Chapter Thirteen……….Early-twentieth century The Golden Age

Cricket reached a degree of perfection during the Golden Age.   The game was positive and pulsating, eventful and exciting.   If there was a considerable volume of watery milk the cream was rich.   Batting ranged from delicate pastels of elegant fluency to garish hues of thunderous hitting.   A battery of pro bowlers took up the challenge.   Bowling was more varied.   Leg-break and ‘googly’ cast a spell on batsmen and crowd alike.   Fields glistened with brilliant fielders.  A rich tapestry to captivate both humble labourer and, occasionally at Norton, W.G.Grace and the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII.[1]

Hitherto only Mewburn had scored ten centuries.   Bob Bousfield surpassed that landmark followed, in less time, by E.W.Elliot, C.Y.Adamson and C.L.Townsend.   All four scored twenty or more hundreds.   A sublime quartet who lit five golden summers from the year Townsend arrived until Elliot departed in 1907.   Five gilt summers when spectators luxuriated in half their combined output of 87 centuries, seven of them over 150, one a triple hundred.   Yet none seemed particularly concerned about statistics.   Adamson once declared on 99, confessed he was unaware of his score.   It was a romantic period for cricket.   Adamson followed two league hundreds for Durham City with another in the same season for Norton on return from honeymoon.   Such their eminence, such their desire to play purely for love of the game that next year Charlie flitted back and forth like a gay Lothario to play for both.   This the man who provided City’s teas on Saturday and bowled W.G.Grace mid-week.

Except that he wore long-johns under his creams, Charles Young Adamson was an all-rounder of Olympian stature.   He made his City debut as a 15-year-old at Durham School.   Fleet of foot with splendid eye, Adamson was a dashing stroke-maker whose exhilarating pull shot drew gasps of wonder from the crowd.   He made eighteen league hundreds, 23 in all    He was an artful slow left-arm bowler (“Charlie had them fairly up a tree”) and not afraid to concede runs in quest of wickets.   A century and 9 for 43 in one match demonstrates his all-round ability.   C.Y. played First-class cricket for Queensland while touring with British Lions.   Rugby tour over, he joined Queensland Mounted Infantry and served in the Boer War.   Adamson fell at Salonika just days before the Armistice.   Doubtless the Graces on nearby Olympus echo still the deeds of his matchless spirit.

Teenager Bob Bousfield revealed rare brilliance during innings of 167 for Bishop Auckland and 245 not out for Durham University.   ‘Durham’s Ranji’ made 3,103 flawless league runs for Bishop Auckland from the age of 37.   At least another 6,000 are known earlier at Bishop and Barnard Castle but both clubs were so long out of league cricket that only eight of his 23 centuries were in the league.   Bousfield took all ten wickets for King James I Grammar School where he later returned as headmaster.   Bob loved teaching, particularly at Barnard Castle School.   The Robert Bousfield Memorial, a bequest from his daughter’s estate, financed recent modernisation of the school dormitories.   Bob played full-back for Bishop Auckland and won a FA Amateur Cup medal in 1900.   He was a choirboy at Auckland Castle, church organist and an archaeologist integral to the excavation of a Roman camp at Binchester.

Edgar William Elliot was prince of the palatinate.   Tunnicliffe rated him one of the best bats in England.   An athlete of magnificent physique, the idol of Durham cricket fields towered over his contemporaries for a decade.   ‘Tegger’ Elliot’s potential was transparently obvious.   In 1896 he scored a hundred for Wellington v Haileybury.   Within days of leaving school he made a “masterly” 59 for Sunderland and followed up with 145 and 87 in the first two matches next season.   Elliot dominated bowling, shaped it to his will.   He loved taking on the fast men.   They ruffled his antagonism, fired in him an uncompromising response heightened by audacious risk.   “He lifted us out of our utilitarian selves.   We admired his work for its beauty and power, not merely for its value in runs.”[2]   Having missed a season while on service in South Africa, Elliot scored five hundreds in 1903, one in 35 minutes.   Next year he made 1,107 for Sunderland (av 85) and 1,369 in all, including an undefeated 96 against a Norton side strengthened by Bosanquet, inventor of the ‘googly’, after openers Bousfield and Adamson were out without a run on the board.   In an age when First-class triple hundreds were frequent Elliot scored 332 for Borderers in 1905 at Jesmond.   He faced only moderate bowling yet hit 13 sixes and 44 fours while 496 were added during his three hours at the wicket.   Elliot was 28, had made 6,263 runs (av 52) and 16 league hundreds for Sunderland, when he took up an appointment in Chile.   He died at 53 but his aura lived on.   Years later, after watching a county opener crawl to 90 by tea-time, a contemplative remarked : “If Elliot’s body was now being wheeled in its coffin across the Town Moor, every bugger in the ground would leave at once and go and see it!”

