1986: A Trip down Lowerhouse Lane

2011 sees the silver anniversary of the year of 1986. (How quickly time passes.) Both the old superpowers had problems in this year. The Challenger Space Shuttle exploded, killing 7 astronauts and 1986 was the year of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, Soviet Union. Football fans will always remember “the hand of God” whereby a stronger than average English World Cup challenge was ended. Fans of the Boston Red Sox also felt cheated as they came agonisingly close to ending a 68 year World Series drought. 1986 saw the Marcos family, including Imelda’s vast shoe collection, thrown out of the Philippines. Actresses Megan Fox and Lindsay Lohan were born in this year. Notable departures included Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy; Gordon MacRae of Carousel; Wallis Simpson of the 1930’s abdication crisis; Pat Phoenix of Corrie; Cary Grant, the suave Bristol-born actor and Harold MacMillan, who had recently warned his old party about selling the family silver. Is it really 25 years since the Pet Shop Boys (West End Girls) Chris de Burgh (Lady in Red) Berlin (Take My Breath Away) and Madonna (True Blue) all topped the singles charts. In the Lancashire League of 1986 Tony Dodemaide was in his only season at Lowerhouse and Mudasser Nazar, in his sixth of the nine seasons, he spent at Turf Moor. MUDASSER NAZAR was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1956. His father had played Test cricket and he, himself, went on to play in 76 Tests, starting in Adelaide in 1976 and finishing in Auckland in 1989. He scored over 4000 runs including 10 centuries. The first and most famous, was in his home city, on England’s tour to Pakistan in 1978. It was the slowest hundred ever in Tests and it is surprising now that Test cricket is less fashionable, that crowds rolling up to watch the local hero’s snore-inducing innings , topped 50,000. Mud, as he became known in League circles, also played 122 O.D.I.’s, but never scored a hundred in that form. Playing Lancashire League certainly helped improve Mudasser’s bowling. He took 66 Test wickets (once famously going through an embarrassed English order) and 111 wickets in O.D.I.’s. For Burnley Mud was a model of consistency and an all-round model pro. His bowling was more than useful but his trademark was his consistent batting. He never believed in putting the ball in the air unnecessarily or throwing his wicket away. At Lowerhouse we celebrated wildly if we got him before he’d settled in, such as when Roger Bromley got him with a perfectly pitched out-swinger one afternoon. In all Mud got over 7000 runs and 400 wickets for the Turfites.

His best year for both batting and bowling was 1984. (1160 runs and 70 wickets.) No wonder they kept signing the bugger! TONY DODEMAIDE was born in Melbourne in 1963. He played for Lowerhouse in ’86, and disappointed some of his friends at the ‘House, such as Brian Holmes, by signing for arch-rivals East Lancs in 1992. His international career started brightly but petered out earlier than most expected. He played 10 Tests, taking 34 wickets at 28.He took 6–58 on his Test debut versus New Zealand. Tony played 24 O.D.I.’s and was the first bowler in this form of the game to take 5 wickets on debut. This was against Sri Lanka. Uniquely Dodemaide’s first 4 Tests were all against different countries. He later had 3 successful seasons at Sussex C.C.C. For the ‘House, Dodemaide is high up on my list of favourite past pros. Unlike some of his countrymen, he was a polite and modest person. He was a real trier of a fast bowler taking 94 wickets for Lowerhouse in 1986. Only John Maguire at Church and Winston Davies at Rishton had more wickets that season. He didn’t shirk a high workload and a fair description of his attitude was that he was a pro equivalent of Jez Hope. He wasn’t the most natural batsman but fought his way to 570 League runs in ’86. Dodemaide’s good final total of nearly 6000 first class runs owed a little to his education in batting as a Lancashire League pro. At the end of the 1986 League campaign Burnley finished fourth and Lowerhouse a respectable seventh. Both Mudasser Nazar and Tony Dodemaide have continued an involvement in cricket after their playing days were over. Mud had 2 spells as coach to the Pakistani Test squad and has also coached the national team of Kenya. He still lives in Bolton. Dodemaide is back home in Melbourne as Chief Executive of Cricket Victoria. Previously he had worked for the M.C.C. at Lords, and spent 3 years as the supremo of cricket in Perth, Western Australia. To sum up, two great ambassadors of the sport and two fantastic Lancashire League professionals and gentlemen.

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