Clifford’s celebration of 70 years with Burnley Cricket Club

HOWZAT! : Clifford Maden enjoying his 90th birthday celebrations at Burnley Cricket Club. (s)

HOWZAT! : Clifford Maden enjoying his 90th birthday celebrations at Burnley Cricket Club. (s)

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A DEDICATED man who has given more than 70 years of his life to Burnley Cricket Club has been honoured in a double celebration.

Mr Clifford Maden, who joined the club before the Second World War, played alongside some of the game’s greats and saw budding cricketers like Ashes hero James Anderson come through the ranks.

Friends at the Belvedere Road club threw Clifford a special party to celebrate his 90th birthday and mark his membership milestone.

Clifford said he had a wonderful time at his birthday bash and praised the club that has been his life for more than seven decades.

“I have stayed with the club for so many years because I was proud to play for Burnley Cricket Club and proud to help out when I finished playing. It is a great club.

“I just love cricket. I loved playing it and I love watching it.”

Clifford joined Burnley Cricket Club in 1939 aged 18 after a successful trial while he was still playing for John Gray’s cotton mill where he worked.

The young Clifford started off in the second team but very soon his superior skills with the ball saw him break into the senior side. He was called up to fight in the Second World War but was discharged for medical reasons not long after and returned to Burnley where he continued playing for the town’s first team.

After the war, Clifford played alongside greats such as West Indian spinner Ellis Achong and Australian all-rounder Cecil Pepper in the Lancashire League which attracted pros from across the globe.

“A highlight was when we won the double - the League and the Worsley Cup. I had a few good bowling performances. Once I took eight wickets for six runs against Haslingden. That was a good day.”

He played until 1956 but his commitment to the club he grew up with did not stop there.

Clifford, who is a lifelong member, went on to serve on the committee for many years as well as being a director for a time.

“I’ve done a fair number of jobs at the club, except cutting the grass,” he joked.

Even now Clifford goes to watch first and second team matches every week and keeps a keen eye on the good young players coming through.

“The club has had a good few players who have played for Burnley and gone on to play county cricket.”

One such player was a young James Anderson, who came to Burnley Cricket Club as a child and has since established himself as one of the best bowlers in the world.

“I knew Jimmy when he was 10 or 11 when he first started coming with his dad. At that age he looked a reasonable bowler, but you couldn’t see that he was going to play for England. But he developed and went on to play for Lancashire and he went on to become an outstanding player.

“It’s incredible to see someone of that calibre coming from Burnley. We had a great Ashes series and Anderson did a very, very good job and we are all extremely proud of him.”