1975: From the Archive

By Stan Heaton

Post script – from the 1974 archive  

As mentioned, – Alan Holden was missing from the team photo. The reason being that the photo was taken on the first game of the season and Alan was making his debut in the Second Eleven. Alan was then called into the First Eleven but went 3 games without taking a wicket. On the 4th game with his position in the team hanging on a thread (brutal selection in those days) Alan took 6-24 vs Accrington in a 75 v 46 win. Alan therefore went on to get 50 wickets in only 17 completed games.

We are indebted to Nigel Stockley and the Lancashire League website for the statistics in the original article

From the Archive – 1975 

On many occasions readers will have seen in these columns the phrase “in the dark days “.

1975 probably marked the final year of those long years of decline. The following seasons saw gradual improvement from this very low point. Since 1957 we had never finished higher than 9th (5th bottom). In 1975 we won only 3 games and were the bottom of the league by 18 points. In those days there were 4 points for a win and an opposition – all-out bonus point. Incredibly we won the first 2 games and then won only one more all season.

Notable players in the league included now Rosegrove resident and friend of the club, Ronnie Smith who played for Rishton. Ronnie was a canny bowler who detested giving runs away and was a prolific wicket taker; taking 54 wickets in this season.

Also starring in the league for Burnley was Ben and Annabelle Uttley’s granddad, Mick McLeod. Mick has also managed the Second Eleven here and is a regular spectator. Mick scored a half century in the Worsley Cup Final and became the first player to record a £100 plus collection — and he is still spending it.

From our own players Peter Atkinson had a very successful season with the bat. Peter still keeps in touch and attends the ground. Neil Hodgson was a quick bowler who had the knack of taking the wickets of professionals with a ripper of a yorker. Neil had a good sense of humour too.

In 1976 I made my away debut at Ramsbottom who had the Pakistan test player Wasim Raja as professional. Wasim took 7 for with the most wicked orthodox left arm spin I had ever seen and we could expect fireworks with his aggressive batting.  Cue Neil, who at the time was one of the quickest bowlers in the league. First ball of Neil’s spell he let fly at Wasim who promptly hit him straight back over his head and over the paper mill wall for 6. It was a staggering hit. Neil stood in the middle of the track, arms on his hips looked over at the mill, turned round and said “Has anyone got plan B”. Typical Neil, and typical when he soon had Wasim caught behind.

Neil still keeps in touch and supports cricket events at the club.

The professional was former Worcester batsman Bob Lanchberry. Bob was a class batsman, hit some big scores and smote one of the biggest sixes I have seen on the ground when he drove one over the clubroom roof. His total runs at the end of the season were a decent figure 654 but only 8 wickets put the team at a disadvantage with other professionals who ranged from 60 to 100 wickets. 4 professionals scored in the region of 1,000 runs that season.

Bob, Mick Swift. Peter Atkinson and Brian Higgin were in the top 40 batsmen in the league and Alan Holden, Jack Stott, Trevor Boardwell and Trevor Jones in the league’s top 50 bowlers.

The published team back row left to right Mick Jones (living Padiham and visits the ground. Former Barden school teacher, co-ran the Town Cricket Team and umpired for many years ) John Sudall ( Well-known at Burnley Golf Club and current supporter ) Alan Holden , Alan and Trevor Boardwell ,Trevor Jones , David Hartley ( all covered in the 1974 archive)

Front row – professional Bob Lanchberry (played for Wiltshire after leaving the club) Brian Higgin and Mick Swift (covered already) Duncan Hall (sadly deceased. Was a club stalwart for many years before relocating to Scotland)

We are indebted to Nigel Stockley and the Lancashire League website for the statistics in this article

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