By Anne Cochrane
A strong favourite was somehow identified and on 16th July it was minuted that half of the committee, Messrs. Redman, Fisher, Jacques, Brown, Whale and the treasurer were to meet with Bartley of Birkenhead, and a special meeting on 18th July 1935 agreed that “Bartley of Birkenhead Park be offered the following terms for a 20 week engagement during 1936: £200 wage and usual talent monies also a promise of winter work with a wage of £2/5/- to £2/10/- per week.” This was passed by 11 votes to 1. (There were TWELVE men on the committee – how did they ever agree on anything?)
On 23rd July it was agreed “that Mr. Constantine should interview Bartley on Thursday July 25th”. However, at yet another special meeting soon after, “as Bartley wasn’t available for Mr. Constantine to interview on the date appointed, it was decided to send a deputation to meet him at Ormskirk on July 27th to get his final word. “ At yet another special meeting the next day, it was reported that Bartley couldn’t get his release from his current club so negotiations were called off. So much ado about nothing. Incidentally, Birkenhead Park is famous for being the first ever public park, opened in 1847, and the cricket club still plays there.
Possibly getting a bit fed up by now, “it was resolved by a vote of 9 to 1 that Messrs. Drabble, Wilson and Constantine interview JR Milne, our present pro and make the best terms with him for season 1936 engagement.” So back to square one and what must have been a tricky meeting with Milne. Two days later it was agreed that Milne be re-signed, “his terms are £160 for the season and usual talent monies, and in the event of him obtaining 80 League wickets during the season he will receive a grant of £20.” So a bit of a bargain really, turned out well. Sorted. However six months later on 26th January 1936, Milne’s application for his release from his agreement for season 1936 was granted. Back to square one, again.
Desperate measures were called for and it was resolved “that we advertise for a first class pro, in The Sporting Chronicle, The Yorkshire Post, the Daily Express one insertion in each.” Shortly afterwards it was “resolved to write to Robinson of Batley re the young pro he is recommending and to again advertise for a pro in The Sporting Chronicle, Daily Herald three insertions each, and that Mr. Whale makes inquiries re Baistow of Hull.”
Advertising obviously worked, as on 18th February, with the season fast approaching, the meeting considered applications from Luke (Doncaster), Briggs (Haslingden), Pitchford (Leighton Buzzard), Catchpool (Newcastle, Staffs.), Sanderson (Normanton), Daphne (Otley), Hunt (Bristol), but significantly also resolved to write to Mr. R. Tyldesley for his terms for 1936. (Yes, Daphne is a surname in that part of Yorkshire).
A week later at a really special meeting, it was unanimously resolved that R. Tyldesley be made the following offer for his services as match pro for season 1936 for all League and Worsley Cup matches
– the sum of £230 and talent monies as follows:
£1 for 50 runs in one match £1 for 6 wickets for 40 runs or less
£1 for Hat Trick and collections when merited.
Job done, Dick Tyldesley was appointed pro for the 1936 season, and lad probably driven a hard bargain. He was already a seasoned pro, with an illustrious first class career behind him, having first played for Lancashire in 1919 where he was a very significant asset as a spin bowler until 1931 when he fell out with the committee and then was a pro for five seasons in the Lancashire League. He was nearly 40 when he signed for Lowerhouse and this was his final season. He then took a pub in Westhoughton, and as Wikipedia delicately puts it “Often viewed as overweight, he died at the young age of 46 in 1943.”