John Heywood has played both youth and senior cricket at the club as well as being a key volunteer as a coach, administrator and a supporter over the years. Still very much involved in club life, John has taken the chance to look back on his own Crimble Memories:
What were your earliest memories of Heywood CC?
Firstly, what a series this is, thank you to all who have contributed, here are a selection of my memories some go back 40 years!
I started going down to Crimble as a boy and my earliest memories that I can remember are the late 1970’s. More generic than specific but the days seem to last forever and I distinctly remember playing behind and under the pavilion amongst the empty beer barrels and the smell of stale ale whilst the roar of laughter drifted out of the club house above. This was a time when the drinkers of Heywood had to get around the Sunday closure of the pubs and they poured down the hill at 3pm as with a membership the club had different opening hours to the popular pubs of the time (all of them) and the door was strictly monitored and a signing in book that seemed so large it would not have looked out of place on This is Your Life!!
Then into the early 80’s and starting to watch the “Men” play whilst making friends that still last to this day. Jamie McCulloch, Stephen Cromarty, Craig Irvine, Chris and John Kaye, Chris Flanagan, Jason Bradley, Marcus Caveney and Stephen and David Edwards and a young Lee Grogan. There was always a mate there to share a coke with and going into the old tea rooms ( now demolished ) with 50p and having enough sweets for the whole weekend!.
What about the junior cricket back then?
My early cricket career was at youth level U13 and our coach Tony Bradley. What a good junior side that became and throughout the 80’s we won cups and leagues and the list of junior players that made the jump into senior cricket is testament to a great club. My peer group was one step behind other names of note…. Mike Kitchen, Ste and VD Ball, Sean McConnell to name just 4. Waiting to play Donkey Kong or Defender in the back room behind the slightly older kids who managed to get 100 plays as they had a 10p on a string that lasted as long as they wanted it too.
1984 we had a really strong U15 team and we won the Knibbs trophy. It was a Sunday and we played a semi final and the final on the same day. It was a brilliant day and Crimble was bathed in sunshine the outfield scorched white and our win added to what was a brilliant season for the club.
Did you get to watch much senior cricket at that time?
Week in week out we watched the stars in our eyes Wundke / Page / Wroe / Wright / Devine / Bob Cooke / Nolan Hall what a great side that really was. This was at the time I made a few second team appearances and in 1986 played almost a full season with Jamie McCulloch and Stephen Edwards as the youngest players supporting Chris Kaye and Stephen Cromarty with some real characters in David Oldham / my teacher Andy Lamb / Ralph farmer / Gary Wright / Bob Yardley / Vinny Kaye / Norman Howard and others who sadly all names I cannot remember.
Did you do your time as a tin boy?
I remember it was quite a battle back then for the honour to do the “Tins” in the old scorebox. £2 for standing in a sweat box all day with the numbered rollers that popped off the runners all the time and whacked you on the head!. The highlight was your tea was included and you got to sit with the players!. In the “Tins” time and time again chastised by umpires for not paying attention as we usually had a game going on inside the box goodness knows how the scorers used to put up with us!!
One highlight was watching Vinny Ball run to the boundary to collect a ball that had stopped 6 inches from the drop off boundary in front of the pavilion. Sensing the opposition batsmen would turn for 5 Vinny proudly kicked the ball over the boundary edge as in his wisdom 4 is less than 5. We collapsed in laughter inside the box when the umpire signalled 8 much to VD team mates annoyance and his own embarrassment!.
Other random memories include in no particular order:
- Phil Wright’s black lab the best corky ball finder in the rough nettles at Crimble.
- Warm fizzy coke out of a bottle.
- Desperate for a Newbury bat.
- Nolan Halls run out of Neil Phillips the Rochdale Pro at Middleton in the 1984 wood cup final.
- Whitening in a bottle for cricket boots and trainers.
- Bob Cooke’s sports shop on ( I think ) Deansgate?
- Riders ready peddles ready go! ( Full blown BMX meetings over the wall ).
- Our Junior Coach George Kitchen smoking in his estate car behind the nets never leaving his driving seat with the engine running.
- Keith and Flo Cromarty as well as Tony Bradley who were all ahead of their time as junior coaches.
- Playing in a game that Bob Yardley took 6 wickets for 0 runs at Hyde.
- Taking a decent skied catch as the first wicket in a Ralph Farmer second team Hat-trick.
- Jim the Dog Talking to Bob Yardley’s Twin brother thinking it was Bob even when Bob tapped him on his shoulder!. Coining a phrase there are only two Bob Yardley’s.
- Wundke hitting a 6 that cleared the pavilion and landed in the stream outside the boundary of the club itself.
- Franklin Stephenson / Ezra Mosley / Joel Garner / Clive Lloyd (Lloyd was a sub pro at Milnrow might have been a testimonial game)
- Oldham’s sub-standard pitch scandal.
- The amazing Kirby Family. Graham as a 4 year old tear away in the sand pit loving life. They should be really proud what Ste Kirby achieved in the game.
- Billy Miff taking a phone call from Bob Cooke who was on a phone delay as he was in Barbados. Bob never found out the days result from that phone call!
HCC and Crimble hold so many good memories over a long period of time. Long may that continue and I look forward to meeting all the members again as soon as we are allowed.
Take Care / Stay safe and I hope some of the above resonates with readers as much as it does for me.
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