|Accrington Cricket Club|
I have spent many happy hours on your website over the last couple of days. Once again, I have to say how very impressive it really is!
As a child a lived at 19 Lime Road, Accrington. Our next-door neighbours (21 Lime Road) were Derek and Alison Rushton. One of my earliest recollections is of talking to Wes Hall over the garden wall (when he was Accrington's pro) in the early 1960's.
Many names from my childhood came flooding back:
Geoff Hayhurst, your President, who lived next-door-but one to my grandfather at 66 Lime Road. He was a very fine batsman.
Russ Cuddihy, who I saw play the most amazing innings against Burnley CC in about 1970. He took apart Harold Rhodes the former Derbyshire and England fast bowler, of the controversial action.
Lindon Dewhurst, both Senior and Junior. Both batsmen well worth watching, but of very different styles.
Malcolm Taylor, Andy Kennedy and John Swanney; young batsmen who were just beginning to make their marks.
Brian Rutter, who I once saw hit Dennis Lillee back over his head for six at Bentgate when the great Australian was the young Haslingden professional. (Brian's father, Frank Rutter, was not a player himself, but was a stalwart Accrington supporter. The only trouble was that he tended to let his enthusiasm overflow and his shouted comments from the boundary edge could be quite acerbic. I recall once in 1970, Bruce Francis playing a forceful innings in pursuit of a challenging total, but he was not scoring fast enough for Frank. After much grumbling the words, "I could hit it harder wi a stick o rhubarb", floated across Accrington cricket ground. The source; Frank Rutter!) Brian himself could always be relied upon to "Get on wi it".
Terry Neville, who taught me at Holy Family Secondary School as it was in those days. I was surprised at just how good his record was in a relatively short 1st XI career. It did not surprise me that Jack Collier's record stands out above all other stumpers in the club's history. He really was a class act!
Alan Worsick and Ian Birtwistle were already mainstays of the Accrington attack when I went away to college in 1970. It is wonderful, 32 years on, to see their fantastic achievements. I remember Ian Birtwistle taking 5 for 9 against Rishton at Rishton in 1968. The Accrington pro, Graham Corling, who could not bat and was a mediocre fielder, spent the season beating the bats of every player in the League, but unfortunately found it more difficult to take wickets. Anyway, that day in Rishton, he was sent round with the collection box for Ian Birtwistle (pros didn't do collections for amateurs in those days). As he approached the part of the ground where I was sitting, he was heard to say, "Ian Birtwistle, 5 for 9, please. Figures I dream of". Like a shot one of the Accrington wags responded with, "Tha wants tu stop bloody dreaming!".
The third prong in the Accrington attack in that Worsley Cup winning season of 1970 was Eddie Robinson; a very fine bowler. Did any cricketer ever wear his cap at a jauntier angle? He was also a very clean striker of the ball.
Alan Richardson and Bobby Ratcliffe were, promising youngsters who had not yet made the mark they were destined to make.
I could go on, but work beckons!
I must just mention that I noticed as well, Martin Whittle. His father and I are also second cousins; his great-grandfather (Martin Stanton) and my grandmother (Nellie Stanton) were brother and sister.
Also, I noticed on your website that William Henry Cronshaw was involved in the Club in the early days. It says that he, among others, devoted much time to preparing the new ground at Thorneyholme Road. William Henry was Richard Robert's eldest brother, a schoolmaster; he ran a private school which was located behind the Town Hall.
I will write again with other recollections some time in the future.