Brocklesby Park Cricket Club

PLAYERS GALORE

Keith has more catchings and stumpings at the moment, than anyone in the club, and,has also scored more than 8,000 runs, a far cry from the callow youth of thirty years ago. He is also one of the few who has had sons to follow him, which means he knows all about Mark Twain's ditty, "When I was sixteen, my old man was so stupid, I could hardly bear to have him around, but by the time I was twenty one, I was surprised how much he had learned."

Another recruit was Bernard Vaughan, another Brigg Grammar boy; a useful W K Batsman, who had the unusual distinction of living in Brocklesby. His father played occasionally, and was the clerk of the works to the estate; the only members to live in Brocklesby until Phil.

Another Brigg Grammar boy who was most impressive was David Rose, who only played 21 innings with an average of 24.5, including a century in a twenty overs match, and a six onto the roof of Grimsby pavilion in the first over of a knockout match.

One of our more recent members was John Henderson, a very good lefthanded chap, so much so that he writes upside down. A very good opening bowler, and a long handle man with the bat, he is also a good fielder anywhere, and was yet another player from Brigg Grammar.

Later we had Josh White, one of our best ever recruits. He has scored nearly 16,000 runs, with over a hundred innings of fifty or more, which includes nine centuries with an average of 33.69 and a highest score of 156. Mike Featherstone would be about level with him, had he not arrived six years later, for he has a batting average of 37.94, almost 11,000 runs, and 7 centuries.

Other recruits were Dave Foster, Stuart Trevor, Val Jeffrey, Tim Robinson, Graham Mumby, Jim Clark, Dominic Stamp, Jeff Hutchinson, Andrew Page, Dick Moore, and later John Brumby. All thirteen of these were good hard hitting bats and seven of them could bowl, which helped the all round strength of the team. Matthew Robinson showed this to Horncastle when he scored 171 in an afternoons batting. This was a new club record since W.W.II. There have been 28 centuries since 1949.

One of our later recruits, Jeff Hutchinson, has done particularly well, having come as a bowler, but scoring centuries on successive Sundays. In the last two years we have gained Bill Yates and Tim Hartley. Tim finished his first season with a batting average of 87.67; Bill a modest 33.8; how we would have welcomed a batsman as modest as Bill forty years ago! Charles Lloyd was only with us for two seasons as a student at Pimlico, but he scored 717 runs at an average of 26.55 and took 41 wickets at an average of 8.88, all of which he did with great gusto.

We have 77 batsmen who have scored between 150 and 900 runs, but only 30 who have scored over a thousand. Altogether, there are 296 batsmen who have gone to the crease, but not many with success. By a coincidence, we have only 28 bowlers who have taken 100 wickets.

The members who did a great deal to get the club back on it's feet after the - War were Percy Winn, Dennis Wicks, Charlie Turner, Jim Robinson, Bernard Clayton, Bill Hoyle, Pat Lancaster, Harry Dale, Kees van den Bos and Chris Riggal. Kees was the first batsman to score 10,000 runs, as well as being a reluctant wicket-keeper. Other members who helped to get the club started again were John Greetham, John Atkinson, John M Davey (Horkstow), and Charlie Irvine.

Our main problem was, as it is now, that we all live so far from the ground. Bernard Clayton was a useful all rounder who opened the batting and the bowling, whilst Bill Hoyle was Hon. Sec., and made 1,145 runs and took 43 slip catches. Unfortunately, they both left us in 1957.

As usual, and things haven't altered at all in this direction, we were very short of money, so we organised a dance at the Angel Hotel in 1953. This, combined with a raffle, made a total of about £60, which in those days would buy ten cricket bats, first grade, so this put us in clover. However, we seemed to manage to run functions at various places until 1959, then we had a coffee party in 1964, which made £60 ( the coffee was 60% proof). We had a summer dance in 1967, and barn dances in 1971, and 1972, when we failed to burn John Greetham's barn by a short fag end. All these were great successes and kept our heads above water, but we still suffer from a creeping overdraft, and no doubt we shall cry for funds again soon.

It was pleasant to talk to probably our oldest surviving member: Edgar Lidgett1, who played both before and after the War. He is now a very sprightly 90, and lives alone in a spick and span house in Limber. He came to Brocklesby in 1924, being elevated to head-keeper. His son Harry also played. Also in happy retirement in Keelby are the Clarks, who cut the ground and did the teas, which were 1/- in the 1930's. Harry Clark cut the golf course with a horse, and the outfield with a 30 inch Atco.

Edgar was called up, early in the War, and manned the big guns in the Straits of Dover.

One player with a unique record was Bob Hornby, who played in morning dress after John Greetham's wedding. He went into bat at 11 for 9.

E W Swanton said in 1982 in the Daily Telegraph: "Fifty years ago, this very day, was enacted the climax of the whole sorry business of English bowling tactics of 1932-33, which became known as the bodyline.

Intimidation remains the greatest evil in the game, and until the bowler is required to pitch the ball beyond a certain line, with stern penalties for infringement, hateful though such a prospect may be, so it will remain." In withering condemnation, Mark Nicholas says that, "Cricket was not meant to be a game of intimidation or violence, and an International body that encourages the use of two bouncers an over is risking the misguided education of another generation."

The great batsman and comic, Patsy Hendren, who scored 57,000 runs, preempted the safety helmet by going out to bat against Larwood and Voce in a motor bike helmet, at least fifty years before his time. He also did the same to the light meter, when going out to bat holding a burning copy of the Times aloft, when the umpires refused to suspend play in gloomy conditions.

It is indeed unfortunate that in our class of cricket, that we do not meet many bowlers who are fast or dangerous enough to need lines marked on a good length; but we did have a Grimsby knockout match when the opposition walked off after one of their batsmen was hit by a ball from John Cuthbert. This was in bad light and the batsman walked down the wicket to John, who had bad eyesight. The ball laid the batsman out and the opposing captain refused to continue, or shake hands, and still refused when he met our captain at a petrol pump the next morning.

It seemed that by withdrawal of Larwood, (self-inflicted) and the virtual ostracism of Jardine, plus the banning of short legs, that this was the end of what the Australians had dubbed the Bodyline. But why should it be illegal to bowl to four of five short legs and knock a batsman out, and legal to knock him out bowling to three slips and a gully? It seems strange that Larwood took 78 wickets in 21 tests at an average of 28.35, whilst Tyson took 76 wickets in 17 tests, average 18.56. As Richie Benaud said, "There may have been a bowler as fast as Tyson, but there certainly wasn't one any faster."

In 1994, we had a very medium attack at Brocklesby, but they seemed to take wickets. Gone are the days when we started P Burbidge, Cuthbert, Oram, Greetham, Henderson. This attack hardly needed three spinners to clean up after them, but the handicap of this team, in the 1950's and 60's, was that they had to make a lot of their own runs, and just one or two of today's batsmen would have made life easier and more successful, for it was almost unheard of to declare 200 for 4.


  1. See Authors note and Memories of Wilf Gill

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