Staff cricket : the Golden Years (4)

I know of only one photograph of the staff team in action. I don’t remember who the opponents were, but I believe the picture was taken by Allan Sparrow who was very keen on photography and who ran the School Photography Society which had its very own dark room in one of those tiny rooms off the very short corridor which leads to the Language Laboratory. Anyway, here is that photograph of a split second in time, forty years ago:

The batsman at this end, his name, alas, unknown, has been, literally, caught out, and the bowler, Clem Lee, makes his loud appeal, “Howzat !” to the Umpire. This is Me, dressed as Ché Guévara in a Surgeon’s outfit. On the left, Tony Slack, who, in one game he played, once hit the England fast bowler Freddie Truman to the boundary for four runs, adds his voice to the appeals. The only one not appealing is the batsman near me, who just turns around to await my decision. My raised index finger signifies “Out!”

Here’s the second photograph:

This photograph shows the staff team, I suspect, on the same summer’s evening as the previous one. In the back row, on the left, is three quarters of Chris Smith, the English  teacher who left the school as long ago as 1992:

Next to him is Richard Willan, the best Chairman the Staff Common Room ever had:

Then there is Phil Eastwood, who must be very pleased indeed to see Manchester City doing so well:

Then Bob Dickason, teacher of German and French, who I haven’t seen for a very long time. He left in 1983, to go and teach in France, I believe:

Then there’s Clem Lee, the Head of Games:

There’s Ray Moore with his hair much shorter than when he first arrived. He went to West Bridgford School, I have heard, and had unbelievable success running the girls’ football team.

Then the best man at our wedding, Bob Howard, a friend I miss a lot and who I wish I had seen much more of over the years:

Then Me. That umpire’s coat must be the only thing I have ever worn that’s been too big for me. It also gave me the magic power to balance things on my head with consummate ease:

On the left of the front row is Norman Thompson the Head of Economics who taught at least one future Chancellor of the Exchequer:

Next to him is Harry Latchman, the Groundsman and Cricket Coach. He was the only proper cricketer in the team, having played for both Middlesex and Nottinghamshire and in Minor Counties cricket, for Cambridgeshire. He was elected President of Middlesex County Cricket Club in 2015:

Then comes Tony Slack:

He has already appeared in a post about the First XI football team. In fact, a number of posts about the First XI football team. One. Two. Three.Tony taught Chemistry and then he took charge of the School’s computers. More impressive, he played for the reserves at Rotherham United, and in one game was personally threatened by Charlie Hurley, Sunderland’s Player of the Century:

The final player is the Team Captain, David Phillips, the Maths teacher, who used to run both the Second XV and the Second XI if my memory serves me right. He worked at the High School for 37 years where he was an important rôle model for vast numbers of junior boys:

I don’t know if the staff still have a cricket team. The summer 2017 would mark their 70th Anniversary if they still played any fixtures.



Filed under History, Humour, Nottingham, Personal, The High School

22 responses to “Staff cricket : the Golden Years (4)

  1. Andy Jones (ON 70-80)

    Another great post John.

  2. jan

    Super post Kniffo. I believe Ray Moore moved to Florida after leaving WBHS and now writes crime stories. “Murder in the Lingo Lab”..

  3. &0 years and still going strong!
    I think that over-sized coat on you makes you look younger! 🙂

  4. It looks to me that you were very quick with that decision, the finger raised very swiftly, I would probably have referred it to the third umpire.

    Bob Howard looks suspiciously like Bob Willis!

    • Well, things were different then. We started at around 5.30 going on six, and we had two innings of twenty overs to get through. In that era, the pubs closed at 10.30 so we needed to make sure that nobody lingered too long at the crease. That was the main reason that we had to turn down Geoff Boycott when he applied for a coaching job. Who wants to watch him score 312 not out while everybody else dies of thirst ?

      • Good point, I remember that feeling of anxiety as the match dragged on.

        I once worked at Gedling Borough Council and played for the staff team. When I say played I really mean spectated because ex England player Brian Bolus was the Director of Recreation or something like that and was an automatic opening bat. The trouble was that no one could ever get him out so he would occupy the crease for the full 20 overs and then when it came time to field Brian would have his maximum allocation of overs as well. Participation in these matches was quite dull for at least half the team!

  5. Fascinating to read about all the team members; and what a magnificent photograph

    • Yes, they certainly were! Great memories tinged with little moments of sadness for people like Bob and Stephen Fairlie. He was a worse cricketer than I was, and that’s saying something.

  6. It’s lovely to have such great memories John. Staff teams don’t seem to exist anymore – lack of time and outside interference taking away those simple pleasures.

    • The secret is to try and appoint people who want to do the job of teacher and then to encourage and help them along the way. There’s no need to keep digging up the flowers to see if they’re growing. Do these things, and many more, and you might stand a chance of the teachers being happy. Happy enough to want to meet together once a week and enjoy each other’s company, anyway.

  7. Such wonderful memories. I used to follow cricket years ago, but somehow I lost interest in it. Now we are reading about the cheating in the Australian team. How can anyone deliberately cheat ? It is really difficult to understand.

    • Indeed, it is. Victory is only sweet if it is honestly earned. Here in England I have taught lots of boys whose parents were from India, and they are absolutely mad about cricket. They always want to play against the Pakistani boys and re-enact a recent Test Match.

  8. Another awesome story, John! Thank you for your memories!! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

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