Blez Week – Day 7 – Blez Testimonials

As we reach the end of Blez week – we asked fans, players and friends a like to let give us a few testimonials about Mr Bleazard himself. Enjoy!

Two words that describe Chris Bleazard the best according to me is the following. Absolute gentleman! I had the privilege of playing 2 season with Blez and he definitely made a massive impact in the way I see Cricket and how it should be played. He is definitely the best club man and completely unselfish cricketer I have ever come across. I personally feel that if he batted in the top 5, where he should ?… he would have been past 20 000 Lancashire League runs already. Thanks for the great cricketer, friend and role model you are to so many of us around! Happy Birthday and congratulations on a special achievement!

Cobus Pienaar

I first came across Chris in an open 5-a- side at Holy Trinity School probably around 1978, the game ended itself ended in a draw Chris saved my penalty to win through to the final, that day he broke my heart. Over the following 39 years he has repaired that broken heart many times over and more. I was very fortunate to spend all lunch & break times in the yard watching him bat, and bat and bat (much of the time with my brand new Slazenger Fred Boycott plays bat) Fortunate that he carried our school side (he will never admit it but that’s my memory single handed) to the Harold Bailey Final which allowed us mere school boys in an era where the players were cricket god’s to play on the hallowed turf of Old Trafford. I was also fortunate to witness his debut (from the tally window’s) and latter fortunate to get the chance to play and even bat with him, against some fabulous amateur and professional cricketers of the 1980’s and 1990’s. I feel privileged to have witnessed most of his 100’s including his finest (IMO) the semi and final centuries of 2004 and more recently saw him score his 15,000 run In the many, many years before the Cinderella Tag was removed I hope and think Chris was happy just to be playing with his mates. I am sure he had offers to play elsewhere, but preferred the craic and a few beers with his mates. Many a bowler’s nightmares have included Chris Blez, one nearly cried when he came in at 11 the other year. Club Talisman, Club Legend, Club Record Holder, Good Guy & Friend

Enjoy Blez week

Privileged to call Chris a friend #UTH

Frank Entwistle

I remember when I wasn’t too far past my best and Blez came down to the first team indoor nets at around 14 years of age. I started bowling steady away at him and quickly realised this lad could play. I ended up bowling as fast as I possibly could and didn’t beat the bat once. That was when I realised what a special talent we had. A year later he was in the first team and as they say the rest is history. Happy 50th birthday to a great lad and congratulations on your magnificent achievements over the years.

Roger Bromley.

One of the best, the father figure in the team with a world of knowledge at his disposal, (especially in the middle calming me down) absolute honour to play alongside him, true legend of a man.

Joe Hawke

My first season I got to Lowerhouse I was told about Blez and wondered how well could a 40 year old really be. How little did I know? Probably one of the best lofted drivers I’ve played with and against but not just that. He is an example for younger players, with his dedication in training, calm head on the field and being the ultimate team player. It’s been a privilege to share a changing room and field with him”

Francois Haasbroek

Chris Bleazard is without any doubt one of the finest batsmen to grace the famous fields of the Lancashire League in its 125-year history. In that 125 years there have been some great names from near and afar showing their prowess in the most famous cricket league in the world and Blez, even though as a modest man he would distance himself from such statements, belongs right up there among the select band of true legends.

Classy and destructive, Blez has been dominating beleaguered bowlers for decades and I struggle to think of a more ‘celebrated’ wicket around the league.

That shows the esteem teams hold Blez in. They know how much his wicket matters. They did 30 years ago, they still do now.

And to make his achievements and career tally of 16,000 league runs even more remarkable is that many of those boundaries and swashbuckling 50s came in what was a struggling side, down at the wrong end of the table for so long.

He stayed loyal to the House when it would have been so easy to chase silverware elsewhere.

So when the Lowerhouse fortunes turned, no-one could begrudge Blez. A home club hero, his moments of glory.

And hopefully there will be a few more great days to come before the great man finally puts his bat away for the final time and gives the bowlers a break.

Matt Donlan

Whenever I talk to someone about Lowerhouse Cricket Club, the first person they seem to ask about is Chris Bleazard and whether he’s still active in the team. He has made an incredible impact during his time at the club while remaining one of the most humble and decent people I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with. Here’s to you Blez, hope you still have a couple of years left in you!!!

Stuart Gaynor

Blez is simply the best batter the Lancs league has seen and is my favourite player. You do not realise how good a player he is until you play with him. He has been consistent for so many years and adapted his game to fit the team, something I do not think other players have managed to do. To score the quantity of runs he has regardless of the game situation, batting position or opposition has been incredible to watch from the side-lines.

