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Denis Marshall Pickles
Thursday, July 15, 2010 10:48
Cricket in the Park
There’s an awful lot of cricket shown on TV these days . Although it’s not ‘proper cricket’ I particularly like the 20/20 version because wickets fall frequently, runs are scored regularly and the game doesn’t take too long. It reminds me in many ways of the type of cricket we used to play in the park in the immediate post war period. The pitch was in the middle of the soccer field, coats or jerseys were used as wickets but sometimes we had sticks. Equipment was hard to come by but a few of the lads had bats which were used by everyone . I think we usually played with a tennis ball but sometimes we played with a hard ball [a ‘Korky’?] - then it was proper cricket. We had a lot of local rules which would not meet with the approval of the Test and County Cricket Board. If anyone ‘slogged’ the ball over into Clarkson’s garden, it scored 6 and and the batsman was out. Sometimes this occurrence prompted termination of the game because retrieving the ball was an event fraught with danger. The 6ft wall itself was a difficult obstacle to surmount and it was topped with broken glass set in cement. We didn’t have umpires. Any disputes re dismissals for LBW, stumpings or caught were settled by, ‘Tha’s out’. ‘Ah’m not’. ‘Tha is’. ‘Ah’m not’. Whoever could shout loudest usually won the day but occasionally we resorted to ‘three bat handles’. When this ruling was invoked, the batsman turned the bat upside down and tried to hit the ball with the handle. Not easy! Are the lads still playing cricket in the park?
I don’t think anyone of the players went on to play in county cricket but a few made it into village sides and school teams. There will be a few out there that can remember those days and perhaps they can add their memories to supplement mine. Players included Frank ’Spank’ Blackie, Tony Ashurst, Michael Peat, Peter Barsby, [good all rounder and probably our best player] David Brook, [slow leg break bowler] Brian Wilcock, [fast bowler] Peter Wilcock, [another slow bowler] Billy Shuttleworth, Alan Caterall, Norman Baxter, [a slow left arm bowler who always likened himself to Johnny Wardle who was at the time playing for Yorkshire and England] David Baxter [a great slogger and the best at settling disputes by shouting], Michael Lynch, Dan Lynch, David Palfreman, Roger Barrett and myself. Anyone else?
Neil Palfreman
Sutton in Craven
Thursday, July 15, 2010 11:06
Sorry Denis, it was me not David who played.
One of the bats we used was mine and it was coated with pigskin to protect the wood. David Brook my brother-in-law just to spin the ball a prodigious amount, but very slowly. He also used to walk from the top park gates on his hands the full length of the park.
Denis Marshall Pickles
Thursday, July 15, 2010 14:39
I know that Neil. I remembered as soon as I pressed 'send'. You've got to make allowances for age. I remember the bat too. I think you used to say that it was covered in elephant skin. So have I missed anyone out? Yes, I've bethowt missen, Peterr Boothman. Michael Garnett, Peter Garnett and Rex Whiteoak. Did Geoffrey Happs and Kenneth Bailey join in sometimes? I have a clear vision of David Brook's bowling style and the way he used to push his glasses back on his nose before delivering each ball. I wasn't aware that he used to walk such great distances on his hands, but there again, times were hard and I suppose that was one way of preserving shoe leather!

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