The phone rang out in the Crambie household - as I answered, the voice on the other end said quietly “Geoff, have you heard of a cricket match in 1951, Barnoldswick versus the West Indies?” The caller was my old pal Stewart from Barnoldswick, whose memorabilia stand at Skipton Town Hall is always a must to visit.
The outcome of the fortuitous phone call was my purchase of a fully-autographed scorecard from “Mister Memorabilia” of yes, a match - Barnoldswick v West Indies! Dateline Sunday, May 20th, 1951, and for the Festival of Britain celebrations, a Barnoldswick XI has been selected to play a West Indies XI of some of the greatest Caribbean cricketers of all time.
Why, here are the signatures of “the three W’s”, batting maestros Everton Weekes, Frank Worrell and Clyde Walcott, the spinning legend Sonny Ramadhin, supreme fast bowler Manny Martindale, tremendous opening batsman Bruce Pairaudeau, big-hitting ace Edwin St Hill and other legendary postwar West Indies cricketers.
Also at the match that day as spectators who have signed the back of the scorecard are Colne’s illustrious professional Bill Alley, the notable Lancashire and England cricketer Alan Wharton, and Barnoldswick’s celebrated boxing hero Frank Bell.
The match saw the majestic West Indie’s team declare at 177 for 7 with Clyde Walcott top-scoring on 65. Barnoldswick’s best bowler was Colner Leslie Bulcock, who took 4 for 40 including the noble Frank Worrell for a duck! Barnoldswick’s reply was a fighting 106 all out with spin Svengali Sonny Ramadhin taking 4 for 25. The Barnoldswick Urban District Council of the day deserves a huge bouquet for bringing to the small West Craven town 60 years ago some of the finest cricketers of the era to make an historic day never to be forgotten in the annals of Barnoldswick.