Our club steward Stephen Cromarty has had a long involvement with the club from junior and senior cricket, to passionate supporter and more recently the popular figure behind the bar who has made a hugely positive contribution to club life. The Cromarty name has been a treasured one for Heywood CC, the practice nets carry the name of Steve’s parents Keith and Flo, both incredible supporters of the club in their time.
Steve has taken time to look back on his memories as both a player and supporter:
Do you remember the first game you saw?
The first game I watched was Geoff Lawson’s Testimonial in 1979, my Dad brought me down to junior practice at the back end of that season.
What about your debut?
My first game for the second team was a friendly at Colne on my 11th birthday, it was so cold they actually brought out soup at drinks. While batting Bones smacked the ball back in my direction, while trying to get out of the way it hit my bat and ended up being caught at mid on! I didn’t know if Bones, myself or both of us were out! Fortunately it was Bones and I ended up with a 4no!
My first team debut was just as successful, I was 17 and we were playing Middleton at a packed Towncroft. I think we were chasing around 140 and were cruising, but then lost a couple of quick wickets. I got the nod, we needed two to win and this moment I had played out in my head so many times, so my GN Powerspot in hand I strode to the wicket, recalling David Gowers first shot in test cricket. I took my guard, Pete Davey steamed in, I played the perfect cover drive, bar one small fact, I missed the ball by around 6 inches. Davey begged the umpire to give it out caught behind, which the bleeder did! I was gutted! We won the game and PD, the wicket keeper and umpire all apologised and my career went down hill from there!
What was your favourite game?
My favourite match was the 1984 U15 Knibbs Trophy Final although I got a first baller in that too! It was good to win in what had been such a successful season for the club, especially with so many good youngsters, there was only Chris Kaye, Mark Ashton and myself fifteen year olds in that side, the rest of the team were a year younger. Many of them went on to play for the club for many years, including MOM John Heywood with his amazing feat of 4 for not many.
What was your favourite away ground?
I loved playing on Cassy Moor, played my first U15 game their, got my first second team 50 their too, but mostly because of the people, a great set of lads Mick Johnson, Ian Gilberston and his Dad Roy and Dave Harrop especially.
Who was the best Pro you saw?
In my short First team Career I played in the same team as Steve Wundke, Curtley Ambrose and John Abrahams, who were all great players. As a fan Sherwin was obviously different class. Steve Wundke’s 100 against Ezra Moseley was one of the finest knocks I’ve ever seen, he seemed to place every ball into a gap for two.
I got to face Ezra Moseley and nearly played against Joel Garner, but thankfully the game at Oldham was rained off. Les Lambert was also a bit quick!
What about amateurs?
Colin Wroe was a fantastic player who as a youngster I always looked up to, his 85 in the Wood Cup Semifinal at Castleton Moor was a masterclass. The best allround performance I’ve seen by a Heywood amateur would be Dave Fare in the Milnrow Semi Final, Dave and Jazz bowled brilliantly then Dave smashed a 60 odd, planting a couple over the team rooms.
I’d have to go for Bobby Cross as best batsmen with his 97 at Clifton being such a vital innings in the first championship season of that wonderful young side of the 2000′s. Chris Kaye gets the vote for best bowler, playing in the junior teams with him you could see how much natural ability he had, but he’s also adapted his game to stay at the top of his game for as many years as he has.
As a junior I got to play against some smashing players, Dexter Fitton, Mo Bux, Mark Hooson and John MacCauley, they were on another level.
What memories do you look back on?
I think my favourite era was watching the side of the 2000′s develop and then become so successful, really talented players who were fantastic on and off the pitch. If I had to pick one game, it would have to be the Unsworth Semi Final when Steve Kirby was sub pro. It was the perfect day at a wonderful venue shared with fantastic people. How Bardi didn’t just walk up the hill after getting out then throwing his bat I’ll never know!
One of my most memorable days was playing in a tour game in Wellingborough, in a game that we were struggling in, I took three wickets in an over, there was also a run out, then my up to that moment, favourite school teacher Andy Lamb took me off! Which I thought was a bit harsh, however things took a turn for the worse on the way home when I nearly died (slight exaggeration) in a Skoda when Steven Ball hit an ‘oil slick’ of all things on the M1.
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