Two other stroke-makers merit mention.   Tom Coulson refused to let league cricket alter his philosophy.   “Play the game and hang the points” was Tom’s motto.   Tall and athletic, Coulson scored 6,164 handsome runs for South Shields including the first league double hundred in 1903.   Five years later he sustained an eye injury and his batting was never the same again.   Frank Hay Gillingham, born in Tokyo and educated at Dulwich, briefly illuminated Durham University cricket with glorious front-foot driving.   One of his three centuries was at Lord’s against MCC.   Frank made 203 not out against Durham Gentlemen on a red-hot day prior to ordination in 1899.   He was curate at Leyton where he qualified for Essex and made the first outside cricket broadcast in 1927.   Canon Gillingham was a scintillating after-dinner speaker and his eloquent sermons filled churches to overflowing.

This elegant feast was garnished by mighty hitters with Salmon supreme.   Big Harry Salmon hit the ball vast distances to save trouble of running.   Townsend cleared Norton station but Harry cleared the station and a field beyond.   About a fifth of Salmon’s innings were ‘ducks’ yet he hit eight centuries including 200 not out, 170, and 162 in 71 minutes with 8 sixes and 23 fours.   He might have had more but batted himself ridiculously low in the order when captain.   Jim Welford was no slouch, either.   Jim was born in Barnard Castle where he hammered 211 and 1,040 runs (av 86) in 1894.   He was at Stockton until they declined to pay him £1 a week then hit a hundred for Warwickshire in 1896.   Welford, who appears in the claret and blue of Aston Villa against Sunderland in Hemy’s evocative painting that dominates the foyer of the Stadium of Light, was the first Englishman to win English and Scottish FA Cup medals.   Ambrose Winship Gowland made his debut for Penshaw in short trousers.   The gateman thought he was trying to sneak in to watch the match.   ‘Ammy’ Gowland developed at Burnmoor then moved to South Moor where he discovered the art of making hundreds.   He hit 17 in ten seasons.   Put a bat in his hand and gentleman Gowland turned assassin “slashing the ball in all directions”.   He was at his zenith in 1909.   He carved 149, 150, 38, 173 not out and 128 in successive innings, three-quarters of them in boundaries.  Gowland became the first to score 1,000 league runs in a season when a fifth century took his aggregate to 1,275 (av 75).

Arthur Welch, the best all-rounder of his day, stacked 1,420 victims alongside 7,300 runs.   As befits a solicitor and chess player of national standing, Welch was a studious batsman and probing slow bowler.   Captain, secretary and president of Stockton, he topped the club’s bowling in twenty seasons including over 200 victims in all in 1889.   Rev Hindle persuaded Hunslet-born Arthur Newsome to take up a teaching post near Eppleton where he was secretary for 30 years.   Punishing off-side strokes accounted for most of Newsome’s 8,000 runs and he exceeded 600 wickets.

These men, most from public schools, were the stars in the firmament.   There were lesser mortals.   Fascinating characters who lived for the game without nearing the sublime heights of Elliot.   Men like John Blenckley who helped found Philadelphia in 1866 and hit three centuries in a fortnight when over 50.   Crafty bowlers like Joe Harrison, reputedly 19 ‘hat-tricks’ for Philly, and Ryton’s Tom Graham whose leg-breaks claimed 15 ‘hat-tricks’ and over 1,000 wickets in eleven seasons.   Tom got drunk as a newt on his wedding day.   In the afternoon he turned out for Ryton but his legs buckled in mid-delivery and he sank in a sozzled heap.   A local killjoy called the police but the kindly bobby refused to lock-up Tom and deny him his fuddled nuptials.

