1979: A trip down Lowerhouse Lane

Many of the important world events of 1979 centred on the always turbulent middle-east region. The Shah of Iran was ousted, and next door in Iraq, Saddam Hussein became the new ruler. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and on the domestic front Britain elected its first female Prime Minister. Surely I don’t need to name her!

Famous births of this year include the recent major golf winner Graeme MacDowell; the actress Kate Hudson; pop star Pete Doherty; Kelly Brook, famous on more than one front; and David Dunn, a man more popular 12 miles from here.  In 1979 we lost Sid Vicious, and an actor with a short career, Zeppo Marx, and one with a larger portfolio, John Wayne. Our opponents today lost their most famous son when Eddie Paynter died in Keighley.    B

londie had 2 No 1’s in ’79(Heart of Glass and Sunday Girl) The Police accomplished the same feat with ‘Walking on the Moon’ and ‘Message in a Bottle’. The Boomtown Rats stated what we already knew with ‘I don’t like Mondays’.

In the Lancashire League of 1979 Nasim-ul Ghani had his only season at Lowerhouse and Madan Lal was in the third of his six with Enfield.

MADAN LAL was born in Amritsar in 1951. He was a useful, nippy medium-pace bowler and a middle to lower order batsman, who often performed rescue acts for India. In his own domestic cricket he was capable of batting much higher and scored over 10,000 runs and 22 centuries. His Test career began in Manchester in 1974 and ended across the Pennines, at Leeds in 1986.His record was of a utility player rather than a star. In 39 Tests he took 71 wickets and just topped the 1000 mark, a 74 versus Pakistan, his highest score. Madan Lal was involved in significant World Cup moments. He bowled the opening ball of the 1975 competition to Dennis Amiss and took 3 valuable victims in the 1983 World Cup final. In this game India shocked the cricket world when overcoming the mighty West Indies.

NASIM-UL GHANI was born in Delhi in 1941. He played his Test cricket for Pakistan and was the youngest Test cricketer ever at the time of his debut, against West Indies in 1958. His last Test match was in Sydney in 1973. He only played 29 Tests in that long period, and arguably his career didn’t match early expectations. His flighted slow left arm style took 52 wickets. He was a versatile batter and opened for his country, as well as being dropped down to the Johnny Russell position. He scored 747 runs and was most famous for his only century. This was against England at Lords in 1962, when he came in as a night-watchman. This was the first three figure Test score by a Pakistani on English soil.   Enfield had been League champs in Madan Lal’s first season in 1977 but dropped down to fifth in ’79. The ‘House finished in ninth position. In 1979 Madan Lal had 683 runs and 64 wickets. Nasim had 72 dismissals but a more modest amount of runs, 427. The head-to heads took place on May 5 and August 25. The first match was a complete wash-out without even a toss taking place. In the second game at Enfield, ‘House were bowled out for 129. Nasim top scored with 43 and stalwart Brian Higgin got 39. Lowerhouse had been 73-1 but fans of a certain age won’t be shocked by the collapse. Madan Lal took 3-32. The ‘house made the Dill Hall Lane team dig deep and they had only 2 wickets in hand when victory was gained. Madan Lal scored just 14 and Nasim-ul Ghani took 4-60.     The great feature of the pro situation at Enfield was continuity. There were only 2 seasons between 1967 and 1984 when either Madan Lal or the great Dick Abed weren’t pro at Enfield. At Lowerhouse, also it was a golden era. Nasim was hardly their best pro between 1977 and 1989, but in that era only Tom Hogan could be described as a disappointment.

These two versatile cricketers have had various roles since finishing their playing days. Nasim-ul-Ghani has been assistant team manager to the Pakistan team; an I.C.C. development officer; a match referee and a national selector. Madan Lal is coach to the I.C.L. team Delhi Giants. In 2009 he stood as a political candidate for the Congress Party.


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