- In 2014 the Club won its fourth League title. You have 4 medals for winning the League and two for the Worsley Cup. Hopefully that’s not the final tally but how much do you like to mention these successes to those who told you to leave Lowerhouse if you ever wanted to win anything?
There were many people who suggested that I would regret staying at the club because we wouldn’t win any titles, some were genuine and others for purely mischievous reasons. But I have always viewed cricket as recreation, to play with your pals and enjoy all the incredible friendships that have developed over more than 30 years. Of course I care passionately about my own performances and always endeavoured to improve my own and the teams performances. The titles have been the icing on the cake but sometimes the achievements and victories during the not so glorious years felt just as joyous and memorable.
Also perhaps during the dark days we were more a band of mates, keeping our heads above water when money was non-existent, working the bar for no pay, making the most of poor facilities and celebrating the small victories together.
The club now has other issues to contend with, a burgeoning youth set up, quality players wanting to move to us, younger players feeling squeezed out and demanding more opportunities.
Also with success being expected and demanded by members the pressure is very much different since we created the legacy of success. Throughout my career no amateur has ever been paid to play, we have always paid our subs and when victories were rare, even when we came a close (or not so close) second those heartaches affected every player as much if not more than any other member. If we can ensure that every team that represents Lowerhouse in the future feels that way we will have created something more worthy indeed. We need to be careful and remember that long term triumphs are cyclical, titles cannot be guaranteed and we must not become over confident and boorish.
- With 16000 League runs and approx. 750 games you’ve put up a commendable battle against Old Father Time. You still have an important, if diminished role in the team, but are you now on a year to year basis on deciding when to draw stumps on your career at Lowerhouse?
I don’t approach the forthcoming season thinking will it be my last and I suppose that when I do I will know my time is finally drawing to a close. Inevitably it will arrive or the body will give way but I still think I can contribute as a player and my desire to compete is still very strong. If my form or ability is no longer good enough to make the team, then my choice is irrelevant and I will have to accept the decision. But as with all selections I will know that the judgement has been taken to ensure that the best side takes the field.
- I suspect sporting competition has been a big part of your life and many will remember you as a goalie with Belvedere as well as a cricketer. Where will you get those kicks after leaving Lowerhouse? Will you follow your good parents as a crown green bowler or will neighbour Joe Beneduce be taking you off for extra golf?
I am sure I will stay involved at the club and I might actually enjoy watching once I finish playing. My golf will have to improve significantly if I am going to give it as much time as Joe puts in. I cannot bare the massive inconsistencies at the moment (the good days being the rarities). I know that Lindsay has plans to make the summer break a more useful(!!!) holiday and eventually take up some offers to visit good cricket friends from overseas.
- What do you think of the Lancashire League changes in 2017? The consensus is that they are necessary but there must be a tinge of sadness that they are considered necessary?
I think the League is right to try and put itself in a stronger position, the league is facing pressures from those who are running the game and those who are taking part and watching. I would like to see our best players to be able to play in a strong competitive league, at a local club and that they can identify a clear pathway to the County set up without having to join the merry-go-round of leagues in the area. I know that changes are being made with the best of intentions and we can only hope that they prove successful.
- How do you assess the standard of the Lancashire League in 2017 compared with 1983?
I think the one major difference between the leagues now is the profile of the pros available for the league. Before the arrival of T20 leagues star quality players who weren’t involved in the English county game could make relatively decent money playing in the league, even if it was just for one or two years. Holding, Roberts, Richards, Harper, Donald, Astle, Harris (NZ), Kapil Dev, Azharuddin, Prabahakar, Waugh, Warne, ,Reiffel, Harris, Clarke, Macdonald would all be impossible now.(The work permit rules have been also responsible for the lack of young Aussie talent.)
In terms of amateur players perhaps there is a little less depth to more sides now but weak sides have always existed. There have been good and great sides throughout the 30 years and the best sides from each era with comparable pros would have given each other a real test.