Jun 032020

Andy Lamb played for Heywood from 1978 to 1988 and retains a very close connection to the club to this day. Now living in Worcester and heavily involved with Barnards Green CC, Andy always takes on the role of hosting Heywood when the club is able to tour the area and Barnards Green in particular are always very hospitable.

Andy moved from one great ground to another, Barnards Green CC

Andy moved from one great ground to another, Barnards Green CC

Andy has taken the time to look back on his time in both the 1st and 2nd XI at Crimble:

Do you recall your Heywood debut?

My 1st team debut was at Crimble in May 1978 v Littleborough. I recall my first ball was facing one J Garner- I’m pretty sure I ended up 9* having taken Geoffrey Boycotts advice on the best way to play good fast bowling was to stay at the other end!

Having run twenty yards, I also dropped a hard chance offered by Garner at deep square leg off Shag, and more embarrassingly in front of several kids from Siddal Moor where I was teaching at the time; fortunately he holed out soon afterwards but, as ever, I don’t think Fare forgave me as I never got a bowl in that game! We won, so maybe he was vindicated!

What was your favourite Game for the club?

Perversely the two games that stick in my mind both ended in defeat. Firstly from an entirely personal glorification perspective was a Burton Cup 2nd XI game at Milnrow where we resumed on a Monday night 0n 37 for 7 chasing 168 to win. We soon plummeted to 49 for 9 before I was joined by the young yet phlegmatic David Platt ( incidentally a completely different character to his late lamented brother). Platty and I put on 99 (I got 92 of them) leaving us to get 19 off the last over – I holed out going for another 6 but what I loved about the game was the cataclysmic shift in the attitudes of the Milnrow players as a mood of overriding confidence gradually metamorphosed into a spectrum of ever increasing self-doubt as it dawned on them that we might get the runs – this was even more satisfying from our point of view as the chief chirper throughout the innings was an Aussie leg spinner whose capacity for whining increased in direct inverse proportion to the number of runs he was despatched for! Plus I got a £16 collection on a Monday night in a 2nd XI game away in front of 3 men and a dog!

The other game featured a classical batting display by Bruce Edgar on a sticky dog at Crimble over a couple of nights in a Wood Cup game. Hyde had to chase about 160 and the ball was swinging and seaming all over the place, ably exploited by that virtuoso Paul Jazwinski and to no little effect, myself. Faced with excessive movement Edgar grafted like the true professional and single handedly batted with attrition playing every ball 0n its merits and skilfully picking runs up with deft placement,

As long as he stayed , Hyde would win- he stayed until only a handful of runs were needed and the visitors scraped home , I think, by 2 wickets.

Sometimes you just have to acknowledge somebody is better than you, and , where possible, learn from them!

What was your favourite Away ground

Would have to be Middleton- lovely ground, always nice people and we had some success there – I always enjoyed bowling there as it offered something for both batters and bowlers (although fielding at 3rd man at Pavilion end was awkward with the slope at the boundary!) Also had my most productive collection there! Have also brought touring teams there since I moved and they have always been very accommodating! I think it’s the club most like Heywood so that must be a compliment!

Best Pro you played with and against?

Played with… probably Henry Lawson although getting caught at long on or long off 27 times in 28 knocks does make you wonder how bright he is !! Can’t forget his 100 in 9 overs (I think) at Ashton where he nearly killed several guys on the bowling green and destroyed a spinner with a fine record , Derek Parker!

Played against…even though I played against the likes of Garner, Croft, Moseley, Kanhai, etc and even the lesser known yet abrasively successful Joe Flynn, I would have to plump for Carl Hooper who embodied a laid back serenity in all he did in cricket. I remember vividly spending a hot afternoon watching all our bowlers on a shirt front at Crimble as he caressed his way to 185, expending only the amount of energy needed to time the ball exquisitely to all corners of the ground. Again he was gracious and respectful – if you bowled him a good ball, he would acknowledge it with a respectful nod, and when he did spank you to the fence, there was none of this ‘in your face’ stuff. He recognised we were all doing our best to get him out but he was calmly showing us how good he was.. If I recall, Steve Wundke got a big ton in our spirited reply so it was a real run feast if unsuccessful for Heywood.

Best amateurs?

Played with…best batter ,,, Colin Gradwell. Best bowler .. Paul Jazwinski neither of these were the most talented but both of them made the absolute most of what ability they had , and combined it with a selfless determination in plugging away at the opposition for the benefit of the team . Neither gave up at any time and worked out what was needed to achieve the right outcome

Overseas amateur Award must go to Nolan Hall – a great guy to whom I was privileged to act as Best Man and someone you would always want in your side and at your side!

Mention also to Bob Dearden, a particularly niggardly performer……..Why do we not see inswing bowlers any more?

Best captain …Bob Cooke – liked his style which epitomised an intuitive feeling for what was likely to work rather than – as is so often the case these days- a formulaic pre identified plan which must be adhered to. Bob wasn’t afraid to risk losing in order to secure victory and recognised, presumably from widespread experience both on and off the field, that it wasn’t always the good ball that got the wicket! I also learned from Bob the valuable basic lesson that to be a good captain you have to make sure that you, not the opposition, are dictating the pace of the game – if you are not, then change the pace immediately by changing the bowling, not just the bowler!

