1949: A trip down Lowerhouse Lane

Although in 1949, the Second World War had been over for 4 years, its aftermath still dominated the international scene. N.A.T.O. was created in this year and Germany was officially split between East and West. It would remain that way for over 40 years until the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Indonesia became independent of Dutch rule in ’49.

Famous births this year were golfer Tom Watson; Arsene Wenger, bet his father didn’t see it; Geoff Capes, the shot putter; Ivana Trump, who married well; and David Mellor the ex-politician and ardent Chelsea fan.    We lost comedian and film star Will Hay in 1949 and Malcolm Campbell died. He had held the world land speed record and his son, Donald would later perish going for the world water speed record, on Coniston Water.  Britain’s top film of this year was the classic ‘The Third Man’. This was filmed on location in a post-War Vienna that was more a city of nightmares than dreams. The film created a mania for a musical instrument that was largely unheard of the year before. This was, of course, the zither and Anton Karas became a star.

In the Lancashire League of 1949 Bill Alley was in the second of his 5 seasons at Colne C.C. and Manny Martindale was in his sixth League season, his third at Lowerhouse C.C.     WILLIAM EDWARD ALLEY was born in Sydney in 1919. He was a fine, promising boxer before deciding to make his livelihood as a cricketer. He had expected to be in the famed 1948 Aussie touring party but was omitted for the little regarded Ron Hamence. Never one to suffer in silence he was unhappy with the decision and his attitude to his homeland was permanently affected. He spent most of the rest of his life in England starting at Colne in 1948. He was the first player to have 5 successive 1000 run seasons. Alley batted left-handed and was definitely unorthodox. He seemed to play across the line often as he used his immense strength to bludgeon the bowling. He bowled right-handed and relied on accuracy. Although only military medium he was a canny, successful performer. He left Colne for Blackpool in the Northern League and scored 19 hundreds for the Club. Whilst playing in a charity match, one of his opponents, Somerset skipper Harold Stephenson, invited him to play for the County. So, aged 38, he embarked on a 12 year stint in County Championship cricket. In all he played 400 first class games of which exactly 350 were for Somerset. He scored 19,622 runs and had 31 hundreds. He took 768 wickets at 23. In 1961 Alley scored over 3000 runs and made 10 centuries. This was the last time a player scored over 3000 runs in an English season. A year later he had his best all-round year and became a Wisden Cricketer of the Year. Even at 49 years of age he had to be nudged reluctantly into retirement and he went on the list of first class umpires. Briefly on the Test panel, Alley officiated in 10 Tests and 9 O.D.I.’s. He remained in the Taunton area and died there in 2004 aged 85.

EMMANUEL ALFRED MARTINDALE was born in Barbados in 1909. Although less than 5ft 9ins he was a bowler of considerable pace. His Test career was limited by the fact that West Indies were an emerging Test nation with only a handful of fixtures. ‘Manny’ as he was known , played in just 10 Tests, beginning at Lords’ in 1933 and ending across the City at The Oval in 1939. He took 37 wickets at under 22. In all he played 59 first class matches taking 203 wickets. The 1933 tour of England was his only complete tour. On it he took over 100 victims. One match still well remembered was the Old Trafford Test of that year. In it Martindale and Learie Constantine bowled ‘leg theory’ which had caused uproar on that winter’s Bodyline tour. Ironically Douglas Jardine, soon to become a scapegoat to gutless cricket authorities, scored his only Test century in this game. Manny Martindale was a Lancashire League pro for 8 seasons. He was at Burnley pre-War from 1936-38, in which he took a total of 222 wickets. He joined the ‘House in 1947 and stayed for 4 years and completed his local cricket proing at Bacup in 1955, aged 46. Manny’s 2 sons Alfred and Colin were good amateurs and played over a decade of cricket, first at Lowerhouse, then at Burnley. When Manny returned home he carried on his involvement in the game by coaching. He was just 62 when he died in Barbados in 1972.

In the Lancashire League of 1949 it was a golden summer and Pepper and Hazare both did the ‘double’ and became the first players to ever do sowing the League standings Colne were seventh and Lowerhouse ninth. The head-to-heads occurred on June 25 at the Horsfield and the Saturday after at Liverpool Rd. In the first game ‘House declared on 206-6. J.Shacklady top scored with 66 and Manny got 28. (Alley 1-58) Colne were skittled for 70 all out. Martindale took an impressive 5-25 and shared the spoils with Ernie Smith, who had 5-35. Alley got just 6. The ‘House continued their 1949 hold on Alley when he was out for a single in the reverse fixture. Colne did make 187-9 though. (H.Wilson 83 not out.) Lowerhouse got a comfortable draw finishing on 142-4.


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