Jun 172020

Paul Hamill has watched cricket at Heywood since the early 1970′s and has been a passionate supporter of the club over that time. Whilst there is no cricket at the club this summer Paul has taken the chance to send in his memories of many years of cricket at Crimble:

Paul has watched plenty of cricket at his favourite venue

Paul has watched plenty of cricket at his favourite venue

Do you remember your first game?

The first match I attended at Crimble was in the early 70′s when Oldham were the visitors. I remember it being a lovely summer’s day and although Heywood lost the game it’s been my favourite place ever since.

Do you have a favourite game?

I have been fortunate over the years to witness many great matches on Crimble but if I had to pick one then after much thought my favourite would have to be the Wood Cup semi-final in 2004 against Unsworth. Defending a total of around 140 against a talented, in depth opposition batting line up Heywood at tea looked second favourites. Enter Steven Kirby standing in as sub-pro back on his home turf and ably supported by Will Purser.

He tore into the Unsworth batting line up with a fiery, skilful spell of fast bowling. His desire to win the game for his beloved club was there for all to see and roared on by an increasingly vocal home support he ripped through the batting to book a Wood Cup final place for Heywood. I’ll never forget the standing ovation he and his teammates received on leaving the field.

Do you have a favourite away ground?

Middleton, closely followed by Stockport where I made my 2nd XI debut. The firsts always seemed to play Stockport on a bank holiday SUnday which was always a bonus. Two other grounds I have enjoyed visiting are Ramsbottom and Ormskirk, two proper cricket grounds.

Best Pro you have seen?

Privileged to watch many great Heywood Pro’s over the years from the first one, Colin Lever, followed by countless fine cricketers since. I used to enjoy watching Craig Sugden batting and obviously Sherwin Campbell was a masterclass. Overall it would have to be Steve Wundke a genuine all rounder who on his day could bowl quickly, before becoming a very effective slow left armer and he was a great match winning batsman. His 100 against Ezra Moseley was one of the best innings I have seen on Crimble.

Carl Hooper was the best opposition Pro, absolutely majestic to watch.

What about amateurs?

The best Heywood amateur without doubt has to be Bobby Cross, immensely talented batsman on the field and a superb clubman off it. Not only a great batsman in league cricket but always a fantastic fielder.

Best individual performance you have seen?

Once more very privileged over the years to see many outstanding performances for Heywood, Bobby on many occasions, Sherwin, Johan Botha, but the standout performance has to be Kenny Stephens taking all ten wickets against Littleborough to finish with the remarkable figures of 10-18.

What about a standout moment for a team?

The Wood Cup final against Rochdale at Middleton in 2006 when a young Tom Hardman stroked the penultimate ball of the game for 4 to bring the Wood Cup back to Crimble.

What about off the field?

Many great memories in the clubhouse after a Wood Cup final which lasted into the early hours of a Monday. After one such victory, 2006 I think, I recall walking into the Queen Anne on the Monday afternoon to find Messers Campbell, Blight and the rest of the Heywood team with the trophy and the drinks flowing and the victory celebration once more in full swing.

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