Jun 062020

A former first team captain and the club’s all time leading wicket taker with a remarkable 949 wickets to his name, Chris Kaye has been a fixture in the Heywood first team since the late 1980′s. One of the most decorated players in terms of silverware for the club, Chris has 6 Wood Cup winners medals and 2 CLL titles to his name.

He looks back on his own Crimble Memories:

Chris in action against Littleborough

Chris in action against Littleborough

Do you remember your debut?

It must have been 1985 as a full time fielder with no chance of doing anything. I can’t remember who I played against the first game I got a bowl. I do remember being a tear arse fast bowler or so I thought. I marked my run turned round and the keeper was stood up to the wickets. I’m sure that was the beginning of the end for my fast bowling career.

What was your favourite game?

This is a difficult one due to the number of big games I was fortunate to play in

a, 1993 wood cup final – massive underdogs

b, 2003 wood cup final – obviously 10 years had past since the last final I played in so felt like the first time again

c, 2013 wood cup final – my last , underdogs again and was really happy for the younger lads and was hoping it would be a springboard for further success for the club.

Having mentioned these finals and great days they were I would have to say beating Rochdale at Crimble to win the league. Batting with Steve Wallwork at the end in the last over hearing the crowd getting more and more impatient the longer the over went on. we had it under control honest. What made it sweeter was Dave Appleton the Rochdale Observer cricket reporter a few years early had written in the paper, previewing a league game against us….. today’s visitors are Heywood, Rochdale’s poorer cousins. He was there that day and was nice to stick it up him as well.

Favourite away ground?

After some thought my choice is Ashton for a couple of reasons…

My memory may be playing tricks but I feel I was quite successful individually at Ashton.  Team wise we won the Wood Cup against Monton in 2005 there quite easily and we also learned we had won the league there in 2008 due to our game and Oldham’s game being abandoned. The only other ground we have won the league and Wood Cup is Crimble.

I have to say, Rayner Lane that Wood Cup final day was an absolute picture.

Best Professional you played with and against?

This isn’t a cop out, I have played with and against so many great players over the years and I’m sure the players would agree you learn from each and every one of them.  I will apologise for not naming them all, whatever I wrote I wouldn’t do them justice.

I have to have a benchmark and winning things has to be it, for that reason my choice is Sherwin Campbell what a player. There was nothing he couldn’t do with a bat in his hand. If my memory serves me right we used to enjoy chasing and he was confident of getting whatever the opposition posted.

Other players have mentioned his knock against Littleborough on the Monday evening but it really had to be seen to be believed. I think we chased down 230 ish with 15 overs to go. A top guy off the field as well and we are still friends, during England’s tour to West Indies Sherwin got us tickets to the Barbados legends box where we met Desmond Haynes, Gordon Greenidge, Ezra Mosely, Sir Wes Hall and Sir Garfield Sobers, what a day.

The best professional I played against is a toss up between Clinton Perren, Asif Mujtaba and Ruvin Peiris. We couldn’t seem to get any of them out and if they were asked I’m sure they would say Heywood would be one of their favourites as they always scored hundred against us home and away. Out of those 3 I would have to choose Mushy as he was a brilliant bowler as well but they were close.

What about the amateurs?

Let me start with saying its been an absolute pleasure to share a dressing room with every single amateur I have played with. Each and everyone of you brought something into the dressing and were complicit with every memory I hold dear on a cricket pitch. When I retire this is what I will miss. I sure we will all remain friends for life.

I know Bobby’s name has been mentioned on others posts and I have tried to make an argument to try and choose someone else to at least make it interesting but I can’t. David Fare came close taught me everything I know especially that you don’t have to turn it to take wickets, we both built a career on that mantra.

Bobby is clearly the best he led from the front and was the prized wicket for every opposition we came up against. He had unwavering support for his bowlers or that’s at least how I felt and that feeling does get the best out of you he was a fantastic fielder as well and dropped nothing. Couldn’t bowl for toffee tho! He does like to inform people we have 948 wickets between us and he has 3.

