Learning from the best. By Keith Sampson

I have great memories of this fantastic club both on and off the field. On the field I learnt so much from watching and playing with good players, initially 2nd teamers, Ken Oldroyd, Ken Clayborough, Jack Field, Gerald Tolley, Gerald Taylor, Jack Fox snr, Jeff Moffatt and Laurie Todd.

Laurie Todd's bowling was a joy to watch, as a young lad fielding you always looked forward to Laurie bowling because if you were fielding at deep mid wicket long off or long on you would see plenty of the ball. When he came on to bowl he would either bowl the opposition out or go for a few 6s. Laurie bowled left arm spin and could spin the ball a fair way he also tossed the ball so high and slow that the batsman couldn’t resist charging down the wicket to smash the ball out of the ground.

Unfortunately if the batsman missed, more often than not, Gerald Tolley would take the bails off. I think in my second year of senior cricket I won the 2nd team batting average at the age of 15 and played in my first senior cricket final beating Kirkstall Educational in the Wood Cup. I’m sure my success came from those experienced players who wanted to win but also loved the camaraderie and any away fixture that involved going along Otley Road and passing Bryans fish and chip shop!

The following season I began my first team career joining the players who I admired watching as a young kid. The first team captain was Paul Stanyard who was also my PE teacher at school and I suppose my mentor as he gave me the opportunity to open the batting with the best opening batsman in the league -what an honour that was! So thank you Sir! Not only did I benefit from learning off these team mates but those who followed me also became very good players. What an eye opener it was though moving from 2nd team to 1st team - yes the 2nd team wanted to win but Harry Smith was different again. I'd played football with Harry occasionally as young lad for the Sunday football team and seen how competitive he was not realizing that that went with him on to the cricket field as well. Harry was a great spin bowler but also a great motivator in he field. Then there was Brian Ramsden an outstanding wicket keeper batsman who’s specialty was leg side stumpings. We then had the pace and aggression of Stuart Burton who, in his day, was as quick as any bowler I've seen in league cricket. We then had the middle order batsman who were also exceptional fielders Jack Fox jnr extra cover, John Ward square leg, Ian Sampson - anywhere close to the bat. The fielding at time was outstanding throughout the club, although my catching had been questioned on quite a few occasions for dropping the odd "dolly". I can now reveal my colour blindness had a big say in whether I caught the ball or dropped it! However, what happened next just typified the kind of players we had at Carlton because they would tell you "forget about it", remind you that "it’s a team game" (unless Melvin Tasker was the bowler who would ask if you wanted a bleedin bucket!) - great times!

One of the best sights on a cricket field from a Carlton players position was a useful 180+ first innings score and then let David Cooper and Stuart Burton have the ball. It was a fantastic sight to see Cooper and Burton running in to a field of 5 slips, 2 gullys, a short leg and a silly mid off. Later on we then had the pace of Dave Warren to call on who was just as quick.

I’ve seen some great catches taken during that hostile period. Who took the best I really don’t know but I know not much passed through the hands of Dave Fairburn, Roy Sampson, Ian Sampson, and myself (so long as the background wasn’t green!) the edges came faster and faster. No wonder Arthur Sweet called it "Hell Fire Corner".

All of these memories would not have happened had Roland and Fay continued to send us to Sunday School and not let us go up to the cricket field to watch the Sunday friendly games. So for the time being, on behalf of the Sampson family, I would like to thank Carlton Cricket Club for the years of memories we have, and the lifetime friendships we hold being associated with this great club, and long may it continue. Thank you.