Opponents for whom I had great respect would include Paul Rocca, Leon Taylor, Phil Sutcliffe and Dave Schofield. All were fine players and competitors but maintained an excellent sense of humour throughout.

Best on field memory?

Covered above I think although must mention the role played by the very gentlemanly Royton pro and subsequent umpire, John Holder, whom I was privileged to see hit one of the biggest sixes I have ever seen , driving David Fare over the screen, over the fence , over the shrubs and flowers and almost into the lake in Queens Park!

Off Field memories- two favourites

1 – Some of you may remember an old pal of mine called Mike Spray who spent some time in the area , During a particularly busy evening at the club after a game when there was a wait to get served, and in the middle of a strike at JWLees , this conversation took place between Mike and Bernard Morley, steward at the time

Bernard ;’Who’s next?’

Mike ‘Thanks Bernard , that’s me, Pint of lager please’

Bernard ‘ All gone mate’

Mike ’Make it bitter then’

Bernard ‘ None left either’

Mike ‘ How about a mild as a last resort?’

Bernard ‘That’s all gone too – so what can I get for you?’

Long pause as Mike fidgets in his pocket and comes out with a membership type card

Mike ‘ well….you can you change my library books as you seem to be doing bugger all else!’

2. Some of the best memories relate to the many tours involving Heywood players and supporters and some from other clubs I had been associated with

These include rooming with the Road Manager, Ken Lee- and witnessing him get up at 630am go out in the pouring rain wearing only a raincoat to the nearest paper shop to get a copy of Sporting Life to pick out the days horses

You may also recall an Aussie called Mark Scott – never having been to Devon before he was intrigued by the roadside sign advertising ‘Scrumpy and Clotted Cream – available here! Shag turned off the road and we went in – he soon tasted and understood Scrumpy, but couldn’t believe that clotted cream could be sent all round the world as a gift, and the voluptuous young girl behind the counter would willingly dispense some to his rellies in Western Australia. ‘Would you like to try some’? she asked helpfully. With usual Australian sensitivity Scotty dunked a fat finger into a tub and stuck it into his ample gob and sucked on it avidly. Almost immediately he pulled a face and exclaimed ‘ Jeez…that’s not the fu**in’ best is it!’

We explained his career in the Australian Diplomatic Corps had been short lived and had to shift a fair lake of scrumpy to make up!

In general my times at Heywood confirmed for me the delight that a well run cricket club can bring to one’s life. Friends I have made in and through cricket remain friends for life. I have been fortunate to have found a similar set up here in Worcestershire where the depth of support I received after the death of Alex has mirrored that which I received from all at Crimble following my accident in 1982.

In these difficult times for us all, both in the game and the community , I wish you all the best. Like yourselves we are publishing memories to keep our members involved, interested, motivated and possibly amused.



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 June 3, 2020  Add comments

  7 Responses to “Crimble Memories – Andy Lamb”

  1. Well done,Andy! Superbly well written and accurate.Much thought has been put into this article.

  2. I loved playing for Lamby in my first couple of years of 2nd team cricket. He was never afraid to give youth a crack, putting as much trust in people like Steve Cromarty, Chris and myself, as he had in established players like Dave Oldham and Gary Wright. Andy, Mike Spray relocated to Worthing, whom I also joined after leaving Heywood and there are many funny stories involving him down here too.

  3. Would echo Bob’s sentiments – a really well written, interesting and amusing piece covering a wide range of experiences at HCC.

  4. Good stuff Andy great memory for detail.

    You reminded me about Bruce Edgar, I think he batted 4 times against us and that cup game was the only time he got runs. If I remember correctly Paul Jaz got him on each occasion once first ball.

    I also had the misfortune to share a room with Ken, got to the stage where he was going out as I was getting in!

  5. Mr Lamb, introduced me to “Sunshine of my live ” on tour in Devon ….Excellent

  6. Didn’t play in the same team as Andy as often as I would have liked, (Our first and second team outings were never totally in sync 1978 – 82 ) as he made the experience all the better. A very funny man, and always particularly encouraging to other young players of the time ( always the teacher ). He used to love bamboozelling batsmen who faced his late outswingers in the nets – often asking if he should “put a bell in it”
    A wonderfully dry sense of humour, Andy always played the game with a smile and he made it fun for everyone else. Top man

  7. Great memories, I was one of Andy’s pupils at Siddal Moor in those days so I was probably one of the “kids”,

    I don’t specifically recall this game but I do recall Mr Garner vs our very own Ralph Farmer getting very angry every time he sent down a short-one, Ralph would just hook him down for 4 or 6

    Andy was one of the few teachers who took an interest in cricket along with Phil Sutcliffe, at school level, there were a few of us in the same year that he encouraged and helped, myself, Jim Lees, Geoff Farrar, Dave Platt and Gary Wright to name a few, all of who had some association with the club.

    As Mark says above – Top Man

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