Mr. Roland Webster, has contacted us asking for any information on a relative, Freddie Webster, who he thought was professional at Lowerhouse in 1927.
The excellent (surely it should be award-winning?) Lancashire League website, shows that he was professional at Lowerhouse from 1927 – 1929, gives his stats., and also his dates of birth and death. His stats prove that he was an excellent cricketer, indeed Paul Hargreaves in his website piece of 26.11.2018, “10 Best Professionals” writes:
“Also in the 1920’s is my second selection, the Accrington born FRED WEBSTER. He was a promising amateur with his local team Church when in the mid-1920’s he got his chance with the County side. Unfortunately he couldn’t take it and only played two games. It wasn’t a lack of ability on his part but more that the Lancashire side of his era were stacked with talent. They won 4 out of 5 County Championships between 1926 and 1930. Even the famous Eddie Paynter had to serve a long apprenticeship before getting a regular place. In Webster’s 3 seasons at Lowerhouse he took 285 wickets with his left arm pace bowling and scored 1670 runs. In his first season the team reached a Cup semi-final and in his last they only lost 1 more game than Champs Nelson. Webster’s story ended tragically as he died in Burnley less than 2 years after his Lowerhouse stint was over. “
Our small club archive does not have much on Fred, and unfortunately no photos. The 1927 AGM says “although Webster had a brilliant season, we could only finish 9th in the League.”
In 1928 “We are pleased to report that the Motor Mower Scheme proposed by our professional (Mr.Webster) has been a success, £86 having been raised, we purchased a mower and accessories without any cost to the club. We take this opportunity of thanking Mr. Webster and all subscribers for their splendid effort.” The team improved and finished 6th. Fred was obviously a real club man.
In 1929, Fred’s last season at Lowerhouse , they improved again to 5th. Fred was again one of the most successful pros in the league with both bat and ball. Indeed his batting average of 30.9 compared favourably with Learie Constantine’s 34.2. The Constantine effect was blamed for very poor Lowerhouse home gates, despite the team’s good performances.
As mentioned above, sadly Fred’s life ended prematurely, on 28th July 1931. Newspaper reports of his death reveal an even sadder story, and the very close links which existed between Fred and the Lowerhouse club, and in particular the Walker family, in the person of Stan Heaton’s Uncle James. The attached newspaper clips tell all. Fred was obviously much loved.
Roland Webster was unaware of the existence of Fred’s daughter, Ida and we were happy to be able to help him in his efforts to trace his family. If anyone at any of the several clubs where Fred played can give him any more information, particularly about Fred’s wife and little girl or have any photos of Fred, Adam Hope will be happy to either provide contact details for Mr. Webster, or to pass information on to the family.
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