Since I have been involved in the 1st team, Blez has maintained a professional outlook to his game and has expected the same from everyone else, he is still the first to arrive and last to leave training; something that the juniors at the club look up to. I watched him score two consecutive centuries in the semi-final and final in 2004; two innings which were incredible to watch. I did not envisage at the time that I would have been able to play in the same team as him for as long as I have. In that time, the most important thing I have learned from him is not a technical or tactical thing, but simply to love the game; I have not met anyone who enjoys playing as much as he does. His love of the game, makes him the heartbeat of the team – something which is infectious to the rest of us. Blez is my cricketing hero and I hope he enjoys his birthday. It is a privilege to play in the same team as him.

Joe Martin

Blez is far more than just the best batter the league has ever seen. He is someone who encompasses the ethos of the cricket club, he only ever wants the best for his club. Blez has obviously been in the team since I began playing, providing a constant source of advice over technique and tactics, as well as a sounding board for help with the more difficult times you endure playing the game.

I cannot thank Blez enough for everything he has done, not just the ways in which he has helped me, but also helped the club. The fact that I have yet to hear a bad word spoken about him speaks volumes of his character, he is always there for the young players to look up to and admire and see how it should be done. Myself and Mark Whitehead have often discussed his dedication, and how shocked we have been on the odd occasion that he has missed, just showing his dedication to the cricket club. Although living 1 minute away may also help.

It’s been a real privilege playing with Blez, but getting to know him and see his dedication has been even better.

Paddy Martin

Blez is the perfect balance of talent and modesty. He was an honour to play alongside and I know for certain I personally wouldn’t have achieved what I have without him

Matt Walker

Blez, where do you start….Lowerhouse Cricket Club absolute legend, Lancashire league legend, true gentleman, ferocious competitor, exemplary example of how to conduct yourself on and off the cricket field, by far the most talented amateur batter in the league throughout my era and it’s an absolute honour to have played my 20 years of first team cricket with you at the one and only cricket club #UTH

I’d like to wish you a very happy 50th birthday Blez. I still struggle to believe that you’re soon to be 50 years old, your fitness is a credit to how you continue to train but it’s the way that you can still communicate and have ‘banter’ with both young and old, your patience with the younger players breaking through into the first team truly amazes me and I am one of so many lucky players that have benefited hugely from your continued coaching and support win, lose or draw at Lowerhouse Cricket Club.

Blez and I have become very close friends over the years, I always know that you are at the end of the phone (if it’s turned on!) even at times when we have been in different parts of the world or you will be waiting at the bar with a pint for me when I need your advice, whether it be about cricket or life in general and for that I’d like to thank you.

Blez has been a huge influence in the success of the club over recent years, we share the same passion for cricket and also the same passion for Lowerhouse Cricket Club; something that seems to be a dying trend. Hopefully we still have a few years left playing together.

Happy birthday mate.

Charlie Cottam

Congratulations to Chris on his 16,000 runs (and rising) and in his 50th year on this earth.

A double tribute to Chris’s undoubted ability and his longevity. Chris is the finest amateur batting talent I have ever seen and indeed in the unassuming way in which he has conducted himself. Whilst Chris is single minded and fully focused in his approach, he is the ultimate team player.

Not many will know that Chris could have been a genuine all-rounder but allowed others the opportunity to bowl before him. Similarly we can all see how he stands aside now to give younger batsmen a chance to blossom. What say 20,000 runs had Chris been more selfish?

I had the privilege of playing alongside Chris from his debut to my retirement. It wasn’t a smooth start for Chris, as he was run out in 3 near successive games whilst batting with me. Chris was of course quick on the uptake, and soon learnt to modify his calling for quick singles and he has rarely been run out since

I knew Chris would be a great talent after the church game when in his early days, he knocked a quick twenty not out off 2 overs to win the game … as I stood and admired at the other end… 80 plus not out … 10 plus overs left …on the cusp of a maiden Lancs League century. Chris of course went on of course to record numerous centuries and who will ever forget his innings in the 2004 semi-final and final to bring us our first trophy. I can’t claim any influence on Chris’s career, although I do take some pride in how he too has become a great long leg and third man. I am also very pleased to see how he helps the younger players in the first team at training and on match days. As and when the 16,000 run mark is met and the 50th birthday ticks by, we will all raise a glass and salute a Lancashire league, Lowerhouse and cricketing legend …. And whilst having the privilege and honour to be his friend.

Stan Heaton

Nothing much more I can add to say about Blez but other than he’s a legend. Away from Lowerhouse obviously he’s my uncle and I was always worried as 13/14 year old that I might not ever get to play with him in in the same side so to have been alongside him now for the last 14 years or so has been fantastic. A true gent and I’ve never heard a bad word said about him. I’m just glad the club has had some success that he’s managed to be a part of.

