Jun 122020

Roger Smethurst has been involved at Heywood from junior cricket all the way through and is currently Cricket Chairman as well as one of the most reliable volunteers and club people around. A Burton Cup winning captain in 2013, The Sheriff has taken time to look back on his own Crimble Memories:

The Sheriff lifts the Burton Cup in 2013

The Sheriff lifts the Burton Cup in 2013

Do you remember your Heywood debut?

JW Lees products and too many debriefs in Jabez Clegg’s have taken their toll on my memory with this. It would be fair to say my 1st x1 career is not one that has gets the HCC Historians excited and rushing for the record books ! I played a couple of games when Phil Alley was pro in 1991 standing at 3rd slip in one game thinking I hope there isn’t a nick as I’d never fielded at slip in the 2’s. The highlight of that time was the final game of a season at home where Mark Wright got at least 2 wickets and might have been on a hat trick if my memory serves.  I think C Kaye was 2nd team captain when I made my debut for the 2’s in about 1989 but as to who against I can’t remember. I remember just spending about a season filling the 9/10/jack spot but getting picked regularly because I could catch !!! Things got going for me in about 1991 I think. Gary Hulme had come into the 2nds and Chris had him batting above me, we had a discussion about this as Gary hadn’t had to make the numbers up like I’d done for the previous 12 months and Chris gave me a go batting at 3 at Walsden. I got 70 with the first 20 all scored through 3rd man !!

Favourite game for the club?

I’m lucky to have played in 2 Burton Cup winning teams. The first final in 1996 wasn’t that memorable for reasons later explained. The highlight has to be the 2013 win at Walsden. We’d lost badly the year before in the final against Middleton when I’d dropped a dolly of a catch that could have got us back into the game. At Walsden we’d collapsed and were in big trouble until Rick & Byrnie put on 60 for the last wicket. We then bowled and fielded brilliantly in a game that went all the way to the last over. A great feeling to lift the trophy especially against a team we’d had a lot of close games against in a 2/3 year period. We deserved to win something with that team because for 95% of the season we’d been the best 2nd team in the league winning tight games every week.

Favourite away ground?

Got to be Ashton. I’ve probably had my best days with the bat at Werneth but Ashton always seemed to be more tranquil and secluded than other grounds & I like a ground with a balcony ! The other thing going for Ashton was that it offers great “pit stop” opportunities on the way home including the Dog & Pheasant.

Best Pro you’ve played with or watched?

I played a number 5 or 6 games when Sherwin was pro, having been called up under a bizarre plan to take the shine off the new ball to protect Sherwin & Crossy !!!!!!!!! He impressed me with his ability to switch from off field joker to a committed winner as soon as he got on the field. John Abrahams was great when he was pro as practice nights were as good as I can remember and he knew everyone and went out of his way to speak to everyone. The majority of 1st X1 games I played were in a poor side when Alan Badenhorst was pro, shame he never played in one of our better teams as at times he bowled himself into the ground – normally against Werneth when he wanted to prove he was quicker than Kennedy. However the player I enjoyed watching more than anyone was Andy Flower. Nobody played the sweep shot better than him & the way as a wicketkeeper he learnt to bowl in English conditions was brilliant.

Best amateur you’ve played with?

If its 1st team then its easy as its Crossy, but I’ve not spent that much time in the same team as him. I’ve spent most of my time in the 2nds and either see players as they start off and move onto the 1sts – Steve Kirby, Tommy H, Will P, Crossy and Jack being the best of these or I see players in the twilight of their careers. 2 players stand out there. C Kaye before his 1st team days was as good a batsmen as bowler and contributed every week and since he’s come back to the 2’s he continues to win games for the team and snare the best batsmen. However one person who you knew would always give 100% and make the best of his abilities was GOD – Andy Greenwood. I probably have a rose tinted memory but he was almost certain to get 600 runs a season, come off battered and bruised, throw a comb through his hair and then be at the bar asap.

Best on field memory ?

Rather than best moments these have been some of my funniest moments. Two occurred on tour in Worcester at the same club but in different years. Tom Blundell had been mithering all through our innings that he wanted to bowl. I opened the bowling with him and he went for approx. 24 in the first over, he took his jumper and declared that would do him for the day with Shag looking on in utter disgust. In the 2nd game John Kaye had driven about 5 hours to come and play for us and I was umpiring. He opened the batting and 2nd or 3rd ball snicked off to their keeper, normally in tour games you walk but he was that gutted he stood waiting for a decision and wouldn’t look at me until I fired him. He then kept wicket and second over dived across in front of 1st slip and shelled the catch. He cruised the wasted day with a duck, dropped catch and a 10 hour round trip !! I also remember Scoop hooking Kennedy for 6 at Werneth, a great shot but probably not the wisest move as he then got peppered for the next few overs.

