My most memorable game by Stuart Burton

Rothwell were always an awkward side to play against, they were always well placed in the league and their bowling attack was one of the best around. On this particular Saturday afternoon they arrived at Carlton with their usual formidable bowling attack, flying high at the top of the table. Carlton has always been a good batting wicket with no gremlins so a good hard contest was expected.

Gerald Tolley produced this wicket on this particular afternoon, he must have cut it and rolled it continuously for a week! You could see your reflection in it, it was like bowling on the M1 - to say it was fast would have been an understatement, it was lightning! And yet it was true, no deviations, not much movement, just quick.

Two things were unusual at the start of the game. Carlton Captain Paul Stanyard won the toss and put Rothwell in which proved a master stroke. It was a glorious Saturday afternoon, not a cloud in the sky and a perfect batting track yet he elected to bowl first. He said he appreciated the fact that the Rothwell bowling attack was one of the best and he didn’t want them to have first use of the wicket.

The second thing was the end I bowled at. I always opened the bowling at the Pavilion end as Paul always felt that the slightly uphill run up stopped me getting carried away and charging in too quickly…more control I suppose. On this particular day Paul took the Pavilion end and I opened the bowling at the other end. He knew that the extra pace would cause problems so I just ran in and bowled as quickly as I could.

I bowled 11 overs and took 8-20 as Rothwell were bowled out for 39. Four of my wickets were bowled and four were caught, two by wicket keeper Brian Ramsden.

A special mention must go to one ball bowled by Paul. I was never a fan of the slower ball, my thinking was "get it down to the other end as fast and as accurately as I could". The “fast” bit was never a problem but sometimes the accuracy had to be sacrificed! Kevin Groves was the Rothwell wicket keeper and he could bat. I crossed swords with him many times and I always had the utmost respect for him so I knew when he walked to the crease he might be a problem. I was fielding in the gully when Paul bowled this particular ball, it was a slow off break off his long run. Kevin put his front leg down the wicket and swung. Had he connected it would have landed in Jack Walsh’s front garden but he was far too soon and was given out LBW. That particular ball lifted me, my main problem had been removed and I ran through the remaining batting order without too much trouble. Mick Fletcher with 17 was the Rothwell top scorer.

So it was an early tea and then time to get my feet up or so I thought! Paul ambled up to me and told me to pad up and bat at number 3! Not something I wanted to do with the likes of Mick Fletcher, Ian Hunt and Ken Hancock slinging missiles down on that wicket. I needn’t have been concerned, Keith Taylor (26) and Jack Walsh (15) hit the winning runs without too many problems and Carlton had a 4 point lead at the top of the table.