Ben Heap

Only one word to describe Blez…..Old! He is also a Top Bloke! A proper legend! Cricketing achievements to one side, I have a lot to thank the great man for….stopping me following a £5 note on a string one Monday night down Yorke House, bailing me out when I bid for a horse at a race night, generally funding my youth, a gazillion collections…never a chore to go round with the collection box for Blez & I particularly remember collecting for a 50 (which went on to be a 100+ not out) & his 10000th run at Accy.

A great mate!! Cheers Blez!

Jonny Russell

Blez is what I hope to be if not better when im his age, a league legend, a record holder, a humble man, successful and still class at the game, never gives up, and after all these years he has just as much love if not more for the game, his team mates and the club more importantly, pleasure playing with him throughout my upbringing at LHCC, UTH

Jonny Whitehead

Well where do I start on this bloke, easily the nicest bloke I’ve had the pleasure of taking the field with. To score 16000 runs in league cricket is some accomplishment but when you see the uncomplicated manner at which he goes about his business it’s certainly no surprise. The knock he played in the Worsley Cup final vs Haslingden I still rate as one of the best I seen. You’re an absolute diamond Blez, it’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know you over the years and watching you score many of those 16000 runs.

All my best wishes pal

Tif (Chris Benbow)

Many happy returns Blez, not just a Lowerhouse legend but a league cricket legend. A ridiculous amount of runs scored, all for one club and against some of the best pro’s to ever grace league cricket. Honoured to have shared a cricket field with you, all the best.

Will Driver

Playing football and cricket with blez has been an absolute pleasure. His desire to win is unmistakable and his loyalty outstanding.
I wouldn’t like to count the amount of games we have played together but I’ve enjoyed everyone.
In training, before a game and after he is the sort of chap you would want by your side.
If we had to ‘go over the top’ I’d want blez besides me.
Top man, great friend and proper houser!
Jez Hope

Blez,
Brilliant effort on scoring so many runs over the years and still having the motivation to keep playing.
Always a pleasure to watch you play some of the best bowlers in the world and make scoring runs so
easy!
You have never really changed since our schoolboy football days when I pipped you to the Lancashire
Schools U15 goalkeeping spot!
Always modest and putting the team first
One of the best players to ever play in the Lancashire League and more importantly one who has never
shouted about his fantastic achievements.
All the best

Dave Whalley

Blez, The Legend, at LHCC in my eyes is probably the best amateur batsman I played with and a true gentleman. I vividly remember how Charlie, Tiff, Joe and others used to tease him on one thing or the other but Blez would deflect everything with a big smile on his face. He was always an inspiration for me and a role-model for youngsters at the club.

Last year during a friendly cricket match, while running between the wickets, my calf gave out as I felt a very sharp pain. Two things came to my mind, a) felt bad for making fun of Blez after his ‘regular calf episodes’ in the two and a half seasons I was at the House lol and b) I am getting old (not implying that Blez is old ;)).

I wish Blez best of luck for the season and heartiest congratulations on passing 16,000. Keep up and please do not retire any time soon as my sabbatical is due in a few years time 🙂

Hassan Khan

Chris is undoubtedly the best batter Lowerhouse has ever seen and many including me, the best the league has ever seen. The fact he played in some average sides during his time is testament to his ability. In his day an outstanding fielder and half decent bowler apart from his fingers weren’t warm enough to bowl against Michael Bevan one game. An all round top man who I class as a good friend and a true Lowerhouse legend, given the amount of opportunities he must have had to move to another club as pro or amateur in his time. He always stayed loyal to the club that served him as a junior wish more would follow his lead. Have a great birthday Blez
Matt Hope


As a youngster, working the tins, Blez was among my true sporting hero’s. He shared this mantle with Clarets star John Deary and Lancs and England cricketer Michael Atherton! Not many adults can say that they have one of their childhood hero’s as a true friend and somebody that they enjoy spending time with both at home and abroad. Chris is undoubtedly the best cricketer to have played as an amateur for Lowerhouse and among the very best in the history of the Lancashire League. His record speaks for itself. A classy batsmen who is great to watch and fielder who can catch anything. Chris stuck with Lowerhouse through the darkest of days and it was fitting that he was the man that score heroic centuries in both the semi final and final as the club secured their first Worsley Cup triumph in 2004. The memory of him being chaired from the field after that final will stay with everybody present forever. In recent times some of Chris’ cameo innings have been a joy to watch with trademark flicks off his legs and drives over long off into the park! All the best on your 50th birthday and here’s to many more years and many more trophies as a Lowerhouse player!
Matt Stansfield

 

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