Billy Harding symbolises those without privilege who tenaciously trod cricket’s bumpy road.   The left-armer took 5 for 6 on debut in his native Cumberland.   His effort and shabby appearance so touched a local toff that he bought Billy a blazer and flannels.   Harding crossed the Pennines, settled at Langley Park where he was a joiner until his death in 1928.   Harding was quick, said “If I had to pay for all the stumps and bails I’ve smashed I would be in the Bankruptcy Court.”   In a county trial match he destroyed the Colts’ batting.   He was approached by John Adamson.   “This will never do, Harding.   We are not going to see what they can do.   You can’t bowl in the second innings.”   At 51, Billy was still bowling twice the overs of the club pro.   His spare frame was shrouded in shirt buttoned to the neck, flat cap atop bushy eye-brows and moustache; the embodiment of all those haunted faces that stare from old, sepia photographs on pavilion walls.

The outstanding pros, Morris, Smith and Milam, were paid around £2 or £3 a week.   Shipyard machinist Alf Morris got £1-4-0d when signed by Sunderland, £2-10-0d plus talent money in 1907 then £4 at Hendon.   Given their transitory employment the impact of many pros was brief.   A number were ex-county men.   Charles Dench joined Darlington straight from Nottinghamshire, Fred Kitchener left Hampshire to perform wonders for Boldon either side of the war and Frank Harry (ex-Lancashire) took a wicket every 21 balls for South Shields.   Frank’s successor was Sid Lohmann, brother of England fast bowler George.   Lohmann did well on the field but was fond of his ale.   Shields cancelled his contract after Tom Coulson had to pay a fine to obtain his release from a police cell on the morning of a match.   Mark Cox was allowed to brighten his league benefit match with a sprinkling of ex-Northamptonshire colleagues among both teams.   Spectators flocked to see such attractions.   Five DSL clubs reported record individual match ‘gate’ receipts in 1912.   Ashbrooke hosted the Australians that year.   Takings for the two days amounted to £480 compared with £250 for Australia v South Africa the year before.

A circle of clubs round the county perimeter dominated Edwardian cricket : Sunderland, West Hartlepool, Norton, Darlington and South Moor.   Sunderland won 129 and drew 51 of 206 matches while winning seven titles in 1903-12.   Skipper Bertie Brooks, patient and reliable for 28 seasons, cut and drove eloquently to make 9,728 runs and 11 centuries.   Elliot, Butler and Burn plundered 2,000 league runs and 8 centuries between them in 1903.   Morris (qv) succeeded Butler.   Excalibur in place of cutlass.   Morris, “fast and deadly”, had impressed when at Burnmoor by bowling Elliot for a ‘duck’ and 3.   With 98 league victims in his debut season Sunderland were quick to re-sign him for four years on improved terms.   Behind him crouched Isaac Robinson, his “howzat” more statement than request.   Elliot’s replacement was lazily assured Eustace Lawrie Squance, perfumed and immaculate, a man of many caps and mannerisms.   Thrusting drives and dynamic hooks were a feature of nine cavalier centuries.   When Squance walked out to bat he would glance back at the pavilion clock as if mindful of Time’s winged chariot.   Lawrie was killed when a passenger in a sports car that collided with a Northern bus.   Durham City opener Fred Scott witnessed the accident.

PRO-FILE (No. 6)

ALFRED MORRIS

(b. West Hartlepool, 11 Sept 1886; d. Lancaster Moor, Lancashire, 29 March 1961)

Medium-fast swing bowler with easy delivery.   Protege of Thompson Smith.   Bespectacled Morris did not look a bowler.   Never judge a book by its cover.   Took 8 for 0 v Guisborough II in nine explosive deliveries when 17.   At Burnmoor (1905-06), Hendon (1914).    Made a powerful Sunderland side virtually invincible (1907-13).   They won 47% of matches in two seasons before he was engaged, 63% during his engagement.   Subtle variation his greatest asset.   In county trial he captured several wickets with vicious cut and late away-swing; others with ‘a slow off-break’, ‘yorker’, ‘slow ball’ and ‘peculiar ball’.   Rated Durham’s greatest bowler.   Took all ten wkts v Yorkshire II in 1910, bowling virtually all innings “under a broiling sun” for 3½ hours .   Took 100 DSL wkts six times.   Frequently compared with S.F.Barnes.   Figures of 24-7-50-4 and 11-4-25-3 for England XI v Australians (1912) suggest the comparison was justified.   Prolific pro for several clubs in Bradford League until 1929.

League record as professional :      2932 overs   730 mdns   7312 runs   890 wkts (av 8.2)

Wearmouth and Durham City each briefly interrupted Sunderland’s decade of dominance.   Wearmouth signed Harry Clode after winning only one league match in 1902-03.   Clode instilled such teamwork that seven players hardly missed a match in the next ten years.   They were champions in 1906.   Two more followed in 1913-14 when stylish, ex-Yorkshire bat Bill Rothery replaced Clode as pro.   Rothery made 1,039 on debut, first to score 1,000 DSL runs.   Clode continued as amateur until 1930 but Wearmouth returned to the foot of the league once his powers waned.

