Looking ahead to a busy season
And a bit of nostalgia as well.
The Fixture List for all teams for the coming season is now taking much better shape. The latest version can be found in the Representative / Excellence section of this site. Some of the details including venues still need finalising but as you will see the programme is an extremely intensive one of which everyone involved can be proud. All the various competitions from school to club to district to league to area have been scheduled and everyone is ready for the off. All we want is some good English summer weather. I have been co-ordinating the various bits of match information to ensure we can produce a detailed fixture card at the start of the season. I am amazed at the amount of cricket that will be played. Almost every day from mid-May to the end of August sees something taking place.
Thursday July 12th looks like a very, very busy day indeed.
It is the reserve date for the Bob Hurst U11 District Quarter Finals. The Under 12 Boys team is away to Nottinghamshire with the Under 13’s engaged in an ECB 40 Overs Cup match against Derbyshire at Leigh. The Under 15 Boys will face Cheshire in their 50 Overs ECB Cup game at Bootle with the Under 17’s entertaining Derbyshire at Southport & Birkdale. The Under 17 Girls complete the list when they travel to play Wales. Without the need to use the reserve date for the Under 11 Competition there will five County Age Group fixtures on that day.
When you sit back and think this really is a major amazing logistical exercise. We do the planning and arranging. The administrators, managers and coaches ensure everyone from players, to parents, to clubs, to groundsmen, to umpires, to tea ladies and to Uncle Tom Cobbly and all, know exactly what to do. When I look ahead at the vast array of fixtures, competitions and other happenings I sometimes wonder whether it will all really happen. We tend to forget as well that apart from being involved with the county programme all our young players are also playing for their schools, cricket clubs, districts, areas and even higher.
For this sort of thing to work, and to work well, you often need to have some very special people. Over my years with Lancashire Cricket at whatever level I have come across some quite amazing characters. I refer to quite a few of these in my epistle about Lancashire Schools. There are others who I came across in my playing days. Cricket friendships are some of the best you can have, and I always try to encourage the youngsters who find themselves playing at the highest levels to always remember those who have helped them on the way.
It is always gratifying to meet up with past players and to hear what they have to say about their time in the junior ranks. One person whose name tends to crop up in any conversation is that of Derek Day.
The very first Schoolboy County Cricket match was played in 1930 between Lancashire and Yorkshire. The School Leaving Age at this time was 14, and the teams were therefore Under 14. The very first Manager was Mr J.H. Dyson. He was followed in 1947 by Jim Denney. He was still Manager when in 1959 the School Leaving Age was raised to 15. The age group for County Schools Cricket was also raised to Under 15. This is where it remains today. The School Leaving Age of today dates from 1972. At that time we decided not to increase the age group for County teams.
Derek Day succeeded Jim Denney in 1960. He remained Under 15 Manager until the season of 2001 – 41 years. Prior to that date he had been on the LSCA Executive and helped to select the North Lancashire team for the Annual game with the South at Old Trafford. Many famous Lancastrians will remember him. Indeed many famous non-Lancastrians will remember him as during his spell as Manager of the Lancashire Under 15’s he also spent 25 years as Manager of the England Schools Under 15 team.
Derek is no longer with us now in person but his beliefs and experience most certainly still runs through Lancashire Schools like a stick of Blackpool Rock.
In my last Blog I mentioned to you that we ought to ask the Neville Family if they remember Fillongley Cricket Club in Warwickshire. Well here is a picture of Derek and his good friend Bob Stamp taken at that very same cricket club.
The Neville Family will remember this as it was the first time, and I believe the only time, that both Gary as an Under 15 and his brother, Philip as an Under 13, played together for Lancashire. Fillongley was a little village club in the middle of rural Warwickshire. We had the luxury in those days of having coach travel provided for certain fixtures by the County Club. We had one on this occasion which having located the ground along narrow country lanes had to be backed into a farmer’s field once the boys and the families travelling with us had got off.
We were well entertained and I am pleased to say won comfortably. After saying our goodbyes to the Warwickshire folk we discovered we had a problem, or rather a couple. Firstly the field in which the coach had been parked was now full of cattle, and secondly the coach would not start. We had discovered something during the day which the “Elf & Safety” bods of today would have gone bananas about. The Cricket Club did not have a telephone. Our driver was about to head off to the nearby village when Big Nev (Mr Neville Neville) pulled a huge mobile phone out of his car. These were the ones that looked like house bricks. Nev was then working in the Commercial Office at Gigg Lane and needed one. Ah But – we were in the middle of Rural Warwickshire – and he had no signal. He was just about to set off to find a hot spot when the coach groaned into life. The driver appeared somewhat flushed and urged us on the coach. The groaning of the coach had frightened the herd of cows which had shot off to the other side of the field. We climbed aboard and set off back to Lancashire shadowed by Big Nev to ensure we made it back to Old Trafford.
Seeing the picture of Bob reminds me of something very important to mention. In 1922 the Lancashire Schools Cricket Association first saw the light of day. Guess who else also saw the light of day in the same year – Mr Robert Stamp. Saturday June 30th is the great day - two 90th's in one year.
1922 was certainly a vintage year.
Whilst digging around for the above I found a couple of others that you may find interesting.
The year was 1991.
MESSRS WADSWORTH AND ECCLES
MESSRS PRENDERGAST AND HEATON
I cannot conclude this latest Blog of mine without berating you about getting your orders in for the Book of the Season. You know the differing ways. We are heading towards our target at which we can press the green light with the printer – but we need a few more now. When you have finished reading this go back to the Home Page and click on my button.
Our endeavours to persuade a top name to come along to our big game on Monday May 21st are beginning to look good. My next Blog might be one where I can reveal all.
Could it be, could it be >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I told you we could not get him to take his Lancashire cap off
It’s all getting very exciting.
Time for one of those Moments.
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It is always an achievement for a school or a cricket club to have one of their number represent the county of Lancashire but this year St Thomas C of E Primary School in Ashton-in-Makerfield and Newton Le Willows Cricket Club have more than good reason to be doubly proud. ... Full story