OUR ARTICLE ON CRICKET IN SUMMER 'LOCAL PAST' REMINDS MR.D. MALIN OF Bidford OF PAST EXPLOITS
I played local cricket for 30 years - for Salford Priors, Alcester & Ragley and Exhall & Wixford: and also umpired for a number of years. I have played on most of the pitches in Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, some of which pleaded for improvement. I have played among hay bales, sheep, horses and cows; matches have been stopped for swarms of bees, snow, fog, a fire and even two rams fighting.
I once umpired to the bowling of the great Eric Hollies, played with Ray Hitchcock and Peter Cranmer and umpired with Freddie Gardner. (Editor: Eric Hollies of Warks. and England eventually famous for bowling Don Bradman for a duck in 1948 on the Don's last innings against England)
I've seen some amusing incidents:
- a player fielding at deep midwicket appealed for LBW and got a frosty look from the umpire: when he later came into bat he asked the same umpire for leg stump: said the umpire 'From where I'm standing or from where you appealed for .LBW?' (Edit: Perhaps only cricketers will understand that one)
- In a local match the opening batsman struggled to 50, although my fellow umpire turned down some very close appeals: at the end of the innings, as customary, I walked back to the pavilion with the other umpire; he said, 'Didn't my son bat well?'
- I had a memorable experience at Ebrington I batted for an hour and 55 minutes for nine runs and when I was out the late Bill Payne (Ned Larkins of 'The Archers') gave me an autographed photograph.
- the late Bill Mason of Exhall, who played well into his 70s, was a slow bowler as cunning as a fox. I remember once the opening bat a college Student, hit a quick 50; was good and knew it Bill said o our captain, 'Let's have a couple of overs' The batsman's mind you could read 'I'll soon get a few off this old fellow?. Bill placed a man in the deep and third ball the batsman hit the ball straight down his throat
- In another incident, I remember fielding at deep mid-wicket; the number four batsman had just got off the mark when he hit the ball towards me as they turned for the third run my return hit the wicket and number four was out An old spectator looked with disbelief, then said to me 'Young man, you've spoilt the bloody match'.
- In a Salford against Lenches match we had the interesting combination 'Sparrow c.Partridge b.Crowe'
It is sad to say that many of the small village teams have folded up but I really enjoyed my playing days.
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© Alcester & District Local History Society 1990