1980: From the Archive Part 2

By Stan Heaton

The Express Cup was a competition organised by the Express Group of Newspapers covering our area viz. Colne Times, Nelson Leader and Burnley Express.

The competition began way back, was abandoned and then reinstated in the late 1970s and 1980s before it again fell away. Clubs rotated hosting the competition and it could be a good money spinner although was often bedeviled by poor weather. It was a similar format to the current Twenty20 finals day.

The 1980 competition is covered by the attached press cutting so just a few words about the team.

Back row left to right. Yours truly, the late great Phil Astin, Tom Sullivan (covered in other articles), Alan “Lofty“ Holden (capt , previously covered), Brian Higgin (previously covered), Roger Bromley (likewise) and the much loved and dearly departed Peter Mawdsley .

Front row. Mick Binns (keeps in touch and living on the Fylde), Jonny Hartley (covered last episode), Keith Fairclough (needs no introduction), Pankaj Tripathi (now Rosegrove and India), Dave Keeley (believed Accrington area).

Out-front – the manager, the late great Clifford Atherton.

All of this team were to feature in the Worsley Cup Final squad of that year, with the exception of Mick Binns. Mick was a former Burnley Grammar School pupil and was a good friend of fellow ex pupils Jonny, and myself. Mick had a successful Second Eleven career at the club and on occasions rose to the First Eleven. Mick was a 100% trier and a great character. On one occasion at Haslingden, he stopped the Haslingden bowler in full flight as Mick stepped back from the crease to consult a newspaper cutting on how to play fast bowling.

2 games stand out in the First Eleven. Mick’s highest First Eleven score came in 1979 at Todmorden with 16 not out. I was captain that day and asked Mick to open the bowling and give it all he had. This was a daunting task for Mick as he was bowling at our old teacher Ian Smith and the thousand runs a year Pakistan International, Aftab Baloch. Completely unfazed Mick ran up and unleashed an Exocet. Unfortunately, his range was out of kilter and the ball cleared the batsman and wicket keeper without bouncing and went for 4 wides (as was).

Mick’s final first team game was at Rishton in 1981. We had beaten Rishton that season on the way to the Martini Trophy (Worsley cup) final and in our home league game. This was remarkable as the Rishton professional was the world’s fastest bowler and West Indies international, Michael “whispering death “Holding. He obviously felt that he had a point to prove in this game as he roared in from the site screen and took 9-13 off 13.3 overs. He was so quick that the Rishton wicket keeper Frank Martindale stood behind the site screen and stuck his gloves through the slats. By the time Mick came into bat, he had seen the opening batsmen face a barrage of bouncers (no helmets) and Pankaj Tripathi sent off in an ambulance with a blood spread nose.

Mick was the only Lowerhouse batsman that day not to fall to Holding, and didn’t face him. . Mick was no softy but questions were asked when he meekly surrendered LBW to spinner Barry Hill and ran off perchance the umpire changed his mind.

Interestingly, and how times change. The amateur opening bowler for Rishton was John Waddington, simultaneously a professional footballer with Blackburn Rovers, playing several seasons with them. Rishton also had another footballer in Eric Kinder who has gone on to forge a successful career as a coach in professional football and currently runs the Academy at Carlisle United.

Peter Mawdsley sadly passed away a couple of years ago and was again a prominent second eleven player and captain. Peter was whole – hearted, would do anything for the club and despite not being a wicket keeper, stumped in a first team game at Rishton in 1977 to help out. Peter had a great sense of humour and needed it when in a game at Enfield for the seconds, as captain he brought himself on to bowl for the final over with Enfield needing 27 to win. They got them! Peter held a number of significant roles at the club including Chairman of Selectors and is sorely missed.

Next episode – the 1980 Martini Trophy ( Worsley Cup ) final – controversy and a fight.

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