Back 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 to this day John retains fond memories of the club and often returns to Crimble. He looks back on his spell at Heywood:
1. Do you remember your debut?
I honestly can’t. Whether it was home or away. Probably batting and bowling performances that weren’t too memorable. Remembering the team in the first season, it had some good players – Jason Hurst, Andy Flower, Pete Devine, Mark Wright, Derrick Page, oh yes and Peter Abrahams and a David ? (bowled left arm ‘spin’???) Apologies if I’ve missed anyone.
2. What is your favourite away ground?
It has to be Milnrow for many reasons. Namely because that’s where Dad was professional when we came over from South Africa, where we grew up as cricketers and where the family has settled and use the cricket club for family functions.
3. What was your favourite game for Heywood?
This is a cop out I know, they were all enjoyable – genuinely. The atmosphere in the dressing room and on the field was very good. Great humour, camaraderie, support and enjoying each other’s success.
4. Best Pro you played against?
Carl Hooper. Effortless, easy, great on the eye. Pure class.
5. Best amateur you played with?
With would have to be David Fare. No sorry, forgot about Chris Kaye! And ‘Kitch’!
Andy Flower. Even at the tender age of 20 (I think) he looked a classy player. The elegant left handed batsman and a good knowledge of the game.
6. Best on field memory?
Having given him some stick, it has to involve D Fare. A match at Unsworth when the umpires took us off for bad light with the opposition nine wickets down. David convinced them that the batsman would be safe if we only bowled spin. So I bowled the last over with Fare at slip. The batsman just thrust his front pad along the line of off stump and blocked the straight deliveries. So I jumped wide on delivery and as expected the batsman did the same, the ball hit the outside edge and in what seemed like slow motion, first slip fell forward with his hands like a crocodile and Fare managed to snaffle the winning catch.
7. Best off field memory
This qualifies as off the field as it concerned our beloved spectators in Critics Corner. Ezra Moseley had completed his initial quick spell and was settling into an afternoon of bowling from one end at reasonable pace. Brother Peter and I were just settling in. Jim the Dog and colleagues decided then to abuse the opposition professional. The usual ‘Put him on at both ends!’ and others which prompted Ezra to walk across with the ball and invite them to bowl! When he returned it was back to his quickest! Thanks Jim!
8. Any other memories?
Heywood Cricket Club was exactly what John Abrahams needed having been released from Lancashire. Somewhere to continue playing at a good level and make contributions to the game and to cricketers.
One incident against Ashton reminded me that having played for over 20 years, there were still lessons to be learnt. A lower order batsman hit all deliveries I was bowling to the legside, whatever line or length it was the ball ended up going through the legside. To the extent where there were 8 fielders spread out on the onside with extra cover to throw the ball back from the WK in case the batsman missed it.
After another couple of balls I sledged someone on a cricket field, the only time ever, and pointed out there are two sides to the field. To which he replied:
“Listen son, I’ve paid my subs I can hit it where I want!”
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