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Laker And Lock

I recall a lovely family holiday by the seaside in Redcar back in the 1950s. Then the minute we arrived back in Ushaw Moor on went the television so that I could witness the destruction of the Australian cricket team by all spinning all confusing Jim Laker. His spinning partner Tony Lock turned the page for him and even took the other wicket; 19 to Jim and one to Tony.

The point is, I am slowly going senile. I can recall top spinners of the time: Laker, Lock, Wardle and those brief fireflies Ramadhin and Valentine yet I cannot name one current England spinner, even though I am still very interested in the English cricket team.

For that matter I cannot name one current Australian cricket player, yet I admire them. Frightening! Except that it is not frightening because my defence mechanism tells me that life is utterly ridiculous and therefore I should stop worrying about key words missing from my vocabulary, such as bucket and spade, and get on and enjoy the seaside.

Back in the 1950s umpires at the Ushaw Moor ground would wear  very long white coats that were more suited to selling ice creams, especially so on hot days when the sun blazed down on to the pitch. Did the area of the pitch at the Station Road end slope down towards the wickets then? It certainly did a few seasons ago and it provided some problems for the young Langley Park opening bowler.

My grandmother [the one that would not have been impressed by Gene Kelly] was one of the tea ladies at the club for many years. Ham sandwiches, salmon sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, buttered scones with lashings of jam to spare and all provided for MEN. No women cricketers, and why? No doubt because of a total lack of imagination by a collection of people that included teachers, league officials and well….girls.

When my grandparents celebrated 50 years of marriage the local paper took the opportunity to give them a write up: about 250 words devoted to dear grandfather yet Mrs Hope…..made the teas at Ushaw Moor Cricket Club.




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