No, I'm not a cricket nerd but I am an enthusiast for cricket, preferably of the local variety. Schooldays spent playing 'Owzat' very well but real cricket very badly ("You can't see, Garside", that's your problem" said Mr Humphreys, a Language teacher cum cricket coach at New Mills Grammar School, referring to my 1950's specs) led naturally to Birch Vale Cricket Club where I became scorer for the 1st X1 in about 1960.
Birch Vale were a (my) family club - and still are to this day. Generation follows generation. Families such as Hargreaves, Hyde, Medlock, Hibbert, Johnson, Burns, Isherwood, Sharp ….. And Birch Vale was instrumental in forming the Derbyshire & Cheshire Cricket League in 1952. Just ask my uncle Ken (Medlock). He became the League's third President and is still going strong after serving 50+ years as Birch Vale's President.
I was a lousy cricketer, couldn't bowl and was nearly as bad with the bat. I did play occasionally with the 2nd team and at some stage I thought I'd retired, but when I was about 40 I played again, fairly regularly for a few years. Still couldn't bat, didn't bowl but for some strange reason I did captain the 2nd team for two or three games. Dammit! I should have concentrated on my Mike Brearley talents much earlier. I do recall running out Frank Wilson in his final game (I think) when he dared to challenge my arm at cover trying for a second run.
Then in 1989 I agreed to become Assistant Secretary (Statistics) - not knowing what was involved. But I did have a computer.
Why did I do it? In a word - satisfaction. You have to accept there is a considerable amount of work. I managed it whilst working full-time for about twelve years. Semi-retirement meant this work complemented my available time.
There were two moments in the League's calendar to look forward to eagerly. The end of September when you could put your feet up, hibernate or whatever, and have a good rest. And then come April and Easter and the whole pleasurable grind came round again.
Stuart has been a wonderful servant, not just to Birch Vale & Thornsett CC and the Derbyshire & Cheshire League, but to cricket in general. The Society is pleased to have this opportunity to thank Stuart for his 'Service to Cricket' and present him with the 'Norman Harris Trophy'.
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