Charlie Adamson was at his peak during City’s 1907 championship season when he shared the attack with tall, debonair pro Charlie Milam (qv).   Needing victory in the last match to finish level with Burnmoor, the pair skittled Eppleton for 26.   Milam grabbed 7 for 41 in the play-off to clinch a first DSL title.   Whenever Milam took a wicket he flashed a smile and swung a right-hook at the air.   More reserved than Stanley’s Jimmy Benfold who always celebrated with a somersault.   Denis Hendren was pro in City’s 1910 championship side that contained four Durham School boys alongside 52-year-old Tom Hutton (jnr) who served City for 66 years.   Tom was at his most productive in his forties.   He stroked the ball along the carpet and had 10,000 runs to his name when he retired in 1913.

Guisborough halted Durham’s domination of NYSD though West Hartlepool and Norton each won a title before war broke out.   West Hartlepool moved to Park Drive in 1912 during the club’s most successful period.   West won five titles in 15 years, shared another and were five times runners-up.   Smith and Morris were fearsome.   Runs flowed in the twilight seasons of Robinson, A.B.Horsley, Alf Longhurst and wicket-keeper J.R.Brown.   C.P.Faucett was on 97 in the second of successive hundreds when he was felled by a blow on the nose.   Bleeding heavily, Faucett staggered to his feet, clubbed the next ball for four, and tottered with his ton to the pavilion.   Tommy Kinch, who joined from Seaton Carew, had few equals at cover-point.   With superb technique and judicious shot selection, Tommy powerfully peppered the palings with off-drives and cuts.   With only two titles during Townsend’s 24-year career, Norton under-achieved.   In one sense their batting was too strong.   Townsend, Harrison and Heavisides scored heavily but they over-indulged before declaring and 40% of league matches were drawn.   It might have been different had not Cecil Parkin, son of a station-master, sought fame beyond various, county boundaries.

North West Durham League formed in 1906 from remnants of Durham County Senior League (Western Division).   Enthusiastic secretary Percy Freeman built a competitive organisation that stood four square against the elitist East.   Consett, Craghead and South Moor waged annual dog-fights for supremacy.   South Moor were ‘top dog’.   Champions six times before the war, only defeat in a play-off in 1909 prevented six in succession.   A new scoreboard stocked a rich run harvest.   ‘Cud’ Snowdon garnered a late crop in the autumn of his career; Gowland’s store swelled; Joe Swinhoe, Alf Hodgson and the Fairleys reaped plentifully.   South Moor fielded two excellent wicket-keepers.   Lees Radcliffe was rated England’s best by Archie McLaren whose ex-Lancashire colleague, Arthur Lees, was “sharp as a needle”.   Joe Fairley was captain.   As colliery manager he persuaded South Moor Collieries to build the club a beautifully-proportioned brick pavilion in 1910.   South Moor won a thriller that year against challengers Burnopfield whose followers found defeat hard to take.   They mobbed an umpire on the field and stoned him on his way to the station.   This was shabby reward for retired Co-op manager Curry Wood who had just given his life’s savings to save the club from extinction and engage Ted Solly.   At least the ex-Worcestershire left-armer repaid his faith.   Solly bowled “liked greased lightning”, often to six slips, and exceeded 100 wickets in each of five seasons.

NWD was a colourful mix of skill and rustic vitality with intense, frenetic support.   Boisterous spectators sang popular songs when their heroes were on top.   Eastern men disparaged NWD grounds as “enlarged back-yards” yet crowds of 3,000 cycled or tramped over fields to stand spellbound, six deep, when Consett locked horns with South Moor.   Nine of their first 18 meetings were drawn; only one emphatic victory.   The rest, by wafer-thin margins, generated animated agitation.   “Excitement was at fever heat and many ordinarily sane persons seemed to be afflicted with St. Vitus’ Dance as keep still they could not.”   Deafening shouts signalled a release of tension at the moment of victory.   Hats hurled high rained upon umbrellas and walking sticks joyfully prodding the skies.

