Bowled over by cricket pro

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As a new Lancashire cricket season gets underway, let’s go back in time 60 years to the summer of 1956 and here we see the Colne CC side for that season.

1956 was the year of the Suez Crisis, John Osborne’s classic book “Look Back in Anger” and for me the highlight of the year seeing the life-changing film “Rock around the Clock” with Bill Haley and his Comets at our very own much-missed Savoy Cinema.

So who are these men of yesteryear who entertained us on The Horsfield in the year of 1956? Here we see back row, left to right, George Atkins, Colin Crabtree, Brian Bulcock, Frank Taylor, Peter Hargreaves, Derek Varley and front row, left to right, are Norman Ingham, Jack Smith, Ray Flockton (professional), Geoff Schofield (captain) and Ken Emmott.

Our pro Ray Flockton was an Aussie from New South Wales whose skilful batting saw him score 615 runs and his medium pace bowling (with an occasional superb leg-break ball) tallied 63 wickets and not forgetting his splendid alacrity as a fielder. The summer was one of the wettest on record, otherwise our genial Ray would have had a far better return.

As it was, Colne finished fourth in the league with the whole team performing well, especially Geoff Schofield with 331 runs, average 25.46 and Brian Bulcock taking 53 wickets at 11.47 each.

Ray went back to Australian to play for New South Wales, later winning £8,000 (around £140,000 today) in the NSW State Lottery and on a world tour in 1970 Ray called off at Colne, saying: “The six months I spent here were the happiest in my life”.