Your memories of your debut for Littleborough?
Bit vague can’t remember opposition or result but do remember a couple of things:
Walked in dressing room to be greeted with Gar naked 1 foot on floor, 1 on bench with Brendan applying sudacrem to the affected area after Gar had boil removed from a sensitive area, I thought how what a contrast to OT & Lords.
After the game I was approached by a couple of supporters, I was just about to say hello when they said, can’t believe we have signed an English lad & spinner, we need a fast bowler. Didn’t have time to blurt out I was a better batter than bowler, welcome to Galatarsary!
Your favourite game and why?
1994 Wood Cup semi & final were 2 of my favourite days on a cricket field. As a player you want to play well in the big games, even more so as a professional. To get 100 in both games was very special, semi chasing against fine bowler/team, final against excellent all round team in 2 derbies.
We had a night to remember & Gar beat Usain Bolt over to Club with collection, he was 4 pints in before we had showered. Enjoying the night with team mates & supporters was awesome, Boro players + fans were used to success & knew how to celebrate
Your favourite away ground and why?
Walsden was always kind to me & holds significant memories, even my son got his maiden 100 there.
Away from personal performance I would say Littleboro & Milnrow are perfect ovals with community atmosphere.
The best professional played against?
Too many to pick from & some of the best weren’t necessarily the big names but to list 3
Bat – Dave Callaghan – class act – didn’t seem to hit a shot in anger but was 30 when you looked at the board. My dad recommended him to Rochdale after he got 100 in both innings for Notts 2s and we still won the game by an innings.
Bowl – Ezra Moseley – I enjoyed batting against Ezra but he was incredible against 4 down, knew his job & attacked the stumps. First encounter was for Stockport when I was 3rd out (all 3 curly) for 42 & by the time I had got my pads off we were 42 or 44 all out, Ezra had something like 6 for 0 with 1 run out in that period if I remember rightly
All Rounder – Asif Mushtaba – once the trend went from fast bowler to batter/spinner difficult to contest his incredible stats.
The best amateurs played against?
Too many fine players in CLL to mention on individual performances so based on consistency & longevity : Noddy, Mel W, Nellie, Punchy, Wolly.
Favourite on the field memories?
I could do a full after dinner on Gar but here are a few instantly of top of my head :
Noddys piles burst in a Lancs cup game making his flannels look like the Japanese flag, I was on the edge & a spectator said is that their overseas player, I couldn’t wait to get back in dressing room.
Oldham had a prolific player called Brandon Nash who was averaging 100 when they arrived, I said in pre-match analysis the only way we can lose this game is if he gets 150+ so don’t sledge him & if we can’t get him out we will starve him of the strike. I nestled at first slip & Brendan bowled a perfect away swinger which he played and missed at, after receiving the ball off PJ I looked up to see Brendan say “That’s far too good for you cock”. A few boundaries later he smashed one which Gar somehow caught in his armpit at gully to which Brendan added “told you I would get him”.
In the semi at Walsden Noddy had just got out with us needing about 140 off 20 overs when Gar come down the steps like John Wayne, he stopped halfway to the middle waving his arms at the Boro fans shouting “get me going”. I thought I bet and go and & calm him down here so I said “Gar its 7s but don’t look at the board just bat for a few, try & rotate the strike until you get in” to which he replied “Don’t worry about me lad I have played in more big games than you” I couldn’t run for giggling.
Gar was bowling well in nets & as a change bowler & started pestering the skipper for a more dominant role with the ball. We arrived at Swinton Moorside in Lancs cup & I suggested give him the new conker. First ball was reminiscent of Steve Harminson at Brisbane, 14 balls later the over ended with him searching for sympathetic eyes & other 10 looking at floor.
We were playing Middleton at home in Wood Cup, somebody got injured and i think Barry Hamilton came on as sub fielder. After asking where he fielded, he was put out at deep square, somebody swept a ball that looked a certain 6 heading towards the club entrance windows, he sprinted, took off and caught a brilliant diving catch before fist pumping our delighted masses. It was only as we were sprinting towards him to hi 5 him, it dawned on him what he had just done!
One the lads enjoyed was Lancs Cup v Southport & Birkdale, going well we had fixture congestion so could only play Friday pm. I had to work and went in at 5.30am so I could arrive at 14.30, drove like Lewis Hamilton threw my whites on & we lost a couple so went straight in on arrival, a tall chap in a knitted sweater ran in and sent down what would now be a slower ball bouncer, I swivelled hooking with a clean strike & full power only to see a guy stood in the wrong place at leg gully catch it with his eyes shut protecting his face.
How about off the field?
It started leading up to first game, meet the pro night after the formalities the lads got together and I received the ‘do you play cards’ invite, we set off with 3 card brag & after several 50p blinds I looked at mine and had 3 aces. After letting it go back round I said I have won and am not taking your money first night. Noddy insisted rules of the comp are we play till all cards seen. Sure enough he had a prile of 3s and it felt like a cross between the nags head & film sting. We went in town after finishing in the Carlton and I thought on arrival home “Fasten your seatbelt” this is going to be lively!
Songs between Boro & Milnrow. I signed for Milnrow on the strength of how good they were against Boro. I was surprised to see how competitive this game was & the songs including supporters after were brilliant. Afraid I have to admit the lyrics of Brendan’s sleepy jean rendition is genius & I still burst into versus now 26 years on!
I got 150 on my 30th birthday ironically at (Norden) Gar was at the other end and wandered down for what I presumed was going to be a well done, he held out his hand and said “it’s a great feeling isn’t it” I just went back giggling again. That night my Mrs said go back with Boro lads & I will pick you up later, it never dawned on me till I walked through doors at Hare Hill there was a surprise party, I wasn’t in great nick the day after………………………
Fines end of season do to Blackpool, my Uncle Bill who lives there offered to book a B&B near the pleasure beach but omitted to tell the owner we weren’t a junior team, his look on arrival still sticks with me. Jonesy had sorted the beers through his then business and we drunk solidly for 16 hrs, Brendan had us doing a forfeit on the pleasure beach, Noddy won everything and after a bite to eat we headed into the centre. The queue for the Alditis nightclub was massive, so I went to the front and was convincing this bouncer it was Lancs on our end of season trip, I was just making progress when one of our bowlers added his contribution after which the bouncer said you can all come in for nothing if you bring him with the mouth over. We found the aforementioned cuddling sausage + chips on our return.
I could go on forever about my time at Boro, to use current parlance I was in a bad place on arrival and had lost my love of cricket. I genuinely believe that group helped me rediscover what sport was all about, I class them as lifelong great mates & will be forever grateful!
All the best