May 252020

Bob 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:

Bob and his teammates after the championship winning side in the early 1960's

Bob (back row centre) and his teammates after the championship success in the early 1960′s

Do you recall your Heywood debut?

I remember my first 2 matches. The first was in 1957 – last match of the season at Stockport. Heywood mid table so nothing to lose by selecting me. I bowled to Alf Arrowsmith, the ball sliding down leg side, it got snagged in Alf’s baggy flannels and nicked leg stick, dislodged leg bail. My first wicket for Heywood.

Late season 1958 – selected for my 2nd game  - an evening match at Rochdale. I dashed by train from Manchester, ran from Rochdale station to Dane Street for a 6-30 start. Jack Davenport, who I didn’t know well, said he had been told to open with me. He threw the new ball deliberately over my head almost to the boundary edge, I retrieved it and opened the bowling from that end. An early lesson in captaincy! Jack and I became great friends. I was his best man when he married and his ashes are scattered in the covers, with the bowler bowling from the pavilion end.

What was your favourite away ground?

My favourite ground was probably Middleton. Not because of personal performances but because it was on that ground that I had the pleasure of skippering 2 Wood Cup final winning teams.

What was your favourite game for the club?

I suppose sportsmen tend to remember their best performances and I recall 9 for at Oldham and two 8 fors against Werneth away and Milrow at home but the game I remember most fondly is at home to Radcliffe in I think 1960 when I bowled at Gary Sobers from 2-30 to 5-00 at the end of which he wasn’t 50. At 5-40 when Radcliffe declared he was 110 n.o. I had an early 5 wickets and bowled very defensively (not 1 run off his legs). We became good pals and I spent a lot of time socially with him.

Who was the best Pro your played with and against?

Best pro I played with would have to be Colin Lever. Whether he was the best player, I can’t say but my best Pro I played with for Heywood. I also played with Gary, Rohan, Ian Chappell and others.

What about the best amateurs?

For Heywood, the late Bob Horrox. He was an outstanding bowler and much better bat than many who were in the side for batting. I need also to mention Jack Wilson, Trevor Brown and Ray Flaherty.

Best on field memory?

Probably the game against Radcliffe aforementioned.

What about off the field?

Cricket wise probably advising Barry Duddleston to sign for Leicestershire rather than wait for interest from Lancashire.

One memory I do have from off the field was at an event at the club one New Year. More than slightly the worse for wear I decided after midnight that I needed to inspect the pitch. I walked out of the old doors in the centre of the clubhouse and immediately stumbled over the benches, smashing my face on the floor and knocking myself unconscious.

As I came around I heard people calling my name, and managed to attract their attention. As I got up I thought I had some broken glass in my mouth but then realised it was my teeth that had been knocked out in the fall.

Keith and Yvonne drew the short straw and put me up for the night and in the morning their spare bed was covered in blood and teeth, a real mess.

However, as people picked me up from the ground after I had regained consciousness I realised I had an almost full pint of bitter clutched in my hand and despite the incident, I had managed to not spill a drop!

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 May 25, 2020  Add comments

  2 Responses to “Crimble Memories – Bob Cross”

  1. A great piece from down memory lane.
    I remember watching Bob when I was a kid – bowled big in duckers and set a three man leg trap as I recollect – probably would be borderline now in modern one day cricket.
    He later dropped down to the seconds where I was playing in my teen years – I was on the receiving end many times of Bob’s ‘great scot’ outburst whenever I misfielded or dropped a catch. He never liked my long hair then and he still mentions it today!

  2. If there’s a better story in all these pieces, pre & post Bob’s, his last 4 paragraphs are golden!

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