stalwarts in the shape of Mark Wright and Alan Starmer.

Mark, another one-club man and like Bobby a product of the Club’s junior system, totalled 7,477 runs. Alan – who joined Heywood from Woodhouses – had an aggregate of 6,201 runs.

Ralph Farmer, Jack Wilson, Bobby Cross and Jim Porter, some 33,420 first team runs!

Ralph Farmer, Jack Wilson, Bobby Cross and Jim Porter, some 33,420 first team runs!

Fifth place goes to a player of a bygone era. Fred Duffy played from 1925 to 1949 and made 6,030 runs.

But not far behind him come some of Heywood’s most admired post-war performers.

Jack Wilson is just three runs behind Duffy in a first-team career lasting from 1954-175; Ralph Farmer is on the 5,727 mark compiled from 1961-1983; Ray Purser, a former first team skipper, made 5,046 from 1941-1969 ; Tom McConnell posted 5,016 from 1964-1982; Colin Wroe 4,663 from 1980-1995; and Jimmy Porter 4,462 from 1959-183.

Two more Heywood stalwarts still playing on also figure high up in the all-time batting records, despite the main strings to their bows being with the ball.

Chris Kaye and David Fare are well clear as the leading wicket-takers in the Club’s history, but the records underline that they have not too shabby with the bat, too!

Wood Cup Winners 1993, Mark Wright, Alan Starmer, Chris Kaye and David Fare with teammates including Andy Flower

Wood Cup Winners 1993, Mark Wright, Alan Starmer, Chris Kaye and David Fare with teammates including Andy Flower

Kaye, also a one-club man throughout his career, has aggregated 4,232 runs since making his debut in 1986, and still makes senior appearances when required.

Fare, who joined the Club from Worsley in 1976, made his last senior appearance in 2002 but not before reaching the landmark of 4,095 runs for Heywood.

Other players on the list who some members will recall include: Jack Davenport, 3,409 runs from 1942-1962; Trevor Brown, 3,314 from 1957-1973; Jason Hurst, a remarkable 3,097 from 1989-1992; and Royce Blight, the Australian who was the Club’s popular overseas amateur from 2005-2009 (excluding 2007) and aggregated 3,003 runs at an impressive average of 35.98.

And no Heywood batting records would be complete with a mention of Dr Henry Hardacre Irvine Hitchon, who was a former captain, Chairman and President of the club as well as being a President of Lancashire County Cricket Club from 1933-1935.

He played for Heywood from being one of the founder members of the Central Lancashire League in 1892 until 1921, and fell just short of the 4,000 run mark with a career total of 3,898.

Feb 182014

Just been given a copy of the Centenary Year book produced for the CLL marking its 100th anniversary in  1992. On very first glance through, I found this snippet from the 1980s. Oldham, happily, were back in the fold having satisfied the league committee that their ground was to the required standard again. However the Click here for more ….

 February 18, 2014  Tagged with:  No Responses »
Jul 012013

Click on pic for readable sizeFound this while having a brief look through some old files today. One of my reports from 1997. As was usual from that time, it was a shabby performance, but it’s worth noting several things from my report of that game, when I used to get abuse for “writing that b#@@@ks in the Advertiser.” My Click here for more ….

 July 1, 2013  Tagged with:  1 Response »
Jan 182013

Crictour0239Anthony Lepere joined Heywood’s misfits for the 2010 tour of Worcester. Here, the Australian – from the Midland Guildford Club with which we have such great links – recalls a great few days away with the lads. I was first asked to write about my memories of Crimble an embarrassingly long time ago. I hesitated Click here for more ….

 January 18, 2013  Tagged with: , , ,  7 Responses »
Aug 232012

Nearly 20 years ago, Andy Greenwood moved from Norden to Heywood and started a revival in the club’s second team’s fortunes. Greenwood – nicknamed GOD for his love of a ‘Game Of Darts’ – brought some much-needed pride back to second team cricket at a time when both the club’s first and second teams were Click here for more ….

Aug 172012

Many thanks to Bob Dearden and Mike Law for organising what turned out to be a first-class day at Crimble last Saturday. The ground had a feeling reminiscent of my days of youth thanks to a great turn-out for the Former Players Reunion day. The event sadly came two days after the death of one Click here for more ….

Apr 132012

“You could really hear the ball fizzle when Duncan Carter bowled.” It was just the sort of thing I wanted to hear when I spoke to one of Heywood’s best amateur batsmen and my current neighbour Jimmy Porter recently. A left-handed opening bat and one-time wicket-keeper Jimmy, 68, played in some of Heywood’s greatest teams Click here for more ….

Mar 192012

To coincide with one of the biggest years in the club’s history, Heywood CC are organising a very special ‘Former Players Day’. A date has been pencilled in for Saturday 11 August, and it’s an event we really want to be something special to honour and remember the players who have made the club what Click here for more ….

Mar 162012

With the season fast approaching – and after a talk with one of Heywood’s best amateurs – I thought I would share a memory from Vernon Connolly’s archives. I approached Jimmy Porter – who lives over the road – about setting up an interview with him, and he recalled the day Ralph Farmer played possibly Click here for more ….

Feb 212012

Found these old pages from the 1993 Wood Cup final between Heywood and Middleton at Crimble and thought I would scan them in. They’re a bit rough and ready but good nostalgia. Great originality on the back page lead, but good stuff! Enjoy. Click on the pages and they will enlarge to normal size.  

Jan 232012

John Kaye played for Heywood from 1982 to 1996 and was a member of the most successful youth sides in the club’s history. Here, he tells of why – despite forging a new career down south – Heywood CC is his first and biggest love. Reading the ramblings of the likes of the likes of Click here for more ….