Lancashire Greats – Akram, Engineer & Lloyd

Whilst I’ve always been a supporter of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club (because I’m a Nott’s lad) I have equally always had great affection for Lancashire (I’ve lived in the Lancs since the the age of 6) so the video linked below unsurprisingly caught my eye on You Tube:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxT6J0oxoaY

Hearing David Lloyd talk about Lancashire’s 3 greatest overseas players – Farokh Engineer, Clive Lloyd & Wasim Akram reminded me that Notts too had 3 similar greats – Gary Sobers, Clive Rice & Richard Hadlee.

The demise of Nottinghamshire CCC with regard to ‘Red Ball’ cricket has been astonishing – They’ve not won a County Championship match since June 2018 and seemingly counting! Then out of the blue Notts post 268 for 2 against Lancs on the opening day of the current Bob Willis Trophy match at Trent Bridge yesterday. But sadly all I could think of at close of play was how can Notts contrive to lose from such a commanding position? Having been in seemingly winning positions against both Derbyshire & Yorkshire this season Notts have chucked it all away each time so you can bet that Lancs will expecting the same to apply……..

Sadly there are no big names in either squad for this 4 day match but then again county cricket rarely sees the best from across the world playing these days. 365 day a year international cricket could well be killing county cricket off……….

And what did you do and how did you feel about lockdown?

The Good

When the roads were quiet and building sites closed the world seemed more peaceful and you could hear the birds singing – I enjoyed listening to the silence and the birds.

With traffic hardly moving our polluted world smelled cleaner – I enjoyed that cleaner air

People were out walking country lanes in significant numbers – I envisaged we had gone back to the 1950’s (NO not in a Brexiteer way!)

Cyclists everywhere, goodness me cycling took off with the combination of more free time and generally good weather – I participated but then I’ve been a fitness and leisure cyclist for quite a number of years.

The Bad

Isolated shielding people alone in their houses – I felt so sorry for them and tried to help where I could

Speeding traffic became a really big issue because although there were many less vehicles on our roads the speeds they were doing were frightening – I called on both Merseyside and Lancashire Police (via Twitter) to get a grip but I guess my pleas fell on deaf ears.

Doing DIY became a big challenge as everything had to be ordered on line and either picked up later or it was delivered days, often many days, later – I found this so frustrating when I wanted to get on with various household jobs.

I missed the English cricket season so much – I watched a couple of old games repeated on TV but spring and summer is cricket to me, oh how I missed thwack of willow on leather – until today that is.

Cricket returns to England – Oh to see Bishen Bedi bowl again

Of all the things I’ve missed during lockdown cricket has been the thing I’ve missed most. Indeed, the other day, whilst out cycling I came upon a chap wearing a magnificent Sikh Turban and I wanted to shout out ‘you remind me of the magnificent Bishen Bedi’ but fortunately for the poor chap and indeed myself I kept my cricketing thoughts to myself.

But that chance encounter led me to look up that greatest of all Indian spin bowlers on You Tube and I found this video where Bishen talks about one of my all time greatest cricketers – Gary Sobers:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXOOH9xufO0

and this one of the great man in action:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zdvMOu7ovw&t=18s

The art of the spin bowler in cricket is often lost in all the noise about fast bowling and and great batsmen but at its best spin bowling can be utterly beguiling.

1981 – A County Championship win for Notts

I recently purchased this commemorative plate via ebay and as a Notts lad who loves cricket I’m delighted to have it for display in our house. Whether my good lady shares this enthusiasm is a different matter though!

This was a strong side with Randall, Hadlee, Rice, Robinson, Hemmings, French and Hassan all being top class cricketers. Those who know me will realise how much I enjoyed watching Derek Randall bat and field but I always felt that Kenyan-born Basharat Hassan was often overlooked as a batsman of some considerable class on his day.

Oh for an English Cricket Season

Liverpool Cricket Club’s grand pavilion

I think I’ve mentioned before about my love of cricket and how much I am missing it because of our lockdown. But what I’m actually missing even more possibly than the cricket itself is the BBC’s Test Match Special commentary. And then I came across this (it’s an emotional ride but worth it) on BBC Sounds:-

www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06j2f7j

I remember this particular interview by Jonathan Agnew very well and thought at the time it portrayed cricket so well and in the way I recall it from my childhood onwards. You see most of my cricket experiences have actually been via listening to it on the radio. Yes I played a bit and I go to watch a County Championship match when there’s one on in Southport or Liverpool but cricket is Test Match Special to me. And yes my Dad and I would usually turn off the TV sound and substitute the superior one of the radio, but of course this was when cricket was shown live on the BBC.

Sunny Southport’s Cricket Match

I’m reminded of a book written to celebrate the life of the BBC’s famous cricket presenter Brian Johnson entitled ‘Summers Will Never be the Same’ and hope that in the context of us having no cricket at all so far this season that summers will be the same one day.

Southport – When Patrick the fastest bowler in the world bounced into town

Sunny Southport’s Cricket Ground

My love of cricket will be known to people who drop into this blog-site and that one of my Nottinghamshire cricketing heroes is the legendary fast bowler Harold Larwood – we both originate from the same district of Notts, Kirkby-In-Ashfield. But being a Notts lad exiled on Merseyside my cricket watching has been Lancashire based via catching County Championship matches at Aigburth (Liverpool) and Birkdale (Southport) for many a year.

The other day, You Tube, suggested a video to me about Patrick Patterson, probably the fastest bowler of modern day cricket. I watched said video (linked below) which has more than a tinge of sadness about it as seemingly Patrick can’t really remember much about his playing days.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpT5TPUmeCQ&t=220s

And what’s all this got to do with Southport? Well Patrick played for Lancashire from 1984 to 1990 and from checking the LCCC website archives I identified that he played at Southport’s Trafalgar Road ground in August 1984 against Northants and in July 1987 against Warwickshire. I was at one of those matches, I may have been at both, but my memory is hazy as to whether I was there in 1984 & 1987. Chances are that I was there with my old chum Chris Reilly and probably other Bootle Inland Revenue colleagues as many of the male members of staff would often take a day off to watch the cricket when Lancs were playing locally.

But what my memory is very clear about is the bowling of Patrick at the ground on the occasion I saw him. I recall that he started his run-up outside the playing area i.e. beyond the boundary rope within the crowd. He bowled incredibly fast and with Trafalgar Road being a smallish ground when he bowled a bouncer which evaded batsman and keeper it could and easily did make the boundary for 4 byes/wides!

On a sunny day there’s nothing quite like watching County Championship Cricket at Trafalgar Road and it is a matter of some sadness and frustration that Lancashire seem reluctant to make it an annual fixture of recent seasons. Here’s a link to the matches that have been played at the ground, the last one being 2018:-

cricketarchive.com/Lancashire/Grounds/751_f.html

Note:- Click on the photos to enlarge them. Neither were taken when Patrick Paterson was playing I might add.