Cricket Memories – Somerset and Berkshire

Article contributed by Mr Michael Metherell

Some cricketing memories 

(1) Having recently received details of the Max Waller Testimonial dinner at Lord’s I was reminded of the only event of that nature I have attended at the venue.

Arriving in Berkshire in 1993, I became involved in coaching at my new club and subsequently joined Berkshire CCC, both to support local cricket as well as giving me access to coaching courses run by the County. 

Incidentally I was rather star-struck by having the late Ralph Dellor, who was an English sports writer, journalist and TV and radio commentator, primarily on cricket as well as being a cricket coach, as one of the tutors on the first course I attended. 

Lovely chap who came to the pub with us after the final assessment.

(2) Being a member I received an invitation to attend the BCCC centenary dinner in the Long Room at Lord’s. This was in November 1995 I believe

It was a memorable experience, receiving a tour of the Pavilion with virtually no restrictions on where we could go plus a delicious meal etc. 

The impressive Top Table included J.J. Warr, Sir Oliver Popplewell (Nigel’s dad) who (I think) was President of the MCC at the time and Dennis Silk, Chairman of the TCCB. The greater part of the speeches were, quite naturally, about Berkshire and its cricketing history (of which I knew little), but Dennis Silk included a mention of “living in Somerset” or something of that nature. 

Formalities ending, and perhaps emboldened by a glass or two of wine, I approached the guests of honour to sign my menu card. They were all gracious about that chore and when I arrived at Mrs Silk, I quite naturally enquired where in Somerset they were residing: “Stoke St Gregory” was her reply. More than astounded I told her that we had moved from there some 8 years previously and that in his retirement my father had been on occasions a relief postmaster at the village Post Office so we were familiar with the location and inhabitants. Our chat then went on to the “local gossip”, mutual friends and so on, all the while I’m gazing out on a floodlit Lord’s and musing how surreal this was… 

Having already joined the Taunton Civil Service Outcasts club I did not play for my village team but I did see that Mrs Silk had made a substantial donation to the Stoke St Gregory CC following the death of her husband. 

(3) I’d married and moved from Long Sutton to Ruishton in 1977. 

One day I got a call from Tom Tulk, chairman of Long Sutton CC  asking if I’d could provide transport for Hallam Moseley to come to the opening of their new pavilion.

Of course I would be honoured to do so with the club and Hallam being close to our hearts. 

Incidentally I had come across Hallam a couple of years prior to that evening when LSCC went for a pre-season net session at the old indoor school. Hallam was coming back from injury and did a bit of bowling – for himself I suspect rather than us. It was only after a couple of minutes that it dawned on me that I’d forgotten to put my box in. Yikes! He was only off 3-4 paces and my recollection is that most of the balls were waste high or above so just fended off. No damage done thankfully.

 My wife and I picked him up in our 2-door Datsun and he insisted on sitting in the back – more room for his legs I guess. Some small talk on the journey whilst I wondered whether to blurt out the secret about our lively new kitten – that we had named Hallam! Unfortunately kitty Hallam was a female so I kept our secret.

The evening was a great success, even more so for Hallam and the local  ladies, line-dancing being all the rage. Tom approached me towards the end of it and asked if I could look after the club’s contribution to Hallam’s benefit as he, quite rightly, had thoroughly enjoyed Long Sutton’s hospitality and might lose track of it. 

On the return journey Hallam again insisted on the back seat and without incident we arrived back at his digs in Taunton. My lasting impression of that evening was Hallam’s landlady as he went to the door saying “Oh Mose! What have you been up to?”. I recall that I’d stuffed the notes into his pocket at that moment. 

Ed’s note: Hallam Moseley’s benefit year was 1979.

(4) Whilst doing a bit of clearing recently, I also came across  a rather shabby programme from Somerset v Gloucester JPL match at Bristol in June 1979, which Somerset won.

My wife and I had watched England v Australia World Cup match at Lord’s on the Saturday, stayed in a B&B at Henley that evening (a few miles from where we live now!) and then off to Bristol in plenty of time for the 2 o’clock start. The England game slightly different from today’s fare. Geoff Boycott bowling in his cap; pedestrian run rate; they stopped for lunch; however, got through 100+ overs in quick time thanks in part to the young tyros Gower and Botham knocking off the runs in the June evening sunshine. I’m very pleased to say that it was not our only visit to Lord’s that summer; August 22nd and September 8th I seem to recall…

Michael has kindly donated the JPL programme mentioned above and an Outcasts sweater to the Museum.