1973: A trip down Lowerhouse Lane

1973 saw Britain, along with Denmark and the Irish Republic, join the E.E.C., or the Common Market as it was widely called. On the wider international front the United States had to come to terms with North Vietnam, thus saying goodbye to Saigon.   In the film world ‘The Godfather’ just outdid ‘Cabaret’ at the Oscars and Roger Moore took over from Sean Connery as James Bond.  In the British pop charts Slade had 3 No 1’s beating Wizard who’s ‘See my Baby Jive’ was one of 2 chart toppers. Teenyboppers liked Gary Glitter and we now know it was mutual admiration. The surprize smash hit was Simon Park’s Orchestra’s instrumental ‘Eye Level’. This was the theme tune to the T.V. series ‘Van der Valk’ in which Barry Foster played an Amsterdam detective.

1973 was a good year for the birth of sportsmen. ‘The Wall'(Rahul Dravid) and Sean Pollock, footballers Ryan Giggs and Chris Sutton, and Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich, came into the world in ’73.  We did lose, though, Lyndon B.Johnson , the former U.S. President as well as some who went before their time; Betty Grable with her famous legs; martial arts star Bruce Lee; and that great barefoot marathon runner Abebe Bikila.

In the Lancashire League of 1973 Clive Rice was in his only season as Ramsbottom’s pro, while Duncan Carter was in the last of his 4 seasons in the League, his second with the ‘House.

CLIVE RICE was born in Johannesburg in 1949. Even more so than his very talented compatriots, Barry Richards and Mike Procter, Rice suffered greatly in international terms by the apartheid ban on his native South Africa. By the time the ban was lifted he was 42 years of age, and although he did play 3 O.D.I.’s, he was discarded as past his best. At that best he was a supreme all-round cricketer. His main club was Nottinghamshire C.C.C. where he scored most of his 26,000 first class runs including 48 hundreds. As a medium-fast bowler he took 930 wickets. Add to this his ability in one day cricket and his shrewd, often ruthless captaincy, and you have a player for the ages. Nott’s success was largely built on their opening bowlers, Sir Richard Hadlee, Rice and, briefly, Franklin Stephenson. They were County Champions in 1981 and 1987.

DUNCAN CARTER was born in Barbados in 1939. It was unfortunate for him that the competition for places in his island side was so high. Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith and Keith Boyce headed the pecking order and limited Carter to just one first class game. This was in 1965 versus an International Cavaliers Eleven. His 3 victims were good ones though, Roy Marshall (for a duck) Colin Cowdrey and John Hampshire. Duncan was pro at Burnley in ’65 and ’66. The first year was his best in the Lancashire League taking 94 victims at 11. His yorker was particularly dangerous and he often softened batters up with a few short pitched deliveries. Carter would have got more acclaim at Turf Moor but his 2 seasons were bookended by a certain Charlie Griffith. Carter joined Lowerhouse in 1972 and took 65 wickets at 11. As a batsmen he was fairly correct rather than a slogger and looked, at least to my untutored eye, like he should score more heavily than he did. On a good day he got into the twenties and got out. Most of Duncan’s other years in this country were spent north of the border. When he died aged 68 in 2008, his last club, Dunfermline, credited him as revitalising cricket in the town, after joining them in 1978. It was while at Dunfermline that a knee injury ended his cricketing career in the summer of 1981. Like a fellow revitaliser, Stan Heaton, Carter became a police detective back home in Barbados.   In 1973 Ramsbottom had a great year and finished second in the Lancashire League standings to East Lancs. Lowerhouse finished eleventh.  Rice had 531 runs at 28 and 66 wickets at 13. Carter’s 79 wickets was the highest by any bowler that year. Some said there was a slight ridge on ‘House pitches and Carter was an ideal bowler to exploit it.

The head-to-heads occurred on 19 May at Liverpool Rd and 7 July at Acre Bottom. In the first game ‘House were bowled out for 101.

Tony Benneworth got 50 of those but was one of Rice’s 7 victims (for 45 runs). Rammy got home with 7 wickets in hand, Rice getting 50 not out. In the reverse fixture Lowerhouse did a little better reaching 125 all out. Rice wasn’t a big factor taking 1-39. Mick Swift top scored with 40. You can’t keep a good man down and Rice dominated Rammy’s reply with 74 not out in a 5 wicket victory. Looking at these 2 matches, the ‘House would have been glad that Clive Rice was having his first and his last season in the League. To sum up, although Rice was obviously the superior player, both of them could have achieved a great deal more if born in a different place and time. Carter getting far more games for Barbados and Rice being a big factor in international competition. C’est la vie!