Jimmy’s funeral will be at Middleton Crematorium on Friday 18th September at 2.20pm followed by a reception at Heywood CC.
The usual regulations will apply at the Crem and as usual we ask for common sense and understanding back at the club to allow the family to safely access the pavilion and then social distancing to be properly maintained.
The family and funeral party will have access to the pavilion up to 4.30pm and anyone else that then wishes to come and celebrate Jimmy’s life is welcome to do so.
Heywood Cricket Club’s run of sad news continued over the weekend when we learned of the death of former player and groundsman Jimmy Porter at the age of 76 after a long illness.
Jimmy started his career at Crimble before a spell at Middleton before returning back to his first home where he would not only continue his playing career but also lovingly tend to the ground at Heywood.
He was renowned as a fearless batsman in an era before helmets and when fast bowling professionals were regular opponents.
After the tragic loss of Scott McHugh a month earlier it seems fitting we can use Scott’s memories of Jimmy again now:
Jimmy was born in Middleton and grew up near Middleton junction. He was a keen footballer as well as a talented cricketer.
In his second year at Moorclose Senior School, Jimmy became a regular in the school’s first team. In his third year he played for Middleton Boys and by his fourth year played for North Lancashire Boys at Old Trafford before being selected for the full Lancashire Boys team and playing at places like the County Ground at Northampton and Chester-Le-Street.
In 1958 and just 14 years old he was encouraged to join Heywood CC by two teachers, and he played his first season in the second team under captain John Oddie.
Jimmy left school in 1959 and was playing cricket for Lancashire Boys and football for Blackburn Rovers, and it was then he made his first-team debut as wicket-keeper batsman, with Keith Slater as professional and Ray Purser as captain.
At that time, Jimmy was working for Middleton Council as an apprentice gardener and was told that if he was to further his career he had to work weekends in the greenhouses at Jubilee Park, near Middleton Parish Church, which made it impossible for him to play for Heywood and which – for a decade at least – caused him to leave the club he had come to love.
As luck would have it, however, part of his training was in groundsmanship so he was always in touch with the game he loved. In 1966 he was approached by a member at Towncroft to become part-time groundsman at Middleton CC, and although this meant he couldn’t play for the senior sides, Jimmy talked the club into allowing him to net with the first team to keep his skills honed.
Then, in 1969, his father retired and he took over the ground allowing Jimmy to play again. In 1970, ten years after his first league title, Jimmy and Middleton won the CLL title again before in 1972 he returned to Crimble to help restore a square that had seen better days – this time on a voluntary basis enabling him to play again for his first love.
Not known as the most free-scoring batsman, Jimmy was, however, a proper competitor who sold his wicket dearly. He scored more than 500 runs in each of the 1979 and 1980 seasons when professionals were usually of international class and quick. Very quick. His top score of 129 was for many years an amateur record for a Heywood player.
Details of the funeral will be published once we have them and our thoughts are with Jimmy’s family at this sad time.
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