May 302020

Steve Wallwork was another player who, like Rob Slawson, came into the side in the late 90′s at a time when the club was in some difficulty. From those early challenges came a great spell throughout the 2000′s and fittingly Steve was in the middle with another Heywood lad, Chris Kaye, to guide the team home to the league win that sealed the 2006 double. He looks back on his memories of playing at the club:

Stephen and Chris Kaye leave field after the victory that sealed the 2006 league title

Stephen and Chris Kaye leave field after the victory that sealed the 2006 league title

What do you remember of your Heywood debut?

I came into the first team off the back of the Burton Cup win for the 2nds in 1996. At just 16 it felt like a big step. I’d had a couple of years in the 2nds and loved the dressing room spirit and was sad to be moving up. The banter in the 2nds was brilliant and a great set of lads to be around. I did a lot of growing up thanks to those guys. God, V.D Ball, Archie, Flanny, Tats, Crossy Snr, Scoop, Roger. A lot of the time I’d travel to away games with Flanny and Archie, Flanny would drive and Archie would be playing the guitar belting out some numbers. Every time I hear the Oasis song ‘Cast No Shadow’, I think of those days. Vinny was a nightmare in the changing room with his antics and I’ll never forget Crossy Snr and his famous sock test. If they didn’t stick to the wall when he threw them then they were good for another wear. In later years Bobby’s kit also proved to be wretched. It was also at this time I started to buy a Sunday paper.

I knew though that playing first team cricket was what it was all about and I was always keen to get involved after witnessing the Wood Cup win in 1993. When I got in the first team Mr Badenhorst was Pro and I quickly learnt the role of ‘Team youth’ I didn’t have a choice being honest. Looking back I had it pretty tough but I wouldn’t change a thing. I can’t remember if it was my actual debut, if not it was one of my first few games at Stockport away. Bardy was bowling and I dropped a catch at mid-off. He tore me a new one for about 20 mins…..and then after the game. I think he still mentioned it to me at training the following Tuesday.

What was your favourite game for Heywood and why?

I was lucky to play in the teams that had such a good run in the Wood Cup over 5/6 years. The memories of final day from start to finish are some of my fondest. The final of 2006 against Rochdale at Middleton is my favourite game though. Why? Well I always enjoyed playing against Rochdale, the crowd was large and it was one of the rare occasions that I lasted longer than an over in the middle. I managed to bat for a while with Bobby through an important stage of the game. It was also the game where a young Tom Hardman came in and scored the winning runs in the last over. Great memories and 2006 then became the double winning year.

What was your favourite away ground?

Tough to single out one really. I enjoyed different grounds for different reasons. I liked Walsden and Ashton due the view you have of the game from the dressing room balconies as I spent most of the game there. I liked Middleton as the wicket was always good but never used it. I liked Stockport and Werneth due to the character of their club houses. Littleborough away was always a good trip too. Most away day grounds though were judged on the quality of the pit stops on the way home.

Best professional you played with and against?

I was lucky to play with and against some very good professionals over the years. Ruvin Peiris was up there, also a lovely bloke. I don’t think I ever saw any pro hit a straight drive as well as Lou Vincent did against us and Asif Mujtaba has to get a mention for his consistency over 10 years up at Norden. Mike Warden from Stand in the early days. Wayne Madsen at Unsworth.

My favourite to play with without question was Sherwin. His international career speaks for itself. We first encountered him when he played for Cleethorpes in a pre-season friendly. I couldn’t believe our luck when I heard he was to play for us the following year. I can’t speak highly enough of Sherwin, what he brought to the club and to us as a team was absolute work hard, play hard mentality. No matter how hard he played, his work on the field was always 100%. I don’t know how after some of the nights out we had, used to take me 3 days to get over them. He was incredible to watch. The time that Sherwin was at the club was my most enjoyable playing for Heywood. Obviously the success we had helps but it was the way in which it was done. I genuinely think in that double winning season not a single player missed a training session or game and most if not every weekend we would socialise together after the game. A proper team spirit.

Best amateur you played with and against?

Being at the club from the age 9 or 10 years old meant that I played a lot of my cricket with my friends. Playing through all age groups at the club and enjoying lots of first team success with the lads I first started out with so I have to be biased and they need a mention. Dogsy, Bobby, Will….It was nice to be in Cup/League winning teams with these lads, all of whom were very good league cricketers. But others I must mention are Steve Kirby, Jonny Shaw, Roycie, Cheets, Tom Hardman and all very good players. I have people who I looked up to when I first got in the first team like David Fare, Mark Wright, Chris Kaye, John Kaye again all very high standard league cricketers and great blokes. It was comforting at a young age having these guys in the team supporting you.

Against it was probably those who frustrated me the most when we played. John Punchard, Mel Whittle spring to mind. Both had great records and had a knack of getting under the skin of the opposition. Good competitors.

Best memory on the field?

Every minute of the Wood Cup finals can’t beaten, just enjoyable from start to finish. The day Bobby decided that was the end of my bowling career. Had a bit of tap in my first couple of overs one afternoon and was taken off. Said I had the yips, never bowled a ball in a game again.. Throwing the ball in from the deep and hitting Clive Ellis on the head and there was an umpire that always had flatulence.

Best memory off the field?

Changing room banter is first, fines after the game and then celebrating whilst we were on a good run. We did some steady drinking whilst Sherwin was at the club but to be fair we were quite good at it already. I remember us all carrying on the following day in the Queen Anne after a win. I had a serious hangover and shouldn’t have gone out but still did. I was almost asleep when I arrived but definitely was after 2 pints of Guinness. They had comfy couches in there at the time which did the job perfectly. What was strange though is I woke up in Jonny Shaw’s attic with a cat on my chest. Always enjoyed the perfectly planned Race Trips too.

I was lucky, lucky to be a part of such a fantastic club. The great memories of my time at HCC will stay with me for many reasons. It was a huge part of my life. Everyone who has experienced a sunny afternoon at probably the best ground in league cricket will understand what I mean. It’s an honour to share so many memories with so many fantastic people.

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 May 30, 2020  Add comments

  3 Responses to “Crimble Memories – Stephen Wallwork”

  1. A great article from Steve – sums up the comradery and banter that you have with your team mates that we can all relate to with success on the field thrown in too – the epitome of why we play the game.

  2. Steve. You forgot about your face wipe with my wet, smelly,chamois leather, inner gloves. The stunt you fell for every game !

  3. Great read Bandsaw. I remember your early games in the 1s as a bowler….before things tailed off in that department. I watched you and Chris knock off the runs to clinch the league in 2006. Great memories and very fitting.

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