Best amateur I have played against hands down is Chris Schofield top class batsman and leg spinner, he was always a tricky opponent. If he didn’t get runs he would get wickets but he usually got both

Best memory on the field?

Winning titles and Wood Cups for Heywood will obviously be the highlight of my career sharing the 1993 cup final with my brother was extra special and a memory I treasure. Being able to share those successes with team mates supporters and family is something I will never forget, but those are shared experiences and I do have a couple of personal ones…. beating David Fare’s reco…… only joking. It has been great to able to share every success I have had with the club with my eldest son Aaron I know he has been my biggest supporter and defended me to the supporters when I have thrown all sorts of crap down. When we won the big games he was as happy as I was. He still doesn’t want me to retire!!  I wanted to share a dressing room and play with my youngest Jacob before I retire and have managed to do that.

And off the field?

I’m going to use poetic licence for this story. I hope it all happened on the same night at the club but I’m pretty sure it didn’t but here goes anyway… The celebrations were in full swing and the first team were drinking dead crow from one of the cups. As the supporters started to mill away Ronnie behind the bar put his pilots uniform on this signalled after time. The first event to kick off during after time was a dance off and as we circled the floor the contestants entered …. Sherwin Campbell and Stephen Wallwork what ensued was a battle royale and both by the end were claiming victory my vote was for Wally.

What happened next I will remember forever, after a couple of tries and let me say fails in sing off between a couple of the players Sherwin decides to have a go but he can’t find a song he knows the words to. He then comes from behind the bar door with a smile on his face climbs up onto a table with a microphone in his hand and gives a full rendition of All Night Long by Lionel Ritchie, 52 test matches and 90 one day internationals, I promise its true and one of the funniest nights I had at the club..

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 June 6, 2020  Add comments

  5 Responses to “Crimble Memories – Chris Kaye”

  1. Great stories from one of the club’s great servants – his record speaks for itself and surely will never be matched – get yourself back in that first team Chris as you are still good enough and make it a thousand!

  2. Great read Chris. Thanks for not mentioning the stumping off Stuart Law, the look you gave me afterwards….or the next ball disappearing out of the parish and the even worse look you gave me! Many great games played together but the 2003 final was something else to watch from the sideline. One memory that sticks in the mind is you getting Geoff Foley (A left handed who seemed to have the widest bat I’d ever seen!) out when Radcliffe were chasing down a mediocre target on their way to winning the league. We needed him out. You kept tossing it up from the lake end and he hit a couple of slog swept sixes- one of them over the biggest tree in Heywood just to the right of where the nets are now. No matter, Fare places our best pair of hands- Badey under said tree and as you were never afraid to do, you kept tossing it up. Foley mis-hit the next one straight to him. Our best win in a tough season.

  3. I remember Norden having a Pro called Jean Symes one season, and he sized CK up for a couple of balls at Woodhouse Lane before attempting to hit him over the Horse & Farrier but only succeeding in feathering an edge to Jonny Shaw behind the sticks.

    As Symes trudged off he somewhat unkindly informed all his teammates, within our earshot, that Chris was the worst bowler ever to have got him out.

    When the return game came about at Crimble and Symes came in we got Chris into the attack and he quickly snared him caught and bowled.

    As Symes started the long walk back to the pavilion I remember Chris mentioning to him that he was now the worst bowler ever to have got him out twice!

  4. Well done Chris,

    40+ years we have been going down to Crimble – what a special place it really is.

  5. Summing up Chris’s status as one of the clubs all time great players is easy for me. I bowled in tandem with him for nearly a decade. I tried pretty much every ball to get a wicket. He got 600 more than me. Put aside any stats around length of playing time, he got 600 more wickets than me and i tried my hardest every ball and every game to get wickets. Its not as easy as it looks and he could lend me 200 wickets and still be streets ahead.

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