1933: Putting a name to a face – Evelyn Cook

We were delighted to be contacted recently by Mr. John Hamer, who told us that the player holding the ball in the 1933 photo of the short-lived Lowerhouse Ladies cricket team, was his mother, Evelyn Cook, aged about 20.

You can see the team photo here. We would love to be able to put more names to faces.

Evelyn certainly had cricket in the blood,  her dad was Lancashire League legend Billy Cook, several uncles were successful players, and her brother W. G. (George) Cook played for Lowerhouse, and can be seen in the 1932 team photo.

She was one of the better players in a Lowerhouse Ladies team which never really got going and perhaps didn’t take it as seriously as they might have, prompting the priceless comment in the Burnley Express “Proficiency is not likely to result from the execution of dance steps and the warbling of popular melodies during practice.” Evelyn was their best bowler, along with Ida Webster, the daughter of former Lowerhouse pro. the late Fred Webster.

You can read what little we know about the ladies team here 

Paul Hargreaves gives a nice pen picture of both Billy Cook and Fred Webster here and mentions that Evelyn’s bowling partner, Ida Webster, in the course of a few months in 1931, lost first her mother, and then her father when Fred died suddenly aged only 34. According to the Burnley News, she was in fact Fred’s step-daughter, her own father having died during the war of 1914-18.  Happily, she must have found a home in Lowerhouse.

Mr. Hamer also sent us a press cutting,  from an article marking the 75th anniversary of the Lancashire League, which, on the subject of his grandad, wrote: “Billy Cook probably claimed more attention from people who watched cricket regularly and people who did not watch it at all, than any league cricketer of his day.  For nine years before the First World War he was the demon bowler of the competition, the man who hit the wickets more than anyone, who did not bowl for catches and who usually caused that dreaded sound (with) one of his specials.”

We would like to thank Mr. Hamer for getting in touch.

Anne Cochrane

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