Two stars glittered in the north-west.   If a Hugh Dales’ innings burned brilliantly, one by Jack Carr (qv) flashed like a meteor.   Dales began at Medomsley, hit a maiden century at 17.   As a lad he batted right-handed but, after a fracture, his right arm was shorter than his left.   Dr Renton diagnosed an end to his career.   T.D.Dales would have none of it.   The cheery all-round sportsman, who once hit 164 not out for Consett, knew too well the joys of recreation.   He coached his son to bat left-handed.   Quick of eye, H.L.Dales drove magnificently.   Mature innings of 155 and 173 earned a county call in 1913.   Time and circumstance determined Carr and the elder Dales trod different paths.   Each earned a living at Leadgate : Dales up at the school, Carr down the pit.   As Carr began to dominate club attacks, Dales made his Middlesex debut.   The year Carr turned pro, Dales hit a maiden First-class hundred.   A year after Carr’s minor county debut, Dales toured West Indies with MCC.   Carr was still regarded the undisputed star of Durham cricket when he died.   Born under a different constellation, what might Jack have achieved?

PRO-FILE (No. 7)

CHARLES RICHARD MILAM

(b. New Hampton, Middlesex, 7 Jan 1881; d. Durham, 8 Apr 1949)

Left Middlesex ground staff to join Durham City (1907-08 and 1913-14).   City were champions in his debut season and South Moor won NWD when they engaged him (1910-11).   At Burnmoor (1909) and Craghead (1912).   Served in Royal Artillery (1914-18).   Tall away-swing bowler who did not make most of height.   Of 5 centuries, three were plundered in under an hour, including a “fantastic” 154* on a rain-affected wicket (1913).   Returned to City as amateur (1919-30) where he took 823 wkts in all.   Coach at Durham School for 25 years.   Blessed with the good looks of a matinee-idol : tall, slim, with a striking moustache.   He was landlord of ‘Buffalo Head’ and ‘Colpitt’s Hotel’.

League record (Craghead figures not known) : 5,838 runs (av 24)        1,042 wkts (av 12).

New leagues launched into uncertain waters.   Clubs eddied to and fro in search of amenable harbours.   Schoolmaster Tom Ryding formed Derwent Valley League in 1907.  Tom’s club, Blaydon, won it thrice in six years.   Sixteen clubs competed intermittently up to 1913 when only three originals remained.   Next year Derwent Valley folded.   Half the clubs were incorporated in a Tyne and Derwent League and competed for a rather splendid trophy donated by Dr Abraham.   The league lasted only one season.   Administrators slaved to keep organisations afloat but were constantly disillusioned as players and clubs ebbed to other leagues.   Derwent Valley founder members Blaydon, Whickham and Shotley Bridge were joined by Lintz in 1908.   With the drift of time and tide the quartet were re-united in NWD in 1951 and again in TSL in 1992.   Durham County League (hereafter D.Co) had over forty clubs up to the outbreak of war.

PRO-FILE (No. 8)

JOHN CARR

(b. Leadgate, 29 May 1894; d. Hartlepool, 15 Nov 1967)

Legendary hitter at Chester-le-Street (1923-30), Blackhall (1931-39) and Stockton (1945), a hero who was “cheered for his sixes and sympathised for his ducks”.   Hit 24 off an over against the Australians.   When 16 hit a ball over the railway that bounded through the open door of Leadgate Co-op.   The butcher continued to wrap a startled customer’s Sunday joint and casually remarked : “I see John Carr’s in”.   At least 12 club hundreds are known, most made in under an hour and some batting at number 7.   Right-arm medium, later off-breaks.   Twice bowled Jack Hobbs for 0.   On one of those occasions was reprimanded for dismissing Hobbs near close of play thereby reducing the attendance next day.

Chester-le-Street league record :       136 inns  11 not  3,554 runs  HS 129*  (av 28.4)

2421.4 overs   547 mdns   6055 runs   448 wkts (av 13.5)

Blackhall record :                                over 7,000 runs;  1,398 wickets (av 9.8).

League cricket did not dominate entirely for ‘rough’ cricket spawned unlikely tales.   A leg-side smite at Stanley bounced down the hill to a farm.   The fielding side claimed a ‘black ball’ but the umpire ruled the fielder could see the ball and was chasing it.   The batsmen had run 31 by the time he returned it.   A ‘duffers’ match was pure farce.   “The ball was taken up by a dog, who raced round and round the field with it in his mouth, the two batsmen being the only people on the ground who did not join in the chase.”   They scampered 14 runs before the playful mutt was caught.   Then there was the novice who walked to the wicket with just one pad on his right-leg.   Advised by an umpire that it was on the wrong leg for best protection the novice replied : “Sorry.   I thought he was bowling from the other end.”   An earlier mystery solved, too, when Joseph Robson slaughtered one of Lord Durham’s steers and found a cricket ball in the beast’s stomach.