Best off field memory?

This was undoubtedly round and about the time we won the Burton Cup in 1996. We had a great team for 2 or 3 years with some proper characters in it like God, Scoop, Flanny, Tats, Archie, Orange, Crossy Snr and Tangers. We should have won the league that year but for 1st team call ups and every week both on the field and in the bar it was fun to be there. Young lads used to get introduced into the side like Wally and Doggsy and to say it was character building was an understatement. Archie with his guitar post match and debriefs in his parents back garden to the early hours were the norm, with Scoop putting the world to rights !!

I probably can’t finish without mentioning 2 of the most unwanted HCC records I hold. The first being in about 1994 where I was run out 19 times in a season !!! The second being that of the most consecutive ducks by a HCC player in living memory – 10 to be precise ! All started with the first ball of the first preseason game against Bury in 1996 where I was caught behind. Their captain asked me if I wanted to come back in later on but I politely declined. At that time I was opening the batting and proceeded to go game after without troubling the scorers. Things came to a head at the old Unsworth ground in game 7 where I was run out at the none strikers end without scoring and as I walked off a number of ducks flew over the ground causing much merriment to Archie, Flanny and co. At this I went down the order and managed another few failures which meant I didn’t play as big a part in the 96 final as I would have liked but eventually my class shone through!!

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 June 12, 2020  Add comments

  9 Responses to “Crimble Memories – Roger Smethurst”

  1. A very amusing and well written piece Rog that makes great reading.
    Weird that you have chosen the same two favourite grounds as me with exactly same reasons!
    The other thing that stands out is that when you get on a bad trot it really does get bad – I didn’t know about the 10 consecutive ducks that you mention – this on top of the 7/8 in a subsequent season that I recalled in my piece!

  2. Well done,Roger! A great piece from a great servant to the club.Correct me if I am wrong but didn’t you also represent the CLL u18 team with people like Andy Harris,John Henderson etc.?

  3. I have to correct you on the tour story Rog (my tour debut!). It was actually far worse than you recall. I had inflicted a bizarre leg injury upon myself on the drive up to Worcester, which started around 5am….and it was indeed 2nd ball It was a mixture of being stunned and shamed that kept me stood there for your decision. Perhaps I was hoping for some sympathy from an old mate? I did look up in time to see you giving me out, with a wry smile and in true Rudi Koertzen slow death style. At least I can say I was triggered by the Sheriff. Also, the dropped catch was much worse. I didn’t just shell it, I got a finger to it and deflected it straight into Crossy’s gut at some speed. He would have carried a hefty bruise for a week or so as a keepsake. Luckily, I was staying a couple of nights so I drowned my sorrows in Wetherspoons and didn’t have to suffer the indignity of a 5 hour trip back down south. Great times and enjoyed the piece! Top man.

  4. Yes Bob our Under 18′s league side included county players Peter Wilcox, John Henderson, Darren Shadford, Andy Harris & me. Think I was picked for my fielding !!

  5. Jabez Clegg, up there with the Baja Beach Club.

    JK it was fortunate that you deflected it into my derby, it could have been much much worse!

  6. One of life’s nicer people Roge and a club great for his work on and off the pitch.

    Spending my formative teenage years as a 15 & 16 year old in the 2′s with some characters and cranks as Tat’s would say, was an education even Siddall Moor couldn’t facilitate. 2nd team cricket, as others have eluded to in those days was both good, competitive cricket and a brilliant group of people to be around. The friendships and kinship’s built with the likes of Roge at HCC are what makes all this so special. We’re great friends away from the club but without the club none of this would have happened potentially.

    PS – I can’t believe he didn’t tell the story of Bobby bringing him his new shiny pads away at the old Unsworth ground ready for some action……….just as he got out again.

  7. Nice read roger. Can’t believe no one has yet mentioned GODs ‘hardest head in heywood’ boast on the 1996 race trip (one of the great days out). Obviously you can’t mention it yourself but you contributed massively to my favourite season of cricket in 1991. Had one of my best pals at captain of the school team and you captained the 18s brilliantly – not easy as, with any Heywood team, it was full of cranks. The Taylor cup final is one of my most vivid memories (two good teams that day) a game we just fell short in. I still to this day can’t fathom why Kirby opened the batting though! A good team and good times – despite it being A-level year we played every match and practiced and enjoyed it great days.

  8. I think God’s claim was ” hardest head in Lancashire” – which was more appropriate and confrontational as we were in a bar in West Yorkshire.( Brighouse )
    To prove his point, Andy gleefully head butted a brick pillar without flinching, much to the astonishment of the watching throng of Rugby League players.

  9. Excellent read Roge!

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