If it wasn't for a serious injury Clem would have played in the senior Australian side, I have no doubt. Joining us at 17 he was on another level to anyone, he could bat left handed, with a stump & still hit you out of the nets! Once broke the middle on his bat where a red ball shaped hole appeared, The rest of the bat was almost white.
2. Neville Wine.
You had to work hard to get Nev out. A Boycott-esque batsmen he grafted for the runs but also had a great technique with lovely drives through the V. A great studier of the game, off the field he was always helping coach the other players & look for ways for them to improve.
3. Ian Johns.
Destructive batting, tight medium pace bowling & a good pair of hands at slip. You knew if you over pitched to him as you’d be collecting the ball from ICI on Monday. He still is a great role model for all players young or otherwise & shows form is temporary but class is permanent. Has helped bring through many promising juniors into senior cricket & is a great ambassador for our club.
4. Syl Oliver.
Ex West Indies international Syl was still playing 1XI at 64. An incredible batsman & tight bowler, the great story of him ducking a bouncer from Cheshire’s opening bowler,“ You boy! You don’t bowl bouncer to me!! You do, I hit you there. 6 runs!” Sure enough, next ball is short. Bang. 6. “Hehehe, I told you boy, next time it’s over there. 6 Runs!” He is rumoured to have hit a 6 that hit the works whilst still going up!
5. Chris Leech.
I could have gone for either of his Sons but went for the original Leech instead. Small in height but big on power he could change the face of the game by absolutely destroying a bowler. Presentation nights aren't the same without a bag of Chris’ potatoes to win in the raffle.
6. Mike Johns.
Still a great batsman but some people might not know how good a bowler he was. Quick with a good armoury of different deliveries, at 16 he was netting with Lancs 1st team. As a batsman he dominates the crease & much like his Old Man dismisses anything over pitched, mostly to deep mid on boundary. The Anchorman in any Boat Race held in the bar he treats beers like he treats bad bowling. Bang, gone. Next…
7. Phill Amatiello.
OK, I'm sorry. It’s my fault he’s at our club. Going nowhere at Oakmere the shy, unassuming (yes it’s true) PA was convinced to come & play 3XI with me & my Dad. Naturally athletic, he was the first player I played with who really could be a specialist Gully fielder as he’d get you 2 catches & save 20 runs a game. His own worst critic he strives for perfection & works really hard at his game. Seeing his maiden 50 Vs Didsbury ranks in my favourite knocks.
8. Geoff Sharp.
Came to us from Northwich & we nicknamed him our ‘Pro Boy’. Behind the Hawaiian shirts & flip flops (regardless of weather) was a whole heap of banter which would make it genuinely hard to concentrate in the field. He always padded out 1st ball & the 2nd a run wherever it went, so be on your toes! My favourite memory is of him commenting on Paul Cunningham trying to bat out a draw. “ I can see the Guardian headline. Cunny Lingers”
9. Paul Fish.
This was a close call for my glove man but I've gone for Paul, a fantastic keeper & great reader of the game. Quick hands, particularly to balls down leg side he was also a fantastic coach. Still comes down to the Rec every now & then and you’d be wise to spend 10 mins talking to him as you still learn a lot from him.
10. Tony Morris (c)
My Old Man is really my first pick for this team. He took a failing 3XI & transformed them into a side that reached & competed in the 1st division, developing promising juniors into good senior cricketers. His gentle away swing was deceptively tricky & regularly got wickets and he could hold up an end with the bat or give it a whack if needed. “That one had to go!”
11. Martin Burgess
There had to be an off spinner in there & I'm going for Martin. A consistent performer with subtle variations he had the spinners classic armoury of flight & guile. He was the biggest single influence on my technique as an off spinner.
So many to choose from… A young George Hackerman, James Cowell, Stuart Woodcock or Rob Jones but it has to be Chris Johns. He could tell his tales of sixes hit through holes in windows & deadly doosra’s, holding court in the bar.