April 11 2018: hanging offence

Up to the oxters in mud, yesterday’s blog turned to cricket instead. “It’s often said that Test Match Special is more interesting when rain stops play,” writes Peter Berry encouragingly.

Both he and Don Clarke add the future West Indies captain Jimmy Adams, affectionately remembered at Eppleton — Hetton-le-Hole – to the list of overseas test players who enjoyed league cricket in the North-East.

Don also includes Courtney Walsh, a big man who played for Tynedale, adding the perhaps apocryphal story of an admiring (if mischievous) tea lady who asked him if he were built proportionately.

“If I was built proportionately, ma’am, I’d be ten feet tall,” said Courtney.

It further recalls the story of Seamus O’Connell, centre forward for Bishop Auckland and Chelsea, who – perhaps befitting a cattle dealer – was something of a party animal. At a gathering in London, it’s said, Seamus chose to walk naked from the shower through a room full of guests.

A rather grand lady took a quick look. “Hung like that,” she said, “you should trot.”

Steve Jones, like Peter Berry a welcome first-time correspondent, spent time on Nevis last year with Derick Parry, whose 12 tests for the West Indies were built around ten summers at Horden.  Still he never properly acclimatised to the Durham coast.

Derick, says Steve, now runs his own car hire company and is still revered by fellow Nevistians. “He talks fonly of North-East folk and of how many times he had to buy or acquire a top coat, even at the height of summer.

“He also recalled that the food and drink were something of a novelty to a young West Indian.”

Steve, incidentally, is now in Cambridgeshire, supports Histon FC, but was brought up in Whitley Bay and has fond memories of big Billy Wright terrorising opposing goalkeepers.

There’s also an email from Ebac Northern League president George Courtney, who probably reffed big Billy, not just taking the sun in Tenerife but attaching several bronzed images as proof.

It’s what us Shildon lads would call schadenfreude, though in Spennymoor it’s just taking the mickey.

So far as football’s concerned, all tonight’s matches are again postponed. As probably they say on Test Match Special, rain stopped play.

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