Home > Memories, newspaper stories > The Holiday – part 3 of 3

The Holiday – part 3 of 3

Here is a bit more derived from the microfiche:

The weather for the Durham Miner’s Gala of 1950 was a bit dodgy. There was some fairly heavy rain before mid-day and it made some people a bit anxious for the event. Some of them went home and gave it up. Later the rain held off only for it to return at about 8.30 pm. Lots of pretty dresses and new suits got soaked but many people refused to be down hearted about the conditions and enjoyed themselves anyway!

Ushaw Moor Cricket Club got its first league win of the 1950 season by beating Craghead. At the time the Moor were second off bottom and Craghead were below them so it was not much to bugle about… In fact Ushaw Moor’s league record as a result of that win was Won 1 Drawn 5 Lost 12.

1950 was the year of Lancelot Hill’s funeral. He had reached 54 years of age. In his time he had played cricket for both New Brancepeth and Esh Winning, as well as briefly holding the job of secretary of Ushaw Moor Working Men’s Club.

That is that for microfiche and now I want to move on to my matchday experience of Ushaw Moor v Langley Park held, not in 1950, but on 17/7/2010! The weather was not bad. It was sunny although darkish clouds threatened to move  from a position above what would have been New Brancepeth Pit and plonk themselves directly over Ushaw Moor’s cricket pitch. In the event the weather was all talk and never moved at all.

Speaking of movement I saw no evidence of Langley Park’s opening bowlers achieving movement. They were straight up and down. David Jones, the young lad bowling from the Station Road end, was in my view medium fast; that would have been ok but unfortunately he failed to get any swing and too often failed to force the openers  to play the ball early on. There were one too many full tosses from him. I had sympathy for this young bowler and told him so said  when, at the end of an over, he drank water from the boundary near the the seat I occupied. My sympathy was felt because of the uneven and slightly downhill pitch he had to negotiate as he ran in to bowl. His opening bowling partner was probably deserving of the accolade fast bowler and sometimes got some lift out of the pitch; in my younger days I would have found one or two of his deliveries  a bit awkward to negotiate. To me the Ushaw Moor professional batsman looked good, whilst he was at the wicket, but this had not been his season for meaningful runs – so far -however  there is still just about enough time for him to make an impression on the committee!

At one point I retired to the bar for a pint and an opportunity to view the team photographs of yesteryear. It was a bit strange to see a picture of my lovely grandad looking so young. I could see that it was Mr Richard Wallace Hope but he was destined to put a few pounds on like all of us!   

Then it happened. I asked Adrian the barman to tell me who the man was sitting on a scooter at the bottom end of the pitch, well behind the boundary line. When he told me that it was Alfie Gillespie [thanks to Adrian for correcting  my errors relating to Alfie including my ‘Harry Gillespie’ typo] I could not believe my luck. I had heard so much about him from my uncle Norman Hope. Alfie was a lovely batsman – technically correct and reluctant to hit the ball in the air [although Bradman was in a different league he had the same philosophy as Alfie]. I went over to talk to him and he very kindly agreed to a chat. He is now in his 89th year and a bit deaf but his brain is still sharp. Alfie suffered a bad injury whilst fielding on the boundary [bottom end of the boundary – graveyard end]. It very nearly was graveyard for Alfie because as soon as the pints of blood were pumped into him he needed more! It was an unexpected pleasure to meet the great man and I will never forget it. As our chat was coming to an end he pointed to two gentlemen standing about forty five yards away near the boundary slightly to our right  and he named them: Raymond Ayre and Frank Procter! I enjoyed a chat with them and they showed me great consideration. Brilliant stuff. If my memory serves me right Mr Proctor informed me that it was his boundary shot that had accidentally hit Alfie all those years ago! So Alfie must have been behind the boundary and watching his colleagues bat.

I had several afternoon meals at Cafe Neenas’ in Chester-Le-Street. It has a lovely atmosphere, the meals are generously portioned and the prices are reasonable. The customers  I came across were interesting worthies; no doubt they all have a story to tell and given more time I may well have heard those stories in more detail!

I popped in and saw John and Elsie Vasey on the last day of my holiday and enjoyed their company, even though it was not for as long as I would have liked. They have a history of hard work and consideration for other people and those are values not to be dismissed lightly.  

Well that was 3 of 3 but there is one more article to complete [as soon as I can] and it is a bit about Ushaw Moor Football Club of 1950 vintage.

WB

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  1. Adrian Traylen
    July 23, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Sorry to correct you Wilf, but it was Alfie Gillespie (not Harry). Hes actually come down the club on his mobility scooter for a couple of beers tonight, he does great for 86.

  2. wilfb
    August 1, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    This has already been sorted on Facebook. I thanked Adrian, conveyed my gentle apology to the lovely Alfie [via Adrian] and corrected the article.

  3. Adrian Traylen
    August 1, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Seems we were both wrong about Alfies age too Wilf, he told me today, over his John Smiths, that he is in his 89th year, amazing.

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