|Accrington Cricket Club|
The year 1978, the month July. The reason for the photos, I had just finished full-time at Lancashire College of Agriculture at Myerscough, studying Horticulture and specializing in Sport’s Ground Maintenance. In paper terms I was very well qualified, in experience - very wet behind my ears.
As regards Accrington Cricket Club their square was in a mess [more of that later]. I was also playing football at Accrington Stanley, where Harry Stevenson and Brian Prickett tapped me up to work at and sort out Accy’s square.
Being enthusiastic and ready to put my head knowledge to the test, I accepted the challenge. ACC were desperate to get their square back into a decent condition. The situation suited both parties. My contacts at Lancs College of Agriculture helped me get results from soil samples to enable me to formulate a programme to reinstate the square. Without wanting to bore the pants off anyone, suffice to say, we managed to limp through that season. The wickets were awful in appearance [ see photos ], but amazingly played to an acceptable standard. I remember Brian Close playing as pro at Todmorden getting a “ton” at Accy and in his column in the Last Sports [The Pink}, commentated on the condition of Accy’s Square........... that it played better than it looked!
Why was the square in such a poor condition?
Prior to my employment at Accrington, without mentioning the names of three prominent ACC officials, they decided to fertilize the square by themselves. Whatever fertilizer spreader was used , it was obviously not correctly calibrated, also a chemical fertilizer was applied, which without contact with water can and will scorch in a matter of days in dry conditions ...dry weather followed ..resulting in that 50% of the grass on the square was burnt off and dead....”Do things cheap now..and pay later! [see pictures]
At the end of the season I re-seeded the square and “normal service” resumed the next season.
Back to the photos!!.. I was half a stone heavier in those days!!...Why in sunny hot weather I wore a stupid purple bob cap.....I don’t know? And why wear sky blue bell-bottomed jeans instead of shorts? Who is the bearded wonder looking at the ground with me in an “arranged” photo?.....an old neighbour and cricketing pal.
Anyway the most important point about these photos is to observe the grounds and surroundings over thirty years ago and to note the changes.
The first thing that I noticed is that all the chimneys visible are now gone!! The changes to the pavilion, especially to the roof area and the demise of the excellent terracing, which must have become a victim to Health and safety, or probably the steel girders just disintegrated. The tea rooms and tennis courts look new. The old Match Bar, part of which I think was built by Alan Worsick, has now been replaced by the groundsman’s garage and umpire’s room.
The perimeter of the ground is a mess. Long grass, weeds ,especially rose bay willow herb thrived. Goodness knows how many weeds flowered , seeded and re-populated. The same scythe I used over 30 years ago to cut them down is still hanging in the garage!! Practice wickets can be seen on the Higham’s and Railway side of the ground. A wall ran the length of the Higham’s end ... Alas, no more!
Who could forget David Lloyd’s wind-up as a message was given to Bill from Bumble to the effect, that there was a message for a Mr Bill Bailey to return home.
Bill Ball duly obliged.. “There is a message for a Bill Bailey,.. ..Mr. Bill Bailey ..Will you please .. Go home!!!”..............Get it ? ...I hope so!
Good Memories..... Good Days.......Still they usually are ..when you look back!