Jan 14 2019

Me, Cricket and Sconny Purcell (Parf Eleven)

I was fielding in my usual suicide position of silly mid on, when one of our
bowlers (who shall be nameless at this time) let go a loose full toss.
The Bedes batsman( whose name I never knew) smashed it with all his strength
at me standing five yards away. I could neither jump, duck, run nor call for help
and though I threw my hands down in an effort to protect myself, I was too late
the ball hit me like a rocket about two inches about the nether regions
and I doubled over in pain. I stayed like that for what seemed an eternity
until I heard someone shout “Great catch Shonner”. I Iooked down to see
that when I had thrown my hands across, my arm had lodged the ball
nice and tidily in the pit of my stomach. I had no idea it was there. Ignoring
all my pain, I simply picked it out and held it up. There was a look of astonishment
on the batsman’s face as he walked past me on his way out, but he couldn’t have been half
as astonished as I was .Yes great catch Shonner.

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Jan 11 2019

Me,Cricket and Sconny Purcell (Part Ten)

 

 

I hurtled my first ball down the pitch quicker than any ball I had hurtled
before straight at the off stump. The next thing the ball was flying high in the air
towards the long on boundary and Sconny came charging up the pitch as
fast as his little legs would carry him with a wide grin on his face. I was horrified
until out of the corner of my eye running round the boundary edge and rapidly
closing in on in on the ball I saw Stan Waterhouse ” Catch it Stan, Catch it .” I shouted .I have to say that Stan did
indeed make a great effort but could only just get one hand to the ball and it
spilled to the ground. I remember I turned to Sammy Butterworth and without
thinking said, rather cruelly now I suppose” If that had been a rugby ball
he would have caught it with his eyes shut ” Stan being extremely good
at rugby, but the chance to remove Sconny Purcell first ball had gone.
The Bedes started to play well after that and the score moved along too
quickly for comfort. But then Lady Luck smiled on the game again and
this time she smiled on me. One of those things happened which either
wins or loses matches for you depending upon which side you are on.

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Jan 09 2019

Me,Cricket and Sconny Purcell (Part Nine)

 

I don’t recall much about the first few overs except to say that I was still not out
but struggling for a bit of form. Then a piece of good fortune, Pat Davenport
came on to bowl and any nerves I was struggling with disappeared on the
spot. I knew all about Pat, as we practiced together all the time. The last delivery
of his over was a full toss which came straight at my body. I moved out of the way
and instinctively swung my bat at the same time.The ball could have gone anywhere,
but it shot like lightning towards the boundary for four. Most of the kids on the benches
roared their approval except for one voice from the Bedes benches which said
” What a dastardly little fellow he is “. Now full of confidence, I was on my way.
In no time at all we were 38 for 2 and Sammy Butterworth said that we were playing
so well we might reach 100. When I had scored 21, I was clean bowled by a fluke
of a ball which must have gone through the middle of my bat before it hit the stumps.
It was delivered by a dead lucky kid called Purcell. In the end we finished on a total of 77,
which included a towering shot from Mucker Murray which landed only a few yards
from me on the pavillion steps. Although short of the 100 it was still an astronomical
score for junior cricket.
When the Bedes came into bat they didn’t start well and lost an early wicket or two.
I don’t know exactly when Sconny Purcell came to the crease or what the score was.
All I know is that all at once he was standing there bat in hand. and I had to bowl to him..
I knew that this kid had to go before he got started.

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Jan 08 2019

Me,Cricket and Sconny Purcell (Part eight)

We had one more game to play after that against the National School and If we won we would
go to the championship play-off against St. Bedes at the Widnes Cricket club ground.
Win it we did and the stage was set Us and The Bedes, death or glory at Beaconsfield road.
On the great afternoon, me and my team marched proudly to Widnes Cricket Club and
half of Simms Cross School marched behind us. Sammy Butterworth kept telling us to remain
calm and not to get too carried away and this worked fine right up to the bottom of
Beaconsfield Road when he suddenly said to me ” This will be a good pitch today
Shone, If you win the toss, elect to Bat first. ” What was he saying, what was he
trying to do ? give them a fifty run start ?.” But Sir ” I said, ” Wouldn’t it be better if we
fielded first, all the team want to field first ? ” ” Just do as you are told lad, just do as
you are told ” That was all I needed, he was sending us in to face St.Bedes with our hands
tied behind our backs.
Half an hour later, me and Sconny Purcell confronted each other at the side
of the pavillion I tossed the coin and he called ” Tails ” and tails it was. ” We’ll field ”
he said “We’ll Field ” Yes I bet you will I thought, and we had lost the first round, but
at least my team didn’t have to hear me say ” We’ll Bat ”

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Jan 07 2019

Me, Cricket amd Sconny Purcell (Part Seven)

Wickets fell,but runs still trickled along,it was going to be very,very close.
Then it came to the final crunch. The last pair were at the wicket and there
was a crowd of people, mums,dads.teachers etc. surrounding the
scorers when the message eventually came through that the Paddys were
44 for nine. “Right Shone ” Sammy said, ” You can bowl the next over ”
I was scared stiff .I had always been supremely confident in my own ability, but
they only needed two runs to win and after the Bedes match, I wasn’t quite
so certain anymore. However, I was captain and still supposedly the, best bowler
so it all came down to me. At that precise moment I would have given anything
for Micko Mckenna to have been in my shoes
The first two balls.were even, they didn’t score and I didn’t take wicket. The third
ball I pitched a bit short and it hit the top of the bat and lobbed gently towards
the ground in front of the batsman. What happened then all seemed to be in slow
motion but I was priveliged to witness one of the greatest one handed diving
catches of all time. The ball was only a few inches from the floor when Woof
Bower whom I judged to be about four or five yards away launched himself
through the air,but he got his hand underneath it and it stuck.I remember screaming
out in delight and me and Woof hugged each other like long lost brothers. We had scraped
home by on run.
Later as we walked to the bus stop Sammy Butterworth came along
side of me an said ” Well Shone, do you have anything to say about that little Lot ”
” Yes sir ” I answered .” I’m glad Bower and McKenna play for us “

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Jan 05 2019

Me Cricket and Sconny Purcell (Part Six)

I couldn’t believe it the mighty Bedes ,Sconny Purcell and all, had been
beaten by a bunch of Paddy kids from West Bank,we had another chance.
What made it more exciting was that in six days time, we had to play that same
bunch of Paddy Kids and we had to win!
When we arrived at St. Patrick’s on the following tuesday afternoon I could
see why the Bede’s had lost, the Paddys played on a cinder track.
It would be the same for both teams but it was going to be in the lap
of the gods and so it proved in one of the most tense games I ever played in.
We had a bad start. Once again, I lost the toss and we had to bat first.
I didn’t play very well on the cinders and was out for scoring only three runs.
none of the recognised batsmen played well and it was only because of
some lusty hitting by the tail enders that we managed a reasonably respectable
total of 45. The Paddy’s didn’t start much better than us but then they commenced
to put things together and before long they were 30 something for 4. We were
almost dead and buried. St.Patricks were a better team than I given them credit for
Then Sammy Butterworth played a master stroke.He took off Mucker Murray who
had not been bowling well ,and replaced him with Micko Mckenna (what a nice lad Micko was)
and Micko produced what the pundits would now describe as a superb spell
of sustained aggressive bowling and he dragged us right back into it

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Jan 02 2019

Me,Cricket,and Sconny Purcell (Part Five)

I just stood there, and for about ten seconds or so I must have died, then I wanted
to be sick..” Sammy immediately said ” Alright Shone, get your self ready “, but for the
first time in my life, I really didn’t feel like playing cricket.
Not that it mattered much on the day anyway,because as Pat Davenport had prophesied
the Bede’s murdered us or at least Sconny Purcell murdered us. He went through
our batting like a dose of salts with the ball and then proceeded to hit our bowling.
including mine, to all parts of the field, the sort of stuff from which legends are born.
Afterwards, I walked home with Pat Davenport we were still best friends and we talked
and talked and talked . At least, he talked and talked.
“I told you he kept saying “I told you. ” Yes he had told me and there was nothing much
left for me to say, I could never remember being so unhappy for so long all in one day
When I went to bed that night I had only one crumb of comfort. We had batted first
and as every schoolboy knew in those days, you never batted first unless you had to.
You fielded first so you could put ” The Fix ” on the opposition batsmen,but we had batted first.
So that was it, two games to go in the season and it was game set and match to
St.Bedes,.champions elect. It remained like that for some time and then suddenly it
was very much as you were., Sammy Butterworth who I had now forgiven, came into
the classroom one day and wrote on the blackboard ” St.Bedes have lost to St.Patricks ”
We had been thrown a lifeline !

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Jan 01 2019

Me,Cricket and Sconny Purcell (Part Four)

 

Half an hour later ,as the team got up to leave, I automatically got up with them.
“Sit down Shone ” said Sammy “You are not going anywhere ” and off they went
without me ” I had taught Sammy Butterworth all he knew about cricket and
He had left me behind.
I sat dumbfounded for about five minutes and the tears began to run down
my face. Then Frank Barton the headmaster sent for me.I stood head bowed
in Mr. Barton’s study while he read the riot act to me about the need
for discipline in the school. He asked me if there was any good reason for me
to play cricket and not be punished. instead. I just shook my head and said ” No Sir.”
He then offered me a choice,. I could sit in school for the rest of the afternoon
or have the cane and play in the match, I chose the cane. He then said ” Go after
Mr. Butterworth and tell him I said you could play “.
I ran all the way to Green Lane where the match was due to take place and arrived
exhausted just a few minutes before the start. I blurted out to Sammy ” Mr. Barton said I could play sir ”
Sammy Looked at me with a deadpan face and said” I don’t know If I want you in my team now
Shone. ” I don’t remember my first sexual encounter as well as I remember that incident in my
life.

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Dec 31 2018

Me,Cricket and Sconny Purcell (Part three )

I lived in Edwin Street at the time and was great friends with Pat Davenport who lived around the corner from me in Albert
Road and who also played for St. Bedes.Every day he rammed home to me just how they
they were going to murder us because playing for them would be one Sconny Purcell.
This bothered me not one little bi So what? Who the hell was Sconny Purcell ?
After all, I would be playing for us, wouldn’t I ? Let the Bedes worry about that !
There are two things I remember about the day of that match. One was the
game itself of course and the other was a more vivid incident which happened at my school
just prior to it.
Sammy Butterworth was my class teacher and also in charge of the cricket
team. There had been a lot of talking in class that day and Sammy said the next person
he had to speak to would be severely dealt with. About thirty seconds later ,someone
tapped me on the shoulder from behind and at what must have been the same time, as I turned
around ,Sammy looked up from his desk . Before I could open my mouth to protest
my innocence, Sammy as calmly as you like you like ” Right.Shone,you are not playing today ”
Well he had to be joking hadn’t he? I was captain of the team wasn’t I ?. They’d be lost without
me wouldn’t they ?

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Dec 28 2018

Me,Cricket And Sconny Purcell (Part Two)

This team of mine was brilliant and most of the names I can still remember like it was yesterday. “Woof Bower”, Johnny Leach,” “Clanny ” McFarlane, Alan Fallis, Colin Fairhurst, George Cain, “Mucker” Murray, “Micko ” Mckenna, Stan Waterhouse, and I think the last one was Billy Faulkner. ( If I have made a mistake with Billy, I offer my apologies to the genltleman whose name should have been here).
Our first match of the season was against Farnworth and I have to say that we won it quite comfortably, so comfortably in fact that we been a bit quicker we could have caught the same bus back home after it had turned round at Cronton. (I live in the Farnworth area nowadays and hope this won’t mean the occasional brick though my window).
Our following two games against St Maries and Warrington Road were much tougher affairs but we managed to come though unscathed. The next match we were due to play was against the also undefeated St.Bedes.

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