Monday, April 27th, 2020

MORE MEMBERS MEMORIES AND UNIQUE FRIENDLINESS OF BLACKFINCH NEW ROAD

The Worcestershire CCC memories of members and supporters are continuing to pour into Blackfinch New Road.

We requested for you to relive personal recollections of the County during our proud history.

A big thank you to everyone who has taken the trouble to send us their memories and we will endeavour to publish these in the forthcoming days and weeks.

Our memories today span stories from supporters highlighting their memories in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

But we start with an email from Andrew Jenkins, the current Chairman of the Worcestershire Supporters’ Association and life-long supporter, who says players may come and go but the uniqueness friendliness of Blackfinch New Road never changes.

Andrew writes: “There are many cricketing memories of New Road – Andrew Hall’s over, Jack Shantry’s Match, Joe Leach’s three wickets with the first three balls of a game, Graeme Hick’s 1000 runs before the end of May.

“There have been the many excellent overseas players – Vanburn Holder who seemed to run in all day, Glenn McGrath, Kapil Dev and, to me, the ‘forgotten’ player at (Blackfinch) New Road in Glenn Turner, arguably the best overseas player Worcestershire CCC have ever had.

“Perhaps my abiding cricketing memory is seeing Tom Graveney, Turner and Hick all score their hundredth hundreds.

“I could go on about games and individual feats of players – but to me New Road is about more than just cricket. It is a place where memories are made.

“To me there is something special about New Road and it has an atmosphere all of its own.

“That applies whether it’s the laidback days of County Championship Cricket, when people wander around the ground chatting, even nodding off for a while, or waiting for the Ladies Pavilion to start serving tea and cakes to the excitement, colour and noise of T20 cricket.

“This will be my 60th year of watching cricket at New Road and I hope to emulate the likes of Anne Turvey and Alex Mackie and Anne Turvey who are into their 70th years of watching cricket at New Road.

“Players come and go and buildings are replaced, and this is inevitable, but the one thing that never changes is the friendliness of people at New Road.”

Simon Barton’s everlasting memory began when knocked unconscious playing cricket on the Blackfinch New Road outfield but says subsequent events made it an unforgettable experience which reflected the personality and character of the club which remains to this day.

He writes: “Our picturesque setting is second to none but this has always been complemented by the gentleness of the environment and the kindness of the people. It’s this kindness which has prompted me to write of when I was 11-12 years old in the late 1960s.

“As was our custom we played cricket on the outfield during lunch. I ran to field a ball unaware I was encroaching on the adjacent game – where the batsman missed the delivery but hit me across the head.

“I don’t know for how long I was unconscious but I came round lying on the wooden benches at the New Road end with (Act of Kindness I) somebody applying a bag of ice to my nose which had taken the brunt of blow.

“I was shepherded up the pavilion steps feeling like the batsman retiring hurt from being hit by a bouncer and Bill Powell, the ‘masseur’, (Act of Kindness II) looked me over and checked me out.

“The afternoon session started with Worcestershire batting and (Act of Kindness III) some of the players wandered in to chat and cheer me up including Ted Hemsley, always a favourite, as well as of all people my hero Basil D’Oliveira.

“Meanwhile, (Act of Kindness IV) somebody contacted my father when playing golf in Droitwich and he turned up and entered by the rear door of the pavilion, wandered by mistake into the main ‘home’ dressing room to come face to face with Tom Graveney having just been dismissed and exclaiming that ‘it is moving around like a ****** banana out there’.

“Dad beat a hasty retreat, found me and got me patched up at the hospital. The season ended, Christmas approached and I returned home from school one day (Act of Kindness V) to find a parcel with a personal letter from (Club Secretary) Joe Lister hoping I had recovered, wishing me a Merry Christmas and enclosing a copy of that season’s Year Book.

“We all respected Mr Lister’s firm authority and I have always been touched by his kindness and thoughtfulness to remember in this way one child’s accident from months earlier. So typical of Worcestershire.”

Bill Stevens recollections of Worcestershire CCC go back more than 70 years to the immediate post Second World War period.

He writes: “My first trips to (Blackfinch) New Road were during the 1947 season and I remember Laddie Outschoorn scoring 214 against Northants that summer – and from then on I was hooked.

“I have a wonderful black and white picture on the wall behind me of the 1948 side led by Bob Wyatt and I sat on the grass behind the boundary rope for the visit of the Australians that summer.

“Arthur Morris and Sidney Barnes opened followed by ‘The Don’ (Don Bradman) who allowed himself to be bowled by Peter Jackson for the ‘modest’ score of 107! Charles Palmer scored 80 plus for Worcestershire.

“One or two County games from that era remain great memories, especially when we beat Nottinghamshire when needing about 140 in about 40 minutes.

“Don Kenyon and George Dews opened, and Don hit the first ball over the old green scoreboard. It was a good stand and, when George was out, Roly Jenkins ran all the way to the wicket and helped Don finish a wonderful match.

“At that time Surrey reigned supreme and I recall Peter Loader dismantling us for less than 30! But I also remember Roly Jenkins taking a hat trick in each innings against that Surrey side. Surely that hasn’t been done very often?

“I was also present at the first Gillette Cup final in 1963 when we lost to Sussex by 19 runs – a very sad day but I was a little older by then and could almost cope!

“Worcestershire CCC is a a great club, and if I didn’t live in London I would spend a lot of time at the County Ground. I’ve got some wonderful memories and these are just scratching the surface.”

Keith Hall has gone back to the 1950s when given time off school to watch Worcestershire CCC in action against the Australian touring team.

He writes: “Your request for supporters’ memories took me back to 1956. I was in my first year at the Royal Grammar School, having already become a junior member of Worcestershire CCC and a keen follower.

“In early May the Australian touring team opened their tour, as was traditional for many years, at Worcester.

“This was a major occasion, and we were given a half day off school on the second day of the match so that we could attend (not something that would happen today!). I went with many of my school friends and can vividly recall the action.

“Worcestershire had been dismissed for 90 on the first day, with Ray Lindwall leading the Australian attack. I caught the second day’s action as the Australians were reduced to 166-5 (three wickets to Jack Flavell).

“They were rescued by an astonishing innings, which is what I recall most clearly, by Richie Benaud. His long career as the leading Aussie spinner makes it difficult to recall that his early test career was as a genuine all-rounder.

“On that May afternoon he hit the Worcestershire attack to every corner of the ground, including, I remember, a huge straight six into the New Road. Jack Flavell eventually dismissed him for 160, but, assisted by a century stand for the eighth wicket with the captain, Ian Johnson, Benaud’s innings raised the Australian total to 438.

“I remember getting home from school the next day (three day matches in those days, of course) and waiting for the radio news of the match result (no instant communications then!).

“I found that Worcestershire had salvaged a dramatic draw with nine wickets down, thanks to an unbeaten century by Peter Richardson. Great memories.

“My memory was also prompted by an amazing clip on YouTube, where an old news film shows about a minute of the action from that memorable match.”

*If you have any memories of your own of Worcestershire CCC then we want to hear from you and don’t hesitate to contact John Curtis of the Worcestershire CCC website at info@wccc.co.uk