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Lancashire Cricket Board - What a great evening and surprise
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What a great evening and surprise

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Mind you if anyone else says why could I not manage to do 50 !!!!!!

That was always a problem when I played the game – getting past 50 that is. There is never a perfect time to say enough is enough because inevitably if you have gone on as long as I have then someone will always say give us another year.


The way I feel at the moment with my gout still giving me some stick and with just one LSCA Executive Meeting and the AGM to go, I am absolutely convinced that I made the right decision at the right time. Last Thursday was a big night for me as I joined my good friend John Stanworth for as he put it the final appearance of the “Two Johnnies”. I was delighted to see so many people present and was anxious to ensure my bit for the evening went off without a hitch. I feel confident that I did OK.  I then sat down for the proceedings to continue as planned.


My gast then became flabbered.


I wondered whether there would be any special things planned for my last Presentation Evening. I was hoping I may be able to sneak away quietly. Not so. As I sat down to rest my throbbing big right toe, Mike Watkinson waxed lyrical and presented me with the biggest fruit bowl you have ever seen. My good friend the Mighty Titch then passed me a bag which had the Apple symbols on. That did bring a big smile to my face as I reckoned I knew what was in there. The applause then started – and went on, and on and on. I have been asked if I felt emotional. Well I was saying to myself “If they keep on going like this then all my efforts to remain cool, calm and unruffled will collapse.” Thankfully Mike gained control and suggested we all had a ten minute break. I remained on the platform for no reason other than to ensure my inner calm remained  – plus my exit down the steps with an incapacitated right toe would have been seriously embarassing.


I am pleased to say that the Waterford Glass very large fruit bowl was seriously engraved and will find a place in our house. I suspect at some stage we will sneak it out once when the Heaton, Noone, Higham and other ex-U13 families gather. Mind you it will take an awful amount of fruit and Pimms to fill it. Sophie set up the iPad Mini for me on Saturday and I eventually got on it proper today. I must be honest I had been dropping hints about iPad’s and when Winker handed me the bowl I though “Ugh” – the mighty Titch won through however.


As we move towards the season of 2013 becoming just memories there is still one big occasion left. Next Monday (September 16th) Ribble Valley U15’s will play West Lancs U15’s in the Ainsworth Trophy Final at the Emirates Old Trafford. The County Club are pushing out the works to make this a day to remember for all the boys, officials and parents involved. The boys will change in the new Players Centre, have practice in designated areas, will see their names on the electronic scoreboard, hear Matt Procter announce their names as they go out to bat on the wicket used in the Ashes Test. How brilliant will that be? The parents and friends will be able to slum it in the new Pavilion with talk of extra-special facilities.


Looking back at my last Blog as the season was entering its final lap I did refer to some upcoming games. The first of these was to be the Bob Hurst U11 District Final between Bury and Wigan at Newton le Willows on Tuesday 27th August. Well I must say the club did us proud setting up a glorious day of cricket with a crowd that most clubs would have been mighty proud of. I managed to get there and was ready for the presentation when a call from Number One Son set in train a series of manoeuvres across Lancashire to Darwen where I watched Sophie play for Darwen Ladies against Clitheroe Ladies scoring 35 runs. The Sage of Merseyside, Eric Linford deputised for me at Newton handing the Bob Hurst Trophy to Bury. That was a splendid occasion and many thanks to Newton le Willows for all their efforts and to the players, officials and parents for their support.


Next in line was the first U13 Northern Counties Cup Final at Fleetwood Hesketh between Lancashire and Cheshire. I was not there on this occasion but more about that in a short while. I had been instrumental in getting this competition underway after the ECB pulled the plug on their U13 version in favour of friendly matches. Five other counties had joined in with us and we played it as a League with the top two involved in the Final. I had managed to persuade the English Schools Cricket Association to support this venture financially and through the Secretary, Ken Lake, they jumped at it. Our Chairman, Dennis Houghton, had agreed to look after things and I am delighted to say that Lancashire were the winners. It just also happened that our President, Jack Simmons, was present and he handed over the trophy. All those who took part felt this was a “good idea”. I am hoping that this will blossom even further in 2014.


The following day saw the Hacking Cup U13 Final take place at Leigh CC between Bury and Ribble Valley. Again I relied on Eric Linford to look after things on the day as we were elsewhere. I did arrange for the match balls, medals and Hacking Cup to be delivered. The delivery boy was instructed by his grandma to bring the trophy back. I am delighted to say he did just that as Bury emerged as Hacking Cup winners for 2013. Mind you what Thomas did not know was that he would have brought the trophy home anyway win or lose – it is far too valuable to let out across Lancashire and is in fact now safely at home in the Emirates Old Trafford lock up.


Where were we at the moment Thomas collected the trophy for Bury from the Sage of Merseyside – we were in fact at the Home of Cricket – Lords’. When my good friend, Ken Lake, Secretary of the English Schools, heard of my impending retirement he invited myself and the good lady to the Lords Cricket Ground for the annual MCC Schools v ESCA shindig on Monday September 2nd, and the Celebration Dinner in the Long Room that followed. Not for the first time this summer I got in touch with Lenny Henry and booked us in at one of his hotels for the Sunday and Monday. Now my little tootsie was still inflamed and we had to organise things carefully. We had a great day in the company of David English in his box in the Tavern at Lords. The ESCA team had three Lancastrians in Harry Dearden, Haseeb Hameed and Saqib Mahmood. All three did very well indeed and impressed the LCCC Head Coach who was there watching his son keep wicket for ESCA. Harry, bless him, was run out on 94. What an amazing experience for everyone. David English knows everyone and everybody and is a world expert in extracting large sums of money with the help of his Bunbury’s. The liquid refreshment was top notch and the company good right on into the evening and dinner in the Long Room. I did not really get chance to thank Ken at the end of the evening but did see our three Lancashire lads – who were not staying at a Lenny Henry hostelry but at some posh five star hotel in Mayfair. I bet the owner of that hotel company went to a Bunbury match in the summer and got hooked by David English and a glass or two of Pimms and hence the ESCA team got the rooms at his hotel. Just to finish on our day at Lords – one of David’s guests was the Boss Technician on the film “Titanic”. Another is pictured below. His socks were MCC. I wonder if his boxer shorts were as well.


We are moving ever quicker to the time when I will need to answer the question I have been asked more than any other this summer. “What on earth are you going to do with your time”.


I really do not have an answer as yet.


Any help out there ????


I could become a professional blogster and appear on Sky News when they review the papers.


I could offer to help Tesco with their Moments.


I could go on a cruise to begin with, and that is what lies not too far ahead. Mind you we have booked with Cunard again but with their Getaway Promotion you only get to know the cabin you are in a few days before departure. We are going on the ship which had a fairly well known celebrity go upstairs just recently. I do not suppose we will get his cabin as it would have been in the Queens Grill section of the ship. As I finish writing this Blog and before posting it on the website I will again check the Cunard Website to see if we have been allocated said cabin.


Thank you to everyone who was at the Presentation Evening in the Point last Thursday. There are some memories that live on with you and that is certainly up with the best.


To avoid getting emotional reach for the Tesco.


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