Cricket reached a degree of perfection in the Golden Age.   The flawed perfection of Eden.   Adam, his club and followers ate of the forbidden fruit.   Some maggot-ridden.   Notices were posted at NYSD grounds warning spectators against unruly behaviour.   A North East Durham League play-off was twice abandoned owing to crowd trouble.   TSL felt need for a rule that gave power to suspend any club, player or member found guilty of misconduct.   There was deep-seated rivalry between Sunderland and Durham City.   Two disgruntled City followers shouted abuse at Elliot and Isaac Robinson as they walked along a lane to the station after one match.   Elliot handed his pipe to Isaac, slung both into a ditch, rekindled his pipe and calmly walked on his way.   Medomsley accused Consett’s spectators of barracking and using filthy language.   A volley of letters ricocheted between clubs and League.   The letters of Consett and NWD were signed by Percy Freeman, secretary of both.   This further enraged Medomsley who refused to play the return.   When battle was rejoined at Consett in 1912 police were called to eject spectators.   The cost of gatemen and police accounted for two per-cent of Consett’s ‘gate’ receipts.

A calming, beatific voice was faintly discernible above the discord.   “Cricket has taught men to be true sportsmen,” intoned Rev Hindle, generous benefactor to Eppleton and a founder of Sunderland & District Teachers football team, later Sunderland AFC.   “There are fewer disputes than at any time in my 40 years playing”.   Meet and right the Reverend should be charitable but he held the telescope to his blind eye.   His own club had just had one player suspended, another cautioned for disorderly behaviour.   In the next door parish, Philadelphia were ordered to issue a circular advising members and followers at Bunker Hill not to make demonstrations against umpires’ decisions.

An untamed wildness pervaded Bunker Hill.   Unsuspecting innocents were sucked into a maelstrom.   An agonised shriek foretold the death of 14-year-old ‘Scorer’ Watchman who, belying his name, fell unnoticed from a heavy roller and had his head crushed.   Ruby Black was fatally struck on the temple by a cricket ball while wheeled round the field in a pram.   Neither tragedy induced a more temperate climate.   Far from it.   Philadelphia captain James ‘Kellett’ Kirtley was an aggressive batsman and fine wicket-keeper despite whispered tales of bails dropping mysteriously to the ground.   Cantankerous Kirtley constantly waged war against opponents and umpires until blackening his name almost forever.   Animosity between Philadelphia and South Shields is said to be rooted in their differing class structures.[3]   Nor was friction eased in 1912 by a miners’ strike or Shields dismissing Philly for 11.   A fractious air hung over Bunker Hill for the return.   Spectators grew restless as Philly slumped to 72 for 9.   All hell broke loose when the last man’s leg-bail fell, almost apologetically, to the ground.   Kirtley led his side and supporters in vociferous protest that the wicket-keeper had knocked off the bail.   It was like Bedlam as Shields ran for the safety of the pavilion.   Umpire Linnet heard the howling rabble, changed his ruling to ‘not out’.   Shields braved the mob and returned to the middle to capture the last wicket.   Tom Coulson was sickened by the affair.   He refused to send anyone to bat, said Philly could have the match and points.   An enquiry was held and Kirtley was banned from DSL and exiled from Bunker Hill.

C.L.R.James said cricket alters in response to changes in society.   A claim too far, perhaps, yet one senses that club cricket is shaped by the social circumstances of the times.   Certainly the individual characteristics of player and spectator conspire to a behavioural mosaic.   Considering the past can pose problems separating reality from nostalgia.   The Golden Age of cricket, in this corner of the world at least, was no decorous tea-party.   Yet the eye of memory forgets.   Remembers instead “a cultivated scene of smooth turf, blazers and summer dresses… days of carefree enterprise, days of quality and affable manners.”[4]

[1] William Bielby : A History of Norton Cricket Club (1847-1997)

[2] R. Curry : unpublished personal memories of Sunderland cricket and rugby.

[3] Clive Crickmer : Grass Roots (A History of South Shields Cricket Club 1850-1984)

[4] R. Curry : unpublished personal memories of Sunderland cricket and rugby.

Chapter 14